COLOURFUL young Aussie tennis star Nick Kyrgios was the talk of Wimbledon – for all the wrong reasons.
Whether it’s spitting the dummy with the umpire, calling him “dirty scum”, blueing with spectators in the crowd or feeling the wrath of officials when he climbed up on a wall at the All England Club, Kyrgios struggled to do a lot right at Wimbledon.
Bundled out in the fourth round by French man Richard Gasquet, the 20 year old copped a code violation for an “audible obscenity” during that match.
Yep, he swore.
And the umpire wasn’t happy.
So Nick threw the toys out of the cot, giving up on the game, refusing to even try.
He copped it for tanking and even was served up an undeserving racist rant from former champion swimmer Dawn Fraser, who told him and fellow controversial Australian Bernard Tomic to “go back to where their fathers or their parents came from. We don’t need them here in this country if they act like that.”
Kyrgios was born in Canberra. His father Giorgios hails from Greece and mother Nill was born in Malaysia.
Anyway, as an homage to the tantrum thrown Aussie, we’re going to take a look at some of the best dummy spits in tennis history.
John McEnroe, Wimbledon, 1981
When you look at dummy spits – not just in tennis, but in sport – this guy is the pinnacle.
A flat out superstar, John McEnroe was also a flat out nut case when things went wrong.
His immortal “You cannot be serious” at the 1981 Wimbledon championships has been voted the All England Club grand slam’s number one moment.
And what a moment it was. During a seemingly mild first round match with Tom Gullickson – who you could pretty much guess counts this as a claim to fame – umpire Ted James ruled a ball went out.
What followed was an epic rant that just about every person who plays tennis – and many who have not – have repeated, over and over again.
“People shout that out to me all the time so I guess it shows how it’s stuck in the mind of so many people,” McEnroe said.
“The press hammered me but I also got support as people saw it as someone standing up to authority.
“I was just a kid then but like (Jimmy) Connors I played with a lot of angst.”
More on ‘Mac’ later.
Serena Williams, US Open, 2009
She might have won her sixth Wimbledon crown and is going to be the best female tennis player in history by the time she retires – if she isn’t already, but powerful American Serena Williams has had her moments.
A foot fault called by the lines woman that brought up match point in the semi final against Kim Clijsters caused the feisty Williams to launch a massive tirade at the official.
Perhaps a little overboard, but it certainly deserved the resultant code violation that led to a default, loss of the point and, by extension, loss of the match.
“Are you scared?” she asked the lines woman
“I didn’t say I would kill you, are you serious?” she asked, incredulously.
She’s won 22 grand slams, but certainly wouldn’t view this one as one of her finest moments.
Marco Baghdatis, Australian Open, 2012
We feel a bit sorry for Cypriot star Marcos Baghdatis’ racquets.
Uber popular among Australian fans, Baghdatis and his his huge entourage love heading down under and the fans lap it up.
They make plenty of noise with their singing and chants and they simply loved it when a clearly angry Baghdatis went to town on his racquet.
Well, not one of his racquets, but four. Falling two sets down to Stanislas Wawrinka, he lost his serve in the third set and then lost his mind, without even saying a word.
After wrecking the first one, he obliterated the second, then the third, still in its rapper.
His fourth one copped the same treatment, much to the adoration of a supremely vocal crowd.
It was a short, but costly meltdown for Baghdatis, who copped a code violation and was forced to cough up a $2000 fine, not to mention the expensive racquets – which were probably supplied.
It also produced this amusing comment from Jo Wilfired Tsonga.
“Four, it’s a lot,” Tsonga said.
“My father told me all the time, ‘If you break the racquet, I break you.”
Jimmy Connors, US Open 1991
Not known for his tact throughout a glittering career, angry man Jimmy Connors, at the ripe old age of 39, saw serious red when umpire David Littlefield called a ball out during a match with compatriot Aaron Krickstein – after the lines man ruled it ok.
Poor old Jimmy wasn’t having it.
“You didn’t see the god darn ball,” he screamed at littlefield.
“Get your ass out of the chair
“You’re a bum.
“I’m out here playing my butt off at 39 years old, and you’re doing that?”
He had some back up from fellow angry man McEnroe, who said: “There’s just no, no way he should be calling that ball out, it may have been at the most an eighth of an inch out and there’s no way he could have clearly seen that.
He later lost it again on another call.
Plenty of American hearts bled for the champ, but calling someone an “abortion” just isn’t very nice.
Despite it all, Connors went on to win the match and his over exuberant celebration sent the supportive crowd into a frenzy. Onya Jimmy.
Andrea Petkovic, Dubai, 2015
German world number 14 Andrea Petkovic is not exactly a house hold name, but her monstrous tantrum, in which she juxtaposed with the crowd in an effort to get some support for her argument over a call by umpire Zarina Diyas, should be the stuff of legend.
“NOOOOOOOOO,” she wails in protest.
“Oh my goodness.
“I cannot believe thiiiiiiiiiiiis.
“How can you do this.”
An incredulous Petkovic falls to her knees, shattered at the umpire’s decision, resting her head on the court, holding her hands over her head and slapping the surface.
“This is the worst call ever.”
Poor Andrea, we feel your pain, but a tennis court is probably not the best place to go completely bonkers.
* Bet on Andrea Petkovic to win the US Open at WilliamHill.com.au
John McEnroe, Stockholm Open, 1984
No least like this would be complete without at least a couple of entries from the king of tennis dummy spits.
We’ve picked this one for both the anger and the theatre.
Up against Swede Anders Jarryd, McEnroe copped a $2100 fine for going ham on the umpire Leif
Ake Nilsson after disputing a decision with the score at 4-2 in the second set.
“ANSWER MY QUESTION!” he screamed.
“THE QUESTION, JERK.”
To which the Ake Nillson replied: “Code violation, verbal abuse, point, Mr McEnroe.
Probably not the words angry Johnny wanted to hear as he belted the ball toward the umpire, then proceeded to lose the game.
He wasn’t finished though, teeing of on his chair, then his refreshments as he took break.
A more animated Ake Nillson came back with “Code violation, abuse of racquet, game, Mr McEnroe”.
“Why don’t we call off the match?” a bemused McEnroe asked.
“Can I have this person taken out of the chair?” he said as he flapped his arms around.