Biggest Tennis Tantrums [VIDEO]

andrewhendrie in Features 03 Apr 2020
Tennis Tantrums
One of John McEnroe’s many confrontations with tennis officials (PA Images)

We’ve seen some classic tennis tantrums over the years and we’ve taken the liberty of ranking our top 10 of all time.


Viktor Troicki: 2016 Wimbledon second round

Troicki going nuts is always a sight to behold and his outburst at the umpire at Wimbledon in 2016 was one of his best efforts.

Highlights include Troicki telling the umpire he was the ‘worst ever’, he had made 30 wrong calls for the match and saying ‘sorry, but you are an idiot’. At least he apologised…

Karolina Pliskova: 2018 Rome second round

Pliskova is sometimes eerily robotic with her mannerisms and emotionless demeanour on talk, but she absolutely lost it in Rome 2018 against Maria Sakkari after the umpire incorrectly called one of her smashes out earlier in the match.

After Sakkari completed the victory, Pliskova let loose at the umpire chair, striking it several times with her racquet. Also, watch out for Sakkari’s humorous immediate reaction.

David Nalbandian: 2012 Queen’s Club final

Former top 10 star Nalbandian was sensationally disqualified from the Queen’s Club final in 2012 after injuring a lines judge. How did he hurt him? Well, by kicking an advertising board into his shin, drawing blood in the process.

Obviously the Argentine didn’t intend to injure the lines-person, but it was an automatic disqualification nonetheless. Making the matter even more infuriating for Nalbandian – he was actually leading the final against Marin Cilic when the incident took place.

“I am very sorry, sometimes you get frustrated on court,” said Nalbandian.

Marcos Baghdatis: 2012 Australian Open second round

One of the all-time great blow-ups occurred during the second round of the Australian Open in 2012. Baghdatis, clearly not content with just one racquet smash, erupted in a blaze of fury, obliterating four racquets during a change of ends.

Incredible scenes in Melbourne.

Mikhail Youzhny: 2008 Miami Masters third round

Now, surely, the title of this video – ‘Youzhny reacts badly to losing point’ – is the biggest understatement of all time.

See for yourself as the Russian repeatedly whacks his racquet into his skull, drawing blood in another historic moment for tennis meltdowns.

Jeff Tarango: 1995 Wimbledon third round

Known as one of the most fiery figures in tennis history, one of Tarango’s biggest blow-ups came at Wimbledon in 1995.

After a disputed ace, Tarango told fans to shut up before calling the umpire ‘the most corrupt official in the game’.

The American proceeded to storm off the court in frustration, becoming the first player to quit at a major. His wife also reportedly slapped the umpire twice and Tarango was banned from Wimbledon the following year. Absolute carnage!

Jimmy Connors: 1991 U.S. Open fourth round

Connors, the man with the more career titles than anyone on the planet, also ranks in the top 10 for most tennis tantrums as well. One of his best came at the U.S. Open in 1991 – on his birthday no less – when his overhead was called out by the umpire.

What proceeded was one of the more aggressive verbal tirades we’ve ever seen from a player towards an umpire…

Nick Kyrgios: 2019 Rome second round

A tennis tantrum list isn’t complete without the mercurial Australian and Kyrgios’ biggest meltdown was arguably in Rome in 2019. Given a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct, Kyrgios unleashed a flurry of f-bombs before hurling a chair across the court in anger.

Handed a game penalty, Kyrgios was done, kicking his water bottle before heading off court muttering various expletives.

John McEnroe: 1984 Stockholm semi-final

The original tennis brat. There’s obviously countless incidents that could have made this list, but my personal favourite came in Stockholm in 1984 (his famous ‘you can’t be serious’ outburst can be found here).


Serena Williams: 2009 U.S. Open semi-final

Serena is another legend that has been involved in various incidents with officials over the years, with many of them coming at her home slam the U.S. Open, where she’s always under the most pressure.

Facing a returning Kim Clijsters in the 2009 semi-finals, Serena was serving to stay in the match and trying to force a tiebreak in the second set, only to be sensationally called for a foot fault on second serve down 15-30.

The call from the lineswoman gave Clijsters two match points, and when Serena was done verbally abusing her with the infamous ‘I’ll shove this ball down your [expletive] throat’ line, she was docked a point penalty and ultimately lost the match in utterly outrageous scenes.

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