Marcos Baghdatis was fined for an extraordinary racket-smashing tantrum yesterday, but in a sport known for its meltdowns, fellow players greeted the outburst calmly.
Trailing by two sets to love in Wednesday’s second-round clash with Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, the Cypriot stunned spectators by breaking not one, not two, not three, but four rackets as he briefly lost the plot.
The 26-year-old did not even bother to take two of his rackets out of their plastic wrappers.
As footage of the tirade went viral, Baghdatis, beaten in four sets, was fined US$800 by the tournament referee yesterday for “abuse of rackets and equipment.”
Sporadic bad on-court behavior is nothing new in a sport that experienced the spectacular hissy-fits of US player John McEnroe, who became defined as much by his bad-boy antics as his tennis.
Five-time Australian Open winner Serena Williams escaped with a US$2,000 fine for an outburst at a chair umpire during last year’s US Open final — her second such incident at the event in two years.
Williams said yesterday that she used to be a racket-breaker, but realized now that there were better ways to let out frustrations.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said he could understand the depths of rage which drive players.
“But, anyway, my father told me all the time: ‘If you break the racket, I will break you.’ So I go easy with the racket,” he said.
Big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic says he does not have the luxury of being able to break rackets.
“I have 10 rackets. I need to play with 10 rackets. I don’t have any to break,” he said.