Sunday proved historic for female referees. Along with Sarah Thomas who made her regular season debut as the NFL’s first full-time female line judge, Eva Asderaki-Moore became the first female to act as chair umpire in a U.S. Open men’s singles final. Both went off without a hitch, but it’s Asderaki-Moore who is being heralded by players thanks to her eagle-eyed calls and precise accuracy.
Asderaki-Moore, who used to play tennis professionally for Greece, had her work cut out for her as she oversaw Sunday’s match between the top two tennis players in the world, Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Roger Federer of Switzerland. She overruled line judges’ calls three times and got them all correct, as proven by the tournament’s Hawk-eye instant replay system. She also proved spot on each time Djokovic or Federer challenged her calls.
“You either have the skill to do it or you don’t,” chief umpire Bruce Littrell told USA Today before the match on Sunday referring to Asderaki-Moore. “We’re lucky to have a female in the world to do a men’s final. She’s earned that spot. She’s done a lot of men’s matches during this U.S. Open and she’s done them quite well.”
Djokovic ended up winning the match, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, to earn his 10th Grand Slam title, but for some he still wasn’t the match’s top performer. Neither was Federer, who had the rowdy New York City crowd on his side. It was Asderaki-Moore, according to Twitter.
Asderaki-Moore follows in the footsteps of Sandra de Jenken of France, who in 2007 became the first female chair umpire to oversee any Grand Slam men’s final. She called matches for the finals of both the Australian and French Opens that year.
Thomas, meanwhile, the American woman who helped officiate the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans on Sunday, became the first of her kind. Never before has the NFL placed a female referee on the field of a regular season game.