The universe has a way of balancing out things. For every quiet, unassuming player who steps out simply to play the game, there is a Nick Kyrgios, whose sole aim, at this point, seems to just ruffle some feathers before walking back home.
There’s an overwrought trope in sports about proving others wrong. But in Kyrgios’ case, it seems the other way: the rest of the world proving how right they were in his assessment. On Saturday night in Wimbledon, Kyrgios’ unruly, unprofessional behaviour became a talking point of the game, overshadowing his marvelous victory over Stefano Tsitsipas. It was not a one-off incident, which is at least understandable. But throughout the game, Kyrgios was a frustrating presence. He kept abusing line judges, got into mindless arguments with the chair umpire, making Tsitsipas wait so that he can have a few more words with the fans, before hitting underarm serves. It was hard not to feel bad for both the officials and his opponents.
Usually a composed presence on the court, Tsitsipas too lost his cool, and started targetting Kyrgios on net exchanges. He missed one by inches, but the other volley crashed into Kyrgios’ chest. The first time Kyrgios went underarm, Tsitsipas at least tried to return. In the second instance, Tsitsipas just dashed in and thrashed the ball with all his might. A couple of centimeters here and there and it might have hit ballboys.
Overall, it was a filthy game of tennis. Let’s take a look at five other instances of a player losing his cool in Wimbledon.
Fabio Fognini and Nick Kyrgios seem to be cut from the same cloth. Like Kyrgios, Fognini is a good player but lacks the temperament and consistency. In the 2013 Wimbledon, Fognini launched into an opera while protesting the wide call from an umpire. With no challenges left, all Fognini could do was roll on the ground and start singing opera. A few years later, Fognini was fined for wishing a bomb explosion on Wimbledon court after losing the game.
The usual suspect Nick Kyrgios went overboard with his antics, drawing boos from the fans during the Wimbledon 2015 clash against Richard Gasquet. A year ago, Kyrgios saved nine match points to beat the same opponent in the second round of the tournament. But this time Gasquet prevailed. Kyrgios got multiple code violations for using obscene language against officials, threw his racquet into the crowd, and even stopped returning the serves once his defeat was almost confirmed.
John McEnroe’s outburst in Wimbledon 1981 was voted the most memorable moment in the history of the tournament. After his ace was incorrectly called “wide”, McEnroe went up to the umpire and shouted, “That ball was on the line, chalk flew up!”
“You can’t be serious, man. That ball is on the line. Chalk flew up. It was clearly in. Everybody knows it’s in – the whole stadium – and you call it out? Explain that to me, will you?” McEnroe was proved right in the replays, but there used to be no video assistant for the umpired back in those days.
Jeff Tarango, the loud-mouth American, received a code violation for yelling obscenities at the crowd. Tarango didn’t like it. He told the chair umpire that he is “the most corrupt official in tennis”, and stormed out of the court. The match was forfeited, but then his wife decided to get into the action. She tried slapping the umpire not once but twice.
Anna Smashnova tried to smash the tennis ball right into the face of her opponent’s husband. However, she missed the target, and ended up hitting an innocent spectator. Interestingly, after her tennis career got over, Smashnova dropped her unusual surname.
Image Source: Wimbledon