Top 10 Tennis Tantrums: Racquet Smashers And Court Shoe Stompers

Top 10 Tennis Tantrums: Racquet Smashers And Court Shoe Stompers

They say that playing sports or any kind of exercise  is a great way to relieve stress, but what about when it causes it? There are many instances in professional sports when things get heated and tensions rise. Players get angry with other players or the referees in the heat of the moment and players sometimes say things that get them into trouble or even disqualified from the game.

Tennis, although they call it a gentleman`s sport, is no different from Football when it comes to some players such as Serena Williams, John McEnroe and  Marcos Baghdatis. These tennis players, along with a few others, have thrown some of tennis` most memorable temper tantrums, stomping their court shoes, screaming at the umpires and smashing their racquets.

1.) John McEnroe:  “You Cannot Be Serious”

John McEnroe is recognized for being a former World No. 1 tennis player; winning seven singles titles, nine men`s  doubles titles and much more. But his reputation is not only that of a tennis champion, earing the title as “one of the greatest tennis players of all time” but of a being a hot head on the tennis courts.

There have been many occasions that McEnroe threw a tantrum during a match but one of his most memorable, McEnroe coined the catchphrase, “You cannot be serious!” when the umpire called the ball out. He then said the umpire was “the pits of the world.” The umpire responded by awarding a point against McEnroe.

2.) Serena Williams:  “Are You Scared?”

Serena Williams is another top tennis player whose accomplishments on the pro circuit might be too
long to list. As one of the best female tennis players in the world, this William`s sister has a lot to be proud of; her attitude, however, is not something the star has to brag about.

It has been said that Serena isn`t the nicest of people. Even John McEnroe, who as we now know, has a questionable reputation as well, has said that “What they [Venus and Serena Williams] have achieved is great, but they have no respect for anyone in the game.”

At the 2009 US Open, it wasn`t just an attitude problem that got Serena Williams fined a record $82,500 but a “major offense.” When the lineswoman called a foot fault on Williams during her match against Kim Clijsters, Williams went off in a tirade and was fined for “aggravated behavior” when she approached the lineswoman; screaming profanity, shaking the ball at her and apparently told the lineswoman she was going to kill her.  When speaking with the lineswoman and tournament officials, Williams snidely asked the umpire “are you scared?”

3.) Andy Murray  “No Way! Oh my God!”

At the 2009 Monte Carlo Masters, British tennis player, Andy Murray, threw a fit when he thought that the umpire was pointing to the wrong ball mark. The umpire ruled the ball out and Murray went into a child-like temper tantrum, screaming “No way! Oh my God!” while throwing his arms up onto his forehead.

4.) Andy Roddick: “Stay in school kids or you’ll end up being an umpire!”

At the 2008 Australian Open, Andy Roddick took sarcasm to a whole new level. His anger was directed at umpire, Emmanuel Joseph. Roddick claimed he didn`t play the ball because of an “out” call but Joseph would not grant Roddick a pardon . Roddick continued his tantrum from the sideline where he, among other things, told the umpire to do his job, asked him if he had ears and said  “Stay in school kids or you’ll end up being an umpire!”

5. David Nalbandian: Opps!

At the Queen`s Club Final in 2012, Argentinian, David Nalbandian had fallen behind his competitor, Marin Cilic. In a fit of anger, Nalbandian kicked an advertising board which flew and hit a linesman in the leg causing an inch-long cut, drawing blood. Although injuring the linesman was not his intention, Nalbandian was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct causing him to lose his $57,000 prize money.

6.) Marcos Baghdatis: Racquet Abuse

Although frowned upon, it is not uncommon to see players smash a racquet to relieve some tension, but smashing four racquets might seem excessive.

During the 2012 Australian Open, Baghdatis was down two sets and a break. He sat down calmly  during the changeover, took his racquet and began smashing it against the court. He handed the mangled racquet to the ballboy and destroyed three more racquets, not even bothering to remove the plastic. The umpire called a warning for racquet abuse and Baghdatis gave a snide grin and walked out onto the court to continue the match.

7.)   Jeff Tarango: “Shut Up!”

Back at the 1995 Wimbledon, Jeff Tarango delayed the match by disputing a call. The crowd began to jeer at Tarango and he was given a code violation for telling the tennis fans to “shut up.” Just after that he was given another violation for verbal abuse when he told the umpire “You are the most corrupt official in the game!” Tarango then stormed off the field, refusing to play. It was later revealed that Tarango`s wife was also upset by the calls and found the umpire after the match and slapped him.

8.) John McEnroe  “The Question Jerk!”

At the 1984 Stockholm final, McEnroe was down a set. In an argument with the umpire he screamed “Answer my question! The question, Jerk!” He continued the match but during the changeover McEnroe took his anger out on the drink table, smashing it with his racquet and sending glass into the first and second rows of the crowd.

9.) Serena Williams: “Don’t even look at me!”

Again at the US Open, but this time in 2011, in a match against Samantha Stosur,  Serena Williams had another problem with the umpire. The umpire, Eva Asderaki, called an “intentional hindrance” when Williams hit the ball and screamed “C`mon.”

Williams berated the umpire saying, “Aren’t you the one who screwed me over last time?” And  “Don’t even look at me. If I see you in the corridor don’t even walk past me… a code violation for expressing my opinion, we’re in America… you’re unattractive inside…”

10. ) Mikhail Youzhny: Racquet Abuse?

At the 2008 Sony Ericsson Open, Mikhail Youzhny took his anger out on the least expected person; himself. After losing a point to his competitor, Nicolas Almagro, Youzhny hit himself in the head with his racquet three times, making himself bleed. After some medical attention, Youzhny was back on the court and ended up winning the match!

As you can see, tennis players have tempers too! These top ten outbursts are not the only instances of tantrums on the tennis court but they are definitely some of the most memorable. Getting to see a tennis champion stomp their court shoes and flail their arms around and like a toddler having a tantrum, isn`t something you see every day!

  • Serena Williams Photo Credit
  • Andy Roddick Photo Credit
  • John McEnroe Photo Credit
Attached Images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source
  • License: Creative Commons image source
  •  License: Creative Commons image source

Courtney Sloan is a freelance writer and a student at Mira Costa College studying mass media. As a writer with a passion for tennis, health and fitness, she has made it her mission to find helpful information about tennis products and other important issues and share them with the community.

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