Nalbandian Disqualified at Queen's
David Nalbandian was disqualified from Sunday afternoon's AEGON Championships final against Marin Cilic after kicking an advertising panel in to a line judge's leg.
- Related Content
Nalbandian won the first set of his final against Marin Cilic on centre court but then lost his temper in the second set in outrageous fashion.
The Argentinian, a professional of 12 years, was broken in the seventh game and responded by kicking an advertising hoarding that was in front of the chair of line judge Andrew McDougall.
The plywood board came off its hinges and ploughed straight in to McDougall's shin, causing an inch-long gash from which blood began to seep.
ATP supervisor Tom Barnes came on to the court and ordered the match to Cilic, much to the annoyance of the 6,000 paying crowd members, who booed the decision loudly.
Barnes confirmed afterwards Nalbandian would not receive his £36,500 runners-up prize, and that he also faces a fine of up to £6,400 for the incident.
"It was unsportsmanlike conduct. Once I saw the injury, I didn't have any other option," Barnes said.
"With the default it's automatic that you lose the ranking points, and you lose the prize money from the tournament, hospitality costs, and he's subject to a fine which can be up to US$10,000, and that is undetermined at the moment."
Nalbandian apologised to McDougall immediately afterwards, but followed it up with an on-court tirade against the ATP, which could earn him yet another fine.
"I feel very sorry for the guy. I didn't want to do that," Nalbandian said.
"But sometimes you get angry. Sometimes you cannot control moments and that kind of thing happens.
"When I hit the panel I didn't want to do it as bad as that.
"I thought it was bad. I didn't realise how bad it was until I saw him, and that's why I stayed and asked him if he was okay.
"Sometimes you get very frustrated on court.
"It's a tough moment to end a final like that but sometimes we feel so much pressure from the ATP playing so many tournaments.
"At the beginning of the year you have to sign an agreement with the ATP that says you have to agree with everything they say.
"Sometimes you don't agree. If you don't want to sign, you cannot play ATP tournaments."
This is not the first time that Nalbandian has been in trouble with the authorities this year.
The 30-year-old, who was making his first appearance in a grass court final since 2002 when he got to the last two at Wimbledon, was fined £5,400 for throwing water at a staff member at the Australian Open in January.
Fans were outraged at today's decision, booing tournament officials when they handed the prizes out to both players in clear revolt.
Tournament director Chris Kermode said it was the right decision, however.
"It was a very, very clear cut case," he said.
"It's not the way we wanted to finish the final, by any means.
"Some of the crowd had a different view of it and I can understand the crowd's frustration. They paid money to see it. "But from a rules perspective, there was absolutely no other choice."
There was no hint that the match would end in such circumstances at the beginning, with Nalbandian cruising to a first-set tie-break win after breaking his opponent twice.
It was Cilic's comeback in the second set that unnerved the former world number three and the new Queen's champion admits he sensed his opponent was feeling tense.
"He threw his racquet down a couple times in the beginning of the second set, so I felt I had to squeeze a bit more and try to push my game on a higher level and not give him much," Cilic said.
"That's not the way I would have liked to win it. He didn't mean to do it. It just happened."