As per ATP rules David Nalbandian defaulted during his Queens finals match against Marin Cilic after he kicked an advertisement sign at the feet of the lines person injuring the official. Nalbandian was clearly not taking his rage out on the lines person but the target of his rage – the sign – was so close to the man that his shin was left bleeding.
The default means that Nalbandian will be denied any of the points or prize money he would have earnt from his Queens appearance but it does raise another question in my mind…. Did Serena Williams receive such a penalty for her US Open outburst? In my mind threatening to stuff a ball down someone’s throat is worse but let’s be clear I’m not defending Nalbandian.
To his credit (if any credit can be gained from this situation) David copped the default on the chin without protest and immediately apologized to the lines person, the tournament, the crowd and his fans. It doesn’t make it right though and his apology speech was not the time to start discussing his issues with the ATP.
It hasn’t been a good year for Nalbandian in terms of violations and fines. At the Australian Open he was the victim of a horrendous line call which ultimately lost him his match against John Isner. Later he was accused of throwing water on an official (which came with a huge fine) which he has vehemently denied with the support of other players.
Nalbandian has showed us all again that once enraged he is very difficult to refocus before a destructive tantrum ensues – either a tantrum that means he can’t continue concentrating or one that means rackets (or advertising signs) are left crushed on the side of the court.
Either way it was not one of David’s finest moments.
David has lost £36,500 prize money and could potentially receive a £6,400 fine in addition.
“I never intended to hit him, it was an unfortunate reaction in which I wanted to let off steam after losing a point. I had the opportunity to personally apologize to the line umpire for this regrettable act that I am fully responsible for.”
Update: David is now being investigated for assault