The Aegon Championship final at Queens finished in controversial fashion after David Nalbandian was disqualified for kicking an advertising board into line judge Andrew McDougall’s shin.
Despite leading Marin Cilic 7-6, 3-4, the Argentinean lost his temper after missing a forehand return. Nalbandian isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last to lash out in frustration mid-game and here are ten of the more memorable tennis tantrums:
10. Marcos Baghdatis – 2012 vs. Stanislas Wawrinka – Everyone secretly loves a good bit of racket abuse and at this year’s Australian Open, Marcos Baghdatis produced a moment that ranks up there with the very best. Frustrated with his performance, the Cypriot let out a show of emotion, destroying the offending racket with a series of well aimed blows. Not content with this, he went on to ruin not two, not three but FOUR more, including one still in its plastic wrapping. Top work.
9. Tim Henman – 1995 vs. Holm/Tarango – ‘Tiger Tim’ carried the British hopes for many a year, leading them on a merry ride every year at Wimbledon. However in reality, Tim was less tiger and more pussycat given his timid nature. Early in his career, the tiger was on full display during a doubles match at Wimbledon. Playing with fellow Brit Jeremy Bates, Henman lost a point on his serve and proceeded to smash the spare ball into the face of a ball girl. Henman and Bates were subsequently disqualified and the crowd heard the words no one would ever expect. ‘Court violation Henman. Unsporting conduct.’ Watch it here…
8. Jeff Tarango – 1995 vs. Alexander Mronz – Not content with watching Henman implode from the other end of the court during the doubles, Tarango became the second player to get kicked out of Wimbledon that year. Having politely informed umpire Bruno Rebeuh he was ‘the most corrupt official in the game,’ he yelled at the booing crowd having stormed from the court. His wife also continued the debacle, slapping Rebeuh across the face as he made his way back to the umpire’s room.
7. Greg Rusedski – 2003 vs. Andy Roddick – The normally mild-mannered Brit lost his temper famously one time after a member of the crowd shouted ‘out’ mid-point. Upon the umpire’s refusal to replay the point, Rusedski launched into a very audible foul-mouthed tirade, lambasting the man in the chair. Needless to say, he went onto to lose.
6. Goran Ivanisevic – 2000 vs. Hyung-Taik Lee – Big Goran was always known for smashing a racket or two during his time as a professional, but he surpassed himself during one tournament in Brighton. After enduring a exasperating day at the office, Ivanisevic suddenly walked off court without any warning. His reasoning? He’d smashed all the rackets he’d brought with him meaning he could no longer carry on.
5. Stefan Koubek – 2010 vs. Daniel Koellerer – With Koubek one set down in this ill-tempered clash, things got positively unpleasant after the players started trading verbal insults. Koellerer then started brandishing his racket at his oppenet, before knocking Koubek’s own weapon clean out of his hands. Koubek then grabbed Koellerer around the throat, prompting the umpire to disqualify him from the competition.
4. Jimmy Connors – 1991 vs. Aaron Krickstein – During the height of his career, Connors was a brash loudmouth, often unpopular with opponents and supporters alike. He had a number of unsavoury incidents on-court, but saved his best till last in the 1991 US Open at the age of 39. Having disputed a number of line-calls, Connors then raged at the official, insulting him and then mimicking him before trying to eject him from the court. The match did continue however, Connors went on to win and subsequently reached his last US Open semi-final.
3. Mikhail Youzhny – 2008 vs. Nicolas Almagro – The Russians are often an aggressive bunch at the best of times, but Youzhny went positively mental after sending yet another backhand flying into the net. Rather than abuse an official, he took revenge on his own body, smashing the living daylights out of his own forehead with his racket. Bleeding heavily, the court doctor had to be summoned before Youzhny could carry on.
2. Serena Williams – 2009 vs. Kim Clijsters – One serve away from facing match point, Williams was called for foot-faulting in the semi-final of the US Open. Tennis’s scariest lady then in no uncertain terms kindly offered to feed the responsible judge the ball. The official reported Serena to the umpire, apparently believing her life to be in danger, prompting yet another outburst. Williams was therefore docked a point and defaulted the game.
1. John McEnroe – 1981 vs. Tom Gullikson – Ah yes. The tennis explosion so famous, even those who hate the sport could quote the immortal line. Angry at some of the line judge’s calls, McEnroe finally blew up on Court One, venting his fury at the umpire. McEnroe was well known on the tour for his volatile behaviour on-court , but the words ‘You cannot be serious’ have gone down the game’s folklore.