Top 10 Tennis Meltdowns: What a Racket!


Tennis is a lonely game, and for some that isolation can be too much when the cruel clutches of failure close in.

As we look forward to the French Open, Unibet digs out some of the best on-court meltdowns. Zut Alors!

10. Victor Hanescu

We start with the bizarre case of Romanian Victor Hanescu who wanted to take matters into his own hands during a 2010 match at Wimbledon with German David Brands. Complaining there wasn't enough light left, and having his request to end the match refused, Hanescu started making deliberate foot faults. Enraged crowd members made their opinions known and Victor responded by spitting at them and continuing to foot fault. All very unpleasant. 

9. David Ferrer

We've all been there; you go to a tennis match with your toddler, the infant cries, an international tennis player whacks a tennis ball at your balling offspring. That's what happened to one member of the crowd during David Ferrer's match with Mardy Fish at the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open when the Spaniard missed a shot. To be fair, Ferrer missed the kid also.

8. Martina Hingis

Remember at school there was always a kid who cried and stamped their feet until they got their way? This is the tennis equivalent. Kind of. In 1999 Martina Hingis was up a set and a break against Steffi Graf in the French Open final, when she disputed a line call and then went into meltdown. She went on to lose the game and had to be dragged out in tears by her mother, after refusing to come out for the trophy presentation.

7. Andy Roddick

Not averse to an outburst or two on court, American Andy Roddick went into sarcasm overdrive during a 2008 Australian Open match against our friend David Ferrer. Not only did he display an astonishing lack of manners, but also an indication that he is a bit of a technological luddite, telling the umpire he will "email or fax" him the reasons he was wrong. Fax? Who was still using fax machines in 2008? Get a grip Andy!

6. Jeff Tarango

Imagine Wimbledon wasn't in fact the world's biggest tennis tournament but was a tea time soap opera and you might get somewhere close to this bizarre incident in 1995 where first, American Jeff Tarango stormed off court after a dodgy line call, then called umpire Bruno Rebuh corrupt and repeated claims of the official throwing matches in the post-game press conference. In the next scene, Tarango's wife Benedicte told reporters she had slapped Rebuh and called him a 'right slaaaaaaag'.

5. John McEnroe Part I

The king of on-court meltdown's is in at No.5 in our list of tennis tantrums for this outburst in Stockholm in 1984. Frustrated, and a set down, Johnny Mac swept a load of drinks from a pitch-side table with his racket (and a pretty decent swing it must be said) before calling the umpire a "jerk". Unfortunately for John, the King of Sweden was sitting just a few rows away and was covered in glass and juice, but saw the funny side and didn't demand swift Nordic vengence.

4. Serena Williams

Don't ever make Serena Williams angry. You wouldn't like her when she's angry, as this line judge at the 2009 US Open in Flushing Meadows found out when she infuriated the 27-grand slam title winner. Williams threatened to take a tennis ball and place it somewhere uncomfortable. Yikes.

3. Xavier Malisse

The talented Belgian sounded more like a petulant teenager angry at mum and dad for not letting him go out with his mates than a pro tennis player, as he screamed at officials during a match in which he was winning against that man David Ferrer in Miami (I think we are seeing a link to on court anger here). Malisse also threw a ball at a line judge, kicked over a chair and smashed his racquet, in an emotional outburst that saw him given a four-week ban, stripped of $13,290 in prize money and fined $7705. 

2. Mikhail Youzhny

Youzhny is a bit of a masochist. Well, judging by this video from the 2008 Miami Masters where the Russian smashed himself in the head repeatedly after losing a point to Spain's Nicolas Almagro. He then proceded to bleed from the wound, looking like the victim of some sort of football hooligan riot. Weirdly, it had the desired effect as he went on to beat Almagro 7-6 (6-4) 3-6 7-6 (6-4).

1. John McEnroe Part II

And here we are, the pinnacle of tennis tantrums. The Chernobyl of on-court meltdowns. During his first round game with Thomas Gullikson at Wimbledon (the venue that seems to bring out the worst in everyone) McEnroe lost it with umpiure Ted James after a line call, yelled his now famous lines "you cannot be serious" and "chalk flew up" and then called James "the pits of the world". All quite poetic really.