David Nalbandian was probably watching too much of the Euros 2012 the night before his final match against Marin Cilic at the Queens club on Sunday 17th of June. Despite Nalbandian being up a set, he became frustrated as Cilic broke his serve twice in the second set. Unable to control his frustration, he kicked an advertisement board underneath a line judges’ chair. The board hit into the line judges’ leg, causing an inch long cut. As a result, Nalbandian was forced to forfeit the match for unsportsmanlike conduct and thereby cementing his place in the ‘Tantrums of Tennis Hall of Fame’.
Nalbandian is the latest in a long list of tennis players were not able to keep their emotions under control. Here are some of the most memorable over the years.
10: Mikhail Youzhny Vs. His Racket: Russian player Mikhail Youzhny was in a tense match against Spanaird Nicholas Almagro at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami in 2008 when he suddenly lost his cool after conceding a point. He repeatedly hit his racket off his forehead until he drew blood and required medical attention. A self-inflicted injury never helped anyone win a match.
9: Rusedski runs his mouth
Roger Federer’s first grand slam win in 2003 was not the only memorable moment at Wimbledom that year. The first week of the slam belonged to Greg Rusedski and his dirty mouth. During his third round match a fan called one of his shots out during the rally. The umpire did not play a let and Rusedski lost the point. At the subsequent changover, Rusedski informed the umpire of his opinion of the decision in a manner that left the BBC commentators stammering over their words to apologise to the television viewers. Comments such as “I can’t do anything unless the crowd f*****g calls it”or “some w****r in the crowd changes the whole match”, will perhaps be remembered as the defining moments of Rusedski’s career. More so than his playing career anyway.
8: Martina Hingis Vs. French Open crowd
The French Open crowd have never been known as a sympathetic bunch, but the women’s final between Martina Hingis and Steffi Graff in 1999 took their rudeness to new heights. The match progressed as normal without any hassle but when Hingis challenged a decision by the umpire and moved to her opponents side of the court to check a ball mark, the crowd immediately turned against her. As Hingis shouted at the umpire and demanded to see the referee the crowd booed loudly, chanted Graf’s name and applauded when Hingis received a point penalty for disorderly conduct towards the umpire. Hingis grew increasingly erratic and emotional as the match slipped away from her hands. She continued to berate the umpire and complained of the noise of the crowd when she lost a point. Towards the end of the match, Hingis was so fed up that she resorted to serving underhand for some points. Once she lost the match, Hingis left the court, refusing to return for the trophy ceremony. She was brought back on court in tears by her mother.
7: Maria Sharapova Fights Back
Those French tennis fans don’t let up do they? Even the golden girl of tennis, Maria Sharapova, could not escape their wrath. During the 2007 championship, Sharapova angered their crowd with her fist pumps and screams of “come on”, in her fourth round match against Dinara Safina. The crowd responded by applauding every error Sharapova made. Not to be outdone by the boisterous fans,Sharapova gave them a piece of her mind after winning a gruelling point, screaming in the stands, “Allez!!. Up your f******g ass”.
6: Roddick Vs. Umpire Part 1
Making the first of his appearances on this list, the American is well-known for his outbursts towards match officials and his match at the Madrid Open in 2011 was no exception. Already angry at being broken at the beginning of the third set, Roddick smashed his racket on the ground with force. Fuming as he walked to replace his racket, his fury exploded and questioned the umpire if he had given him a “warning yet?”. He proceeded to smash his racket repeatedly against his chair, forcing the umpire to give him a warning.
5: Federer tells the Djokovic family to shut up
Although not quite a moment of anger or a tirade against an umpire, Federer’s demand at Novak Djokovic’s family was telling of the bitter relationship between the two men. It all started after Djokovic defeated Federer in the semi-finals in the Australian Open in 2008. Djokovic’s mother told the media that “the King is dead”, in relation to Federer’s loss. This was said to have created tension between the two men. A few months later at a clay court tournament, the two were playing when Djokovic’s shot was called out. Murmurs could be heard from the Djokovic camp in the stands but these were silenced when Federer turned around and told them to “be quiet”. The closest you will ever get to Federer telling someone where to shove it.
4: Tarango loses the plot
1n 1995, Wimbledon witnessed another historic tantrum: one which resulted in an umpire getting slapped in the face. Jeff Tarango, a little known American player, engaged in an angry outburst at the chair umpire during his third round match. Tarango was unhappy with a overrule that umpire made and complained for the next few games. The crowd started to yell at Tarango and he told them to “shut up”. He was given a court violation as a result. Furious, he demanded the referee but his complaints were not listened to. He called the umpire the “most corrupt official” in the world and again he received a court violation. At this point, Tarango walked off court, defaulting the match and becoming the first person in history to default themselves from a match. After the match, Tarango accused the umpire of being involved in match fixing. His wife also admitted to slapping the umpire in the face!
3: Roddick Vs. Umpire Part 2
In perhaps one of the most personal attacks on a sporting official, Andy Roddick, tore into a chair umpire after some questionable decisions on key points during the 2008 Australian Open. For nearly two sets, Roddick picked a fight with the umpire at every changeover. Some comments made from Roddick, drew complaints from the commentators and the crowd. Some include:
“Do you have ears? Do you? Are they connected to your head? Use them.”
“You think I couldn’t get to that ball? You’re idiot”
“I’m going to speak very slowly so that you can understand me”
“What, did you drop out of school before you were 10 to get this job? Stay in school kids or you will end up being an umpire”
Roddick was fined $22,000 over the incident.
2: John McEnroe
Pretty much every time he stepped on court, there was a tantrum. He paved the way for today’s generation. His lasting legacy…….”YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS”
1: Serena Williams: US Open Disasters
Not only once, but twice did Serena Williams cause havoc in New York during the US Open in 2009 and 2011. Fights with match officials may have left Williams with a tarnished reputation. Let’s begin with the 2009 incident involving a line judge. During her semi-final against Kim Clijsters, a line judge called a foot fault on Williams second serve, giving Clijsters match point. An infuriated Williams confronted the line judge and told her that “if I could shove this ball down your throat, I would”. A visibly shaken line judge ran to the umpire and informed her of Williams words. The tournament officials were called onto court and an indignant Williams was defaulted, handing Clijsters the match. Williams was put on probation for two years and given a hefty fine.
Not to be outdone by herself, two years later Williams lashed out at the chair umpire in the women’s final. At the start of the second set against Sam Stosur, Williams shouted “come on”, in the middle of the point before she had actually won it, distracting Stosur from returning the shot. The umpire awarded the point to Stosur and received a verbal assault from Williams. Colourful comments include;
“Are you the one that screwed me over the last time?”
“You are a hater and are unattractive..inside.”
“ I truly despise you.”
“You know what, don’t even look at me, when you see me in the halls, look the other way.”
Although only fined $2,000, Williams fully disgraced herself once again in front of the US Open officials>