Nalbandian disqualified in Queen's final after kicking line judge
Sunday, 17 June 2012
June 17 - There was major controversy at Queen's, the prestigious tennis tournament that is this year acting as the warm-up event to Wimbledon and the London 2012 Olympic Games, after Argentinian tennis star David Nalbandian was disqualified from the final after injuring a line judge by kicking an advertising board into his shin.
The 30-year-old, a former Wimbledon runner-up who has been ranked as high as world number three, was leading the Aegon Championships final 7-6, 3-4 against Croatian opponent Marin Cilic when he suddenly smashed a panel in front of line judge Andrew McDougall's seat with a vicious kick after losing a point, causing his leg to bleed heavily.
Chair umpire Fergus Murphy awarded Cilic the match, disqualifying Nalbandian for "unsportsmanlike behaviour" and although the Argentinian was apologetic for his actions, ATP supervisor Tom Barnes confirmed the match was abandoned.
The decision saw the crowd uncharacteristically boo the decision and chanted "play on" but there was no reversal of it and Cilic was handed the trophy.
Nalbandian apologised to the crowd during an on court interview with the BBC's Sue Barker but he bizarrely took the opportunity to criticise the ATP.
"I am very sorry, sometimes you get frustrated on court," said Nalbandian.
"Sometimes I make a mistake I agree with.
"It's a tough moment to end a final like that but sometimes we feel so much pressure from the ATP playing so many tournaments.
"Today I've made a mistake.
"Sometimes I agree and I do but everyone makes mistakes.
"I don't feel it had to end like that - especially in a final.
"There are a lot of rules and sometimes they don't do anything.
"The rule book is very big and I can tell you the ATP do a lot to the players and nothing happens."
Rule 8.04 of the ATP rule book states a player guilty of aggravated behaviour can expect to be fined "up to $25,000 (£16,000/€20,000) or the amount of prize money won at the tournament, whichever is greater."
Given that the runners-up prize money at Queen's is £36,114 ($56,803/€44,945), Nalbandian stands to lose more.
"We were in the middle of a wonderful final and David Nalbandian ran across and in frustration kicked a panel underneath the line judge," said Tournament director Chris Kermode (pictured below right).
"The panel went into his leg and cut it – he's quite seriously injured.
"The match has ended with a code violation.
"David is struggling to come to terms with it.
"He clearly regrets what happened - but these things happen.
"It is sold out and the spectators are watching some great tennis, so to have the match end this way is quite disappointing.
"But there's not a lot we can do about it.
"We are under the governance of ATP rules.
"You'd like to think you can bend the rules but if you allow it [the match to continue] it sets a precedent."