Tennis players losing the plot

When tennis stars get angry

Tennis, the most infuriating game around? As anyone who’s played tennis will know, it takes a lot to keep your anger contained within, especially when your game’s deteriorated or when an umpire's decision goes against you. That's where the anger and frustration spill over and players show their sometimes fragile states of mind.

By Simon Doyle

Tennis is full of fine examples of players who've lost the plot and ‘Super Brat’ John McEnroe was arguably the finest exponent of letting it all out (often to his advantage); his ‘You can not be serious’ moment becoming the stuff of tennis legend. Some tennis players have even been known to beat themselves up on court in the heat of competition! We’ve compiled some of the finest examples available on youtube of tennis stars who’ve lost the plot in the heat of battle.

Mikhail Youzhny hits himself 

Tennis fans could have been forgiven for thinking that this was some sort of fake joke, after all it was April 1st when Russian tennis star Mikhail Youzhny decided to take it out on himself after losing a point in a tie-break with Nicolas Almagro. Hitting a relatively easy return into the net, he then decided to take it out on his head and hit himself three times with the frame of his tennis racket, drawing blood. Amazingly, despite requiring medical attention, he won the next seven points, taking the tie-breaker and also the match.


John McEnroe’s ‘You can not be serious’ 

‘Superbrat’, as he was christened by the British press, truly came to public prominence for his on-court behavior, as opposed to his superb touch play in the 1981 Wimbledon tournament. It was during this tournament that his catchphraseYou can not be serious!was born. McEnroe actually seemed to excel after his verbal outbursts, and despite coming close to be thrown out of the tournament after one incident in which he called the umpirethe pits of the world, he made it to the final that year. McEnroe somehow managed to keep his cool against the always ice cool Bjorn Borg in the final and triumphed to bring to an end Borg’s run of five successive Wimbledon wins.


Marat Safin — the angriest man in tennis?

While some players like to take their anger out on the umpire or themselves, others prefer to do it to their rackets and other things around. Marat Safin was master at all of the above. A quick search on youtube reveals him to be one the biggest racket smashers and moaners is the game. Countless times the former world number one has taken it out on his racket and the umpire. This little video displays the good, the bad, and the ugly side of Safin who always ensured he had a smashin' time on court.

Roddick has a meltdown moment at the 2001 US Open

An over-rule in a quarter final with Leyton Hewitt at the 2001 US Open brought out the devil in Andy Roddick who went ballistic at the umpire’s call. While trailing 5-4 and serving in the decisive fifth set, the then 19-year-old Roddick hit a shot that appeared to clip the line. Umpire Jorge Diaz over-ruled the linesman’s call sending Roddick into a racket-throwing tantrum that lasted several minutes. Afterwards Roddick makes a few sarcastic gestures to see if the umpire was going to over-rule further points he’d clearly won. It didn’t do Roddick any good, Hewitt winning the final set 6-4.

(Sorry, Youtube have prevented us embedding this video (we used to be able to!) but you can view it by clicking here)

Kristian Pless makes a racket

Dane Kristian Pless, who was attempting to force his way up the rankings by playing in the ATP Challenger series of events, did his cause no good whatsoever with this show of petulance. After losing his first round match in Dallas, the former world number 65 blew his stack and took it out on his racket which had obviously so badly let him down! He still managed to shake hands with the umpire though. With a series of shoulder problems, Pless had better keep his temper in check if he’s not to end up back under the surgeon’s knife.


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