Words: Chloe Watts
Tennis, from its beginnings in the 12th century to its modernisation over the decades is a sport steeped in great history and at times controversy. The latter making an appearance yesterday when news broke that 17-time Grand Slam winner, Novak Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open for hitting a lines judge with a rogue tennis ball during his fourth-round match against Spanish opponent, Pablo Carrenño Busta.
Further to the disqualification, Djokovic has been fined $13,732 AUD and is also required to give up $343,000 AUD in prize money, plus all ranking points for the US Open. The lines judge has also been subjected to disgusting abuse from Djokovic fans on social media.
While emotions run high in many sporting matches, this outburst and the ones listed below will serve as a reminder of what not to do on-court.
David Nalbandian – 2012 Aegon Championships
While the Argentinian was leading the match against Marin Cilic, he was disqualified from the Aegon Championships for kicking an advertising box into the shin of a lines judge. Nalbandian lost the runner’s up prize money for the tournament and was fined $10,000 USD plus forfeited the ranking points he had earned.
Marcos Baghdatis – 2012 Australia Open
Possibly one of the most well-known on-court tantrums came from the 2012 Australia Open when Marcos Baghdatis, frustrated from his four-set loss to Stanislas Wawrinka, destroyed not one but four racquets in front of the crowd.
Mikhail Youzhny – 2008 Miami Open
Russian tennis star Mikhail Youzhny turned the tables at the 2008 Miami Open when he directed his dissatisfaction towards himself rather than a lines judge or umpire. After losing a point to his opponent by hitting the ball into the net, Youzhny hit himself three times in the head with his racquet.
John McEnroe – 1990 Australian Open
Known for his on-court outbursts, American tennis player John McEnroe made sure he left a mark at his debut Australian Open when he intimidated a lines judge, threw his racquet and swore at the referee. McEnroe was in disbelief when he was disqualified from the tournament, unaware the rule book had recently been updated and players were only given three citations instead of four. He was fined $6,000 for breaking his racquet.
Jeff Tarango – 1995 Wimbledon
Perhaps the first player ever to be banned from a future tournament, Jeff Tarango caused mayhem on the court of the 1995 Wimbledon. From telling the crowd to “shut up” to chastising the umpire Tarango received two warnings, which only seemed to fuel his fire even more. He essentially self-destructed and walked off the court and quit mid-game. He was excluded from playing the 1996 Wimbledon tournament.
Goran Ivanisevic – 2000 Samsung Open
Croatian tennis player, Goran Ivanisevic was forced to abandon his match at the 2000 Samsung Open after he ran out of appropriate equipment to continue player. Ivanisevic destroyed all 3 racquets he with him that day which left the athlete unable to finish the match. He was issued with a code violation for the behaviour.
Viktor Troikci – 2016 Wimbledon
Viktor Troikci lost his cool at the 2016 Wimbledon tournament and after disputing a call by the umpire, labelling him as the “worst umpire ever in the world”. The tirade only continued when the Serbian lost the match one point later.
Nick Kyrgios – 2019 Cincinatti Masters
Nick Kyrgios received a number of code violations at the 2019 Cincinnati Masters when he verbally abused the chair umpire and Fergus Murphy. In the second round of the Cincinnati Open, the Aussie tennis star also broke two racquets. That year he broke the record for the largest sum a player had ever been fined, totalling $113,000.
Andy Murray – 2016 Cincinnati Masters
Three years before the Kyrgios tantrum at the Cincinnatti Masters, Andy Murray showed his frustration by lobbing a ball towards the chair umpire, narrowly missing his head. He faced no consequences for the incident.
Andre Agassi – 1991 US Open
Tennis legend, Andre Agassi lost it at the chair umpire and called him a “son of a bitch”. He also allegedly spat at the umpire which he received penalty point for, however upon review the spit was deemed unintentional and the penalty point was reversed. He was later fined $3,000.