JOHN LLOYD: Ivo Karlovic should be punished for accusing Wimbledon officials of conspiring to assist Andy Murray into the third round.
In my opinion, no matter how many foot faults were called against him in his match with Murray, Karlovic has overstepped the mark in the past 48 hours.
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It's unwise, insulting and, I suspect, in breach of the official Grand Slam rules to claim to be a victim of a conspiracy without any evidence to substantiate such a damaging accusation.
Officials at Wimbledon are drawn not just from Britain, but from around the world. Those who call the lines on Centre Court are those judged to be the best qualified to deal with the high pressurised environment.
Arguably, Karlovic is guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct. In the 2012 Official Grand Slam Rule Book, it states: 'In addition, unsportsmanlike conduct shall include, but not be limited to, the giving, making, issuing, authorising or endorsing any public statement having, or designed to have, an effect prejudicial or detrimental to the best interests of the tournament and/or the officiating thereof.'
Essentially, Karlovic has opened himself to scrutiny by continuing to complain publicly that he was a victim of officiating biased in favour of Murray. If you throw around accusations, as Karlovic has done, you are asking for trouble.
In all honesty, Karlovic deserves to be fined for his outburst as he is an experienced professional, not a rookie. He knew he was going to create headlines that would be written across the world.
Let us remind ourselves of what he said after losing to Murray in four sets, two of them decided by tie-breaks. Karlovic complained of being excessively, and unjustly, foot-faulted throughout and said: 'I feel cheated.'
He added in the post-match media conference: 'After this match, the whole credibility of the tournament went down for me.'
And 24 hours later, Karlovic continued to challenge the integrity of Wimbledon when he insisted he deserved an apology from the tournament for the manner which, according to him, he was treated by officials. He also claimed he would be lodging an official complaint. By lunchtime yesterday, I understand that Wimbledon referee Andrew Jarrett had heard nothing from Karlovic.
Overnight, however, the 6ft 10in Croatian had downgraded the number of foot faults awarded against him during his match with Murray from 11 to nine. Even so, he still insisted: 'Who are they hiring here?' If Karlovic had handled the situation differently, then I might feel more sympathetic towards him.