Tennis courts worldwide have witnessed numerous incidents where the otherwise demure stars astonished the crowd with their tantrums and outburst. It is definitely not a good practice for sportsmen to exhibit their emotions in open, but certain situations overpower them and force them to do the forbidden. However, the problem arises when such acts get televised and publicized on a wide scale by the media. Here is a list of top 10 tennis tantrums of all time.
The 70’s was the era of John McEnroe and all others were biting dust before him, including the once famous Ilie Nataste. The match in 1976 US Open between the two turned out to be very amusing for the crowd, but for all the wrong reasons. Nataste kept slating the chair umpire for silly reasons after sensing obvious defeat at the hands of the dominating McEnroe. Finally, the evitable happened and he lost.
During the Brighton’s Samsung Open that was held in November 2000, Goran Ivanisevic created a mess of himself on the court. In order to escape approaching defeat, Goran smashed all three rackets one after the other on the ground. He cited the reason about unavailability of any other racket to quit the game. It left the spectators dumbstruck.
It was one of the most “bloody” matches ever played on an open court. The match was part of the 2008 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami where Russian tennis player Mikhail Youzhny created a scene that was not witnessed on a tennis court ever before. Once he realized that game was getting tougher and opponent Nicholas Almagro was leading, he hit his own temple with the racquet drawing blood. However, he went on winning the match. Perhaps, Almagro was too terrified of the blood.
In one of the 1995 Wimbledon matches, Jeff Tarango started an argument with the match umpire Bruno Rebeuh. Jeff complained to the tournament referee that the umpire was not dealing fairly and penalizing him unduly. However, he soon left the court. Right after that his wife twice slapped the umpire.
Jimmy Connors was a good enough player, who played numerous tennis matches at the international level. However, he was very weak at controlling his temper and hence regarded as the most foul-mouthed tennis player. In one of the matches he fired the umpire on his judgment with choicest of expletives. The expletives were so appalling that administrators decided to file a lawsuit against him.
It is one of the most interesting incidents ever witnessed on the tennis court. John McEnroe lost his cool during one of the breaks in a match in 1984 Stockholm finals and cleared the table of refreshments with his racket. Unfortunately, some of the items got thrown at King of Sweden, sitting in the first row of the crowd. However, his majesty played down the matter and didn’t ask for punishment for McEnroe.
One of the worst encounters of all time between two contesting sides, Tim Henman and his doubles partner Jeremy Bates became the first players to be disqualified from 1995 Wimbledon Championship. The reason behind the disqualification was that Henman smashed a ball on head of the ball girl standing on the side, in a fit of rage.
In the BMW open of 2006, a very peculiar incident occurred that was not expected by anyone watching the match. Jurgen Melzer turned backwards and smashed the ball towards one section of the crowd, among which, a person was calling him names and distracting him continuously. Though, Melzer was penalized later, but majority of the crowd supported the decision of the player and termed it justified.
In a tense encounter with Steffi Graff during the 1999 French Open final, Martina Hingis came out with a completely different avatar that wasn’t demonstrated by her ever before. Hingis became so disgruntled with the umpiring that she decided to self-investigate the other side of net where Steffi was standing in case of any wrongdoings, if any. Thereafter, she received extended boos from the crowd and was later fined.
In one of the matches during 1987 US Open, McEnroe lost his lead after losing a game to the opponent at 5-4 due to a “terrible call” (in McEnroe’s words) by the head umpire. John was so agitated at the umpire that he sunk his teeth in the 22-year-old young referee. Later, he was penalized heavily with $ 7,500 fine and banned for two months. He drew huge flak from one and all for such a ghastly behavior.