Tennis players have been known to abuse line judges verbally, but Argentine star David Nalbandian inadvertently went too far during yesterday Queen’s Club final in London. After missing a shot that cost him a game in the second set against Marin Cilic, he thoughtlessly kicked a Nike advertising board that surrounded line judge Andrew McDougall. The flimsy board was drilled into McDougall’s shin, leaving a bloody gash. Watch the replay (and listen to the clueless BBC announcers, who totally missed what happened initially and then seemed overly sympathetic — for Nalbandian!)
Nalbandian was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct, a decision that rankled the player, who was seeded 10th in the Wimbledon tune-up tournament. “I agree I do a mistake but sometimes everybody do a mistake and I didn’t feel it had to end like that, especially in a final,” he said. Later, Nalbandian issued a statement, saying he felt “ashamed and sorry for the kick that unintentionally hurt the line umpire.”
“I never intended to hit him, it was an unfortunate reaction in which I wanted to let off steam after losing a point,” he said. “I had the opportunity to personally apologize to the line umpire for this regrettable act that I am fully responsible for.”
According to the Associated Press, an assault complaint was filed against Nalbandian with London police, though it was unclear by whom.