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15 Best Tennis Umpires In The World

The best tennis umpires in the world are the ones who go largely unnoticed. It’s more about calling a game correctly instead of being part of the match.

Everyone is bound to have some mistakes here and there, but these 15 tennis umpires have earned respect from players and fans.

15. Nico Helwerth

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  • Born: 1985
  • Country: Germany

The German became a gold badge male tennis umpire in 2017. He mostly works as an ITF umpire, but he received his first true test when he landed a job overlooking the 2021 Australian Open men’s final.

A very calm, professional umpire in the chair, Helwerth has been able to stay away from any controversy so far in his career. If he keeps this up, there’s a chance he’ll call many more Grand Slam finals.

14. Pierre Bacchi

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  • Born: 1967
  • Country: France

Pierre Bacchi received his first true chance to shine on the biggest stage when he was named the chair umpire for the 2021 French Open women’s singles semifinal.

As soon as he received one of the biggest assignments of his career, there happens to be a bit of controversy with a ball mark inspection on matchpoint.

Despite the issues, Bacchi is progressing nicely in his career to get more and more opportunities to showcase his umpiring on the biggest stages. He has a chance to move into the top 10 with some consistent years ahead of him.

13. Carlos Bernardes

  • Born: 1972
  • Country: Brazil

It’s been a long, successful journey for Carlos Bernardes as a tennis umpire. He has called several big matches, including a pair of US Open men’s singles finals in 2006 and 2008.

Many people pick up when he is in the chair due to his very distinctive voice. The Brazilian has a deep voice fans start to notice if they watch enough. Since he’s been on the tennis scene for decades, he’s come across players from different areas.

12. Emmanuel Joseph

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  • Born: 1968
  • Country: France

Emmanuel Joseph spends most of his time during the season as a WTA umpire. This has allowed him to call multiple women’s singles finals at Grand Slam events. On the men’s side, he’s not nearly as well known.

With that said, it seems like a lot of his controversial moments have been in men’s matches. Maybe he’s just been unlucky, but it’s hard to have him higher on this list when so many players and fans feel like he’s not 100% fair.

Joseph scores well with evaluations, but he can sometimes not be the easiest for players to deal with. For that reason, putting him any better than 12th would be a stretch.

11. Damien Dumusois

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  • Born: 1979
  • Country: France

The Frenchman has five French Open men’s singles finals to his name already in his career. He also has a variety of other finals at all for Grand Slams. His consistency has allowed him to stay at a high level for a very long time.

There’s been some controversy around his calls here and there, but nothing too crazy that limits him from being named one of the best of the best. As time goes on, he’s becoming an elder statesman amongst umpires. 

10. Marija Cicak

  • Born: 1978
  • Country: Croatia

With over a decade of experience as a gold badge umpire, the Croatian spends a lot of her time on the WTA Tour. She’s had a chance to call a few women’s finals of Grand Slams, and she will do men’s matches as well.

In 2021, she was the first woman to call a men’s singles final at Wimbledon. Although she has a reputation for not always listening to players much when they have something to say, she’s a well-respected umpire on tour.

9. Aurelie Tourte

  • Born: 1984
  • Country: France

At the beginning of her career, she was just the third French woman to receive a gold badge for chair umpiring. By 2019, she had a contract on the ATP Tour’s elite team and never looked back.

She’s had a chance to call a lot of big matches of Grand Slams. Whether it’s the 2021 French Open men’s singles final, or the 2022 Wimbledon women’s singles final, it seems like she’s only going to get more opportunities in big events.

Perhaps she’s most known for being the umpire who was in the chair for the 2020 US Open match when Novak Djokovic was defaulted for hitting a lineswoman.

While there was some controversy around the call in the beginning, she was following all protocols and had no choice to make other than defaulting him.

8. Marijana Veljokic

  • Born: 1987
  • Country: Serbia

A rising umpire from Serbia named Marijana Veljokic seems to be a name that could be higher on this list in a few years. She’s already had a chance to call singles finals, and it’s just a matter of racking them up as time goes on.

Her most notable match to this point was calling the 2019 women’s final at Wimbledon Championships. She has a no-nonsense approach to overseeing a match, which is viewed as a huge positive.

She’s not afraid to umpire men’s matches either, although she seems to be specializing in women’s matches currently.

7. Adel Nour 

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  • Born: 1967
  • Country: Egypt

The Egyptian already has a reputation for having the ability to converse with players in a variety of languages. He is focused on limiting the number of controversies in every match, and doing a great job of it.

A lot of tennis fans hope that he can continue to get better and better as time goes on. He truly seems like one of the greats in the game at this time. He could be on the tour umpiring matches for another 5-10 years at this rate.

6. Kader Nouni

  • Born: 1976
  • Country: France

Fans might not recognize the name, but they probably recognize his voice. It’s hard not to notice his calls of the score during a match he’s overlooking. It’s distinctive, yet thought of as very pleasant overall.

Another consistent umpire rewarded for his efforts, he does a great job of keeping a match under control.

When he needs to lay down the law he can, but otherwise, he tries to keep things laid-back during his matches.

5. Alison Hughes

  • Born: 1972
  • Country: United Kingdom

Becoming a member of the order of the British Empire is always a big deal, regardless of profession. Allison Hughes received that notary thanks for all the work she’s done in tennis. She’s been around for a while now, and she has a singles final match at all four Grand Slams to her name.

There are no official statistics on arguments, but Hughes has to be one dealing with the fewest in tennis. She’s a very neutral umpire known for taking the time to get calls right if necessary. She’s also very reasonable when players have to talk to her.

4. James Keothavong

  • Born: 1972
  • Country: United Kingdom

Keothavong has a very unique connection to tennis, as he served as an umpire at the same time his sister played on the WTA Tour. Some thought that could create some issues at some point, but it never became one as Anne has now retired.

Consistency is the main reason why Keothavong is so high on the list. People who watch a lot of tennis might not even know his name, as he keeps a pretty low profile.

They recognize his face, but players rarely have anything bad to say about him. One of the calmest umpires in the game, he’s found a way to umpire at a high level for a while now.

3. Eva Asderaki-Moore

  • Born: 1982
  • Country: Greece

The highest woman on this list has a chance to move up the ranks thanks to her consistency. She’s getting a lot of Grand Slam experience, and her ability to handle situations well has shown tournament directors that she can handle just about anything.

In 2015, she broke a major barrier by becoming the first woman to umpire a men’s final at the tournament. It was a virtual non-story, as she called the entire match without any controversy.

She’s well known for being able to listen to feedback and reason with players if they are frustrated. Her approach has a chance to be adopted by more and more umpires as time goes on.

2. Carlos Ramos

  • Born: 1971
  • Country: Portugal

He might be the most famous umpire in tennis right now. Not only has he been around for a while, but he has been part of a few pretty big moments in tennis history.

His first Grand Slam singles final came in 2005, as he was in a chair for Marat Safin vs. Leyton Hewitt. It was a hotly contested match, as Hewitt was hoping to win his home Grand Slam. Safin won, and Ramos received positive feedback for his calls.

He is one of a very select group of umpires who have called a singles final at all four Grand Slams. Although some people feel like he hands out violations and even gets warnings too quickly, he has a lot of control over every match he oversees.

1. Mohamed Lahyani

  • Born: 1966
  • Country: Sweden

Few players have anything bad to say about this Swedish umpire. He is a very consistent tennis umpire who has been rewarded for his excellent work. He does a great job of cutting down on controversies and making sure that nothing gets out of hand.

He gets the opportunity to umpire at all the major tournaments, and he’s been rewarded for his work by getting a chance to do singles finals as well.

Mohamed Layhani was also in the chair for the longest match ever, as he was the umpire for the John Isner and Nicolas Mahut match at Wimbledon that lasted over 11 hours and three days.

Why Umpires Continue to Matter in Tennis

One might think that tennis is starting to move away from a physical umpire in tennis. While it’s true that a setup of cameras can make a lot of the calls, there still needs to be a human aspect of umpiring to get things across to players.

Umpires willing to embrace the changes are going to be the ones who survive. They’ve done a great job of not feeling intimidated by computers making calls. Instead, they provide a service that can’t be done with a computer to make it work.

The job is bound to change, but umpires will have a lot of final say during a match. These 15 aren’t calling it quits anytime soon, evolving with the game along the way.