Sam Winterbotham: Brandon Fickey's actions 'completely unacceptable'; Vols lose to No. 19 Illinois

Tennessee's Bryan Swartz returns a shot during a men's tennis match on Feb. 5, 2012, against Illinois.

Photo by Ben Ozburn, UTAD

Tennessee's Bryan Swartz returns a shot during a men's tennis match on Feb. 5, 2012, against Illinois.

Tennessee men's tennis coach Sam Winterbotham didn't like what he saw Sunday afternoon — and not just because the Vols lost.

Winterbotham wasn't pleased with the way the No. 18-ranked Vols lost to No. 19 Illinois 4-1 at UT's Goodfriend Tennis Center.

At the top of the coach's list was UT freshman Brandon Fickey smashing his racquet in frustration after losing to senior Roy Kalmanovich 6-1, 6-4 at No. 2 singles.

Kalmanovich won the last two points on shots that Fickey, a former Webb School standout, first called out but were ruled good on over-rules by the chair umpire. At deuce, Fickey called a ball out on the baseline that was over-ruled in by the umpire. On match point, Kalmanovich served an ace down the middle that Fickey called wide but the umpire over-ruled in.

"It's completely unacceptable how (Fickey) behaved," Winterbotham said. "He threw a fit on the court. It didn't go his way, so he handled it exactly how we don't handle things."

Fickey, who had already been assessed a point penalty, was hit with a game penalty after he broke his racquet and walked off the court.

Since his match had ended, Fickey's game penalty was assessed to his teammate at the next highest spot — in this case, No. 1 Mikelis Libietis, who had lost the first set to No. 2-nationally ranked Dennis Nevolo and led 4-3 in the second set and up a service break.

Instead of serving for a 5-3 lead, Libietis took a game penalty without serving a point, and thus it was 4-all.

"Look, that isn't what lost us the match," Winterbotham said. "It's Brandon's behavior throughout our team today, the attitude that there wasn't the humbleness, the competitiveness, the willingness to fight and establish your game."

UT (4-1) took a 1-0 lead by clinching the doubles point with victories by Libietis and Hunter Reese at No. 1 and Jarryd Chaplin and Peter Nagovnak at No. 3.

Illinois (4-2) roared back in singles when Tim Kopinski beat Taylor Patrick 6-1, 6-2 at No. 5 and Bruno Abdelnour beat Chaplin 6-2, 6-4 at No. 4 for a 2-1 lead.

Fickey's match against Kalmanovich was the next to end, and it did so much like it started.

With Fickey trailing 1-3 in the first set, Illinois coach Brad Dancer called for the referee after several questioned line calls between players. Dancer had heated words with the chair umpire during the next few moments.

"I really felt the (chair umpire) was getting overly involved in the match in terms of her interaction in the match," Dancer said, "and that's what I called the referee out for, just to have a situation where the players were going to decide who won, and not the referee in the chair."

However, the match ended just the opposite — with the chair umpire over-ruling two of Fickey's calls.

Kalmanovich's victory gave Illinois a 3-1 lead, and Farris Gosea clinched the match with a 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory over Bryan Swartz at No. 6 singles. Reese was in a second-set tiebreaker after losing the first set at No. 3 singles, and Libietis was in a second-set tiebreaker when the match ended.

Fickey was not made available for an interview after the match.

"We've lost to a team that came in and competed really well, but as a team, we didn't, and so we've got to learn from that," Winterbotham said.

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Comments » 26

JimmyJoe writes:

Can you guys put Tennis or Golf Or some other warning words in front of these off sport stories so we don't waste our time opening them up.

BigVolinCarolina writes:

in response to JimmyJoe:

Can you guys put Tennis or Golf Or some other warning words in front of these off sport stories so we don't waste our time opening them up.

+1. LOL!

wally writes:

in response to JimmyJoe:

Can you guys put Tennis or Golf Or some other warning words in front of these off sport stories so we don't waste our time opening them up.

your name pretty well sums up your post.

JimmyJoe writes:

Bueller.... Bueller.... Bueller....

JimmyJoe writes:

in the super bowl tradition.... The over and under on expected posts for this article was one. What are we at seven now? We just put a couple of bookies out of work.

JoshWilliams writes:

in response to JimmyJoe:

Can you guys put Tennis or Golf Or some other warning words in front of these off sport stories so we don't waste our time opening them up.

Call me crazy, but when I see "Winterbotham," and "Fickey" in a headline, I know it's tennis. I don't think there needs to be clarification for true Vol fans.

wigmeister writes:

Tennis is one of the excellent sports being played at UT. Only low-lifes are interested only in football and basketball. A team wearing orange deserves support, whatever it is. If you can't support all your teams, go to another site, and be the low life idiots you are!

atnvol#283282 writes:

Fickey just adds to the current disgusting behavior of the UT athletic program. Sounds like "little" Fickey needs to sit "time out" in the corner.

orangeJACKET writes:

that smashing the racket stuff sounds like west knoxville/farragut momma's boy. bunch of pansies out that way.

JDub82 writes:

in response to JimmyJoe:

Can you guys put Tennis or Golf Or some other warning words in front of these off sport stories so we don't waste our time opening them up.

Now you know that the tennis coach is Winterbotham, so if you see his name in a headline it is tennis related.

Also, football season is over and neither the men's or women's basketball teams are playing Illinois this year. Baseball season hasn't started yet, so what "major" sport did you think this article was about?

boonhower writes:

Wait a minute. So the players get to make their own calls of whether a ball is in or out? In competition at a level as high as college tennis, that seems crazy.

CoverOrange writes:

So the ref is letting them play. The Illinois coach gets in her face over calls he doesn't like. Then she makes calls that are in that coach's favor? Sounds a little Bobby Knightish.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor couldnt even tell you many of Witch Doctors Drivers and putters have ended up smashed or in water..Witch Doctor say they take the fun out of everything. Witch Doctor say aint a good game until you break something((??))
Bones never lie.
lol

Witch_Doctors writes:

*Witch Doctor hope he never goes to the Katch One on "Ivy League"(lol) night..Witch Doctor say he be real shocked what they do with the racquets. lol
Bones never lie.

wally writes:

I like how the ignorant are always so quick to criticize one of our own. Bottom line, Brandon is a great kid who got totally screwed on bad calls. I’d have blown a gasket too.

JimmyJoe writes:

Hey I stand corrected. Nothing like being called a good for nothing low-life to make you see the light. Actually after realizing that these Tennis players are showing some sass... It really appeals to my inner redneck.... I might take a trip to Goodfriend and take my foam finger, my cowbell and some attitude and really get behind these guys...i mean since they are wearing orange and all.

JimmyJoe writes:

I'm not slamming the tennis kids.... Just having a little fun during these dark days of UT Sport.... I assure you I am a true Big Orange Fan.... We wish the tennis team all the best. Sorry I did not expect so much tennis trash talk sent my way for a little net humor...

UTQB70 writes:

Be careful not to call your players out in public coach.

voloffaith writes:

in response to UTQB70:

Be careful not to call your players out in public coach.

So were you a Vol qb or not? Just curious without killing the cat. If so followed Fulton..would that be Sir Robert Scott?

atnvol#283282 writes:

in response to wally:

I like how the ignorant are always so quick to criticize one of our own. Bottom line, Brandon is a great kid who got totally screwed on bad calls. I’d have blown a gasket too.

Ok Dad....I guess you were the educated one who taught him how to smash his racquet and storm off when things go against you.

Colliervol writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Exactly. One reason why I have a hard time watching the prima donnas playing pro tennis these days. If the women ain't gruntin' and the men ain't gripin', they probably ain't playin'.

Wittle Bwandon needs a spanking and sent to bed without his supper

LJS1984 writes:

in response to doesitmatter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If you would have read the article then you would have known that the Illinois Coach had words with the umpire as well.

jumby92 writes:

What a candy-a55! Oh yeah, he's a Webb grad, I should have known. I heard when he pitched his hissy fit all 6 of the spectators booed him.

NeylandWest writes:

Did anyone ask this kid why he was so upset? Perhaps he had a flashback to our football season. I promise you, I smashed more things than he did on that court.

By the end of the year, I was reduced to throwing rocks at trees.

Hoops43 writes:

This is all Mike Hamilton's fault. He hired Winterbotham!!!! LOL The Illinois coach was going nuts because Fickey kept intentionally making erroneous calls. Winterbotham was embarrassed for the same reason. Bad enough to embarrass your team and coach but to cost the next player a game is unexcuseable .

FactsMan writes:

Jimmy Joe...sure hope you come and cheer the both the men and women tennis players....you might be surprised and proud of how my daughter (and her fellow female and male team mates) represents our Orange Nation! Your humor is NOT funny....these kids work hard!

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