It was the moment that transformed yesterday's Queen's Club final from a normal tennis match, one that David a good chance to win, into a scandal, making headlines around the world. An hour and 23 minutes into the match, having failed to make a return and therefore having just dropped his serve again, David vented his frustration by kicking the closest available object, a board. Something that he tends to do on court, whether it's water coolers, displays or ad banners. In this particular case however, a linesman was sitting directly behind that board and received a cut on the shin as David's kick sent it flying. There was blood. And the ATP rulebook is clear on what happens if a player injures an official, his opponent, or a member of the crowd, whether intentionally, or not. In the words of chair umpire Fergus Murphy: "Ladies and gentlemen, code violation - unsportsmanlike conduct, default Mr. Nalbandian".
|(Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)|
UpdateII: David has received the maximum fine of €10.000. But though the result could've been a suspension, the ATP "insist that Nalbandian will not be suspended for the incident" (source).
|(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)|
According to some new articles, the ATP will now conduct a separate review of events, including David's verbal attacks on the ATP. Which could result in further fines and him, getting suspended, after all, though this seems unlikely (source).
|(Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)|
I guess that this also was what led him to lash out at the ATP.
Afterwards, David faced the press. Here are a few quotes:
I know that I made a mistake, 100 percent, and I apologize. I feel very sorry to the guy. I didn't want to do that.But he also renewed his attacks on the ATP.
But sometimes you get angry and can't control yourself in moments like that. These moments happen many times, well to me anyway.
Maybe you throw a racquet or maybe you scream or maybe you do something like that.
When I hit the board, I didn't want to do it that bad. But that's the way it is. Sometime you cannot control that few seconds.
Maybe the punishment is fair. If I have to pay like that, I agree.
I was very angry in that moment. Sometimes its almost like you don't see anything. I just hit the fence and I don't know how to explain that.
I saw that it was bad. I didn't full realise what happened until I saw him and that's why I stayed there and I was asking him if he was okay.
He told me he was ok but he had got a cut. So we got a doctor. I just asked about him again and someone told me that he's okay. But I didn't have time to check it by myself.
Everybody makes mistakes, right? When somebody else does a mistake, they have to pay in the same way, but the players don't feel that happens much, especially with ATP.Later, the following official statement was released for the press and via the official site and its extensions:
In the beginning of the year you have to sign that you agree with everything that the ATP says. And sometimes you don't. And if you don't want to sign, you cannot play ATP tournaments.
Sometimes the ATP put a lot of pressure on the players, and sometimes you get injured because you play on dangerous surface and nothing happens.
We have to keep rolling all time. There is nothing pay for that.
I don't know if I will get in trouble. I don't really mind. This is what I thought and what many players think.
Concerning the disqualification that David Nalbandian suffered during the final of the tournament at the Queen's Club, the Argentine tennis player says that he's "saddened by and sorry about the kick that unintentionally hurt the linesman".
"I never intended to hurt him, it was an unfortunate reaction to the loss of a point," David said.
"I had the opportunity to apologise to the linesman personally for this unfortunate incident for which I take complete responsibility," Nalbandian also said.
David would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the crowd that attended the final, to the tournament director and to his thousands of fans and followers in Argentina and around the world.
Especially, if he kicks something again...
And as if it all wasn't bad enough already (thanks, Mira for the link):
Police are investigating a complaint of alleged assault against David Nalbandian, who was disqualified from the Aegon Championships final after a line judge was injured.
"We are aware of an incident at the Aegon Championships," the Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Monday. "A complaint has been made and the Metropolitan Police Service is now investigating. The allegation is of assault."