A tennis umpire who asked a ball girl whether she was ‘hot’ during a men’s tennis tournament in Italy last week, has been banned from officiating pending an investigation, the ATP has announced.
Umpire Gianluca Moscarella is alleged to have addressed the girl during a second-tier ATP men’s tournament in Florence. He is also accused of inappropriate conduct towards one of the players.
Video on social media showed Moscarella telling the girl she was “very sexy, then asking: “are you hot… physically or emotionally… or both?”
The incident occurred during the Challenger Tour match between Pedro Sousa and Enrico Dalla Valle. The umpire then allegedly offered encouragement to Sousa while Dalla Valle was absent from the court.
“We are aware of a number of incidents involving chair umpire Gianluca Moscarella during a match between Pedro Sousa and Enrico Dalla Valle at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Florence last week,” the ATP said in a statement.
“Moscarella was immediately dismissed from the tournament when the matter was brought to light, and a full investigation has been initiated.
“Meanwhile, Moscarella has been provisionally suspended from his services as a contracted ATP official pending the results of the investigation.”
Sousa won the round match 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 after Moscarella chided him for losing focus and missing a series of match points.
“My dear Pedro… Stay concentrated please,” he was heard telling the player.
Moscarella is not the first umpire to face suspension over misconduct on a court.
Swedish umpire Mohamed Lahyani was banned for two tournaments last year for encouraging Australian Nick Kyrgios at the US Open.