Tennis chair umpire Gianluca Moscarella has been provisionally suspended after coaching a player and saying inappropriate comments to a ball girl during an ATP Tour Challenger match on Saturday. The match took place between Portugal’s Pedro Sousa and Italy’s Enrico Della Valle and during play Moscarella was clearly giving advice to Sousa, which is not allowed.
Sousa won the first set 7-5, and afterwards the chair umpire said to the player, who he was referring to as “dear Pedro,” that the match “should be 6-1,6-1, you had 45 break points,” and asked him to stay “focused please.” Moscarella also was saying things like, “Come on” and “2 minutes and it’s over.”
Moscarella’s comments did not stop there. He said a number of inappropriate things to the young ball girl at the match. He told her, “You are very fantastic” and “very sexy.” He also asked her, “Are you ok? It’s hot. Do you feel hot? Physically or emotionally?”
Moscarella crossed the line in more ways than one on Saturday as a result is now being investigated by the ATP. They released a statement on Monday morning:
“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. 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.”
Before this incident, Moscarella was a gold badge umpire, which is the highest level of ITF certification for international umpires.
With the suspension, the ATP is now down two umpires in the tour. They fired Damian Steiner in August for giving unauthorized interviews.