Spitting at the crowd, hitting deliberate double-faults, trashing rackets, slamming balls at umpires, comparing officials to Saddam Hussein, swearing, throwing water over doctors… Analysis by The Tennis Space, with figures supplied by the International Tennis Federation, has revealed the worst offenders in men’s tennis. We present the top 10 of the most badly-behaved players in the men’s game, based on fines incurred at the grand slams in the last six years.
1. Victor Hanescu: 16,500 US dollars.
He would later suggest that he had been provoked by spectators during the 2010 Wimbledon Championships: as was noted at the time, this was a rare example of hooliganism at the All England Club’s summer garden party. During his third-round match against Germany’s Daniel Brands, the Romanian was alleged to have spat in the direction of the crowd (four of whom would later be arrested). Hanescu also served a number of deliberate double-faults before walking off the court while leading in the fifth set. Hanescu was fined 7,500 dollars for unsportsmanlike behaviour and 7,500 dollars for not giving his ‘best effort’. “I briefly lost control after another insult from someone in the crowd,” Hanescu said. “I should never have done that but I am human and I made a mistake.” His other crimes have included racket abuse and visible obscenity at the 2008 French Open, for which he had his prize-money reduced by 1,500 dollars.
2. James Cerretani, 12,500 US dollars.
The American, ranked 48 in doubles, achieves his high placing on this list because of his behaviour at one tournament. At the 2010 French Open, he received three separate fines for unsportsmanlike behaviour – for 7,500 dollars, 2,500 and 2,500.
3=. David Nalbandian. 12,000 US dollars.
The Argentine was fined 8,000 dollars for alleging throwing water over a doctor after his second-round defeat to America’s John Isner at this Australian Open. Nalbandian, who had called the umpire “stupid” for his decision-making, has denied soaking the doctor, and has said he would appeal the punishment: “I emphatically deny throwing water on a staff member after the match against Isner. During the anti-doping control while I was washing my hands the doctor unbelievably accused me of throwing water at him. With this fine, they would be carrying out two injustices, one on the court and one off. I will appeal the sanction.” Nalbandian’s rap-sheet also includes 2,500 dollars for verbal abuse at the 2006 French Open, 500 for racket abuse at the 2007 French Open, 500 for racket abuse at the 2007 Wimbledon Champion, and a further 500 for racket abuse at the 2009 Australian Open.
3=. Dmitry Tursunov, 12,000 US dollars.
Tursunov, who this month contributed a piece to The Tennis Space on ‘How to Smash a Racket’, registered his frustrations in other ways during the 2006 Wimbledon Championships. During a fourth-round defeat to Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen, Tursunov slammed a ball in the direction of the umpire’s chair (Fergus Murphy believed that the Russian was trying to hit him), and later called the official “an idiot” and compared him to Saddam Hussein: “Just because he’s been doing it for many years doesn’t mean he’s doing a good job. Saddam Hussein has been in Iraq for a while, but not too many people agree with his point of view.” He received two fines for unsportsmanlike behaviour, one for 5,000 dollars and another for 2,500. There were more fines to come, with 1,000 dollars for verbal abuse at the 2008 Australian Open, 500 for racket abuse at the 2008 US Open, 500 for racket abuse at the 2009 Australian Open, and 2,500 for verbal abuse at the 2009 Australian Open.
5. Julien Benneteau, 11,500 US dollars.
The Frenchman’s inclusion in the top five comes after a 2,500-dollar fine for verbal abuse at this Australian Open (the second highest fine after Nalbandian’s punishment for allegedly soaking a doctor). Benneteau’s largest financial sanction came at Wimbledon in 2007 when he was fined 5,000 dollars for verbal abuse.
6. Fabio Fognini: 10,800 US dollars.
The Italian has achieved the career grand slam of unsporting behaviour, with fines for that offence at each of the four grand slams. At the US Open, he has also been punished for racket abuse and an audible obscenity (swearing, in common parlance).
7. Alex Bogomolov Junior, 10,550 US dollars.
Bogomolov, who recently changed nationality from American to Russian, had a heated first-round match at the 2006 Australian Open with Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez, with the pair shouting at each other during the change-overs. Bogomolov was fined 3,000 dollars for verbal abuse, plus 1,500 and 250 for audible obscenities. He also had a meltdown at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships (where he slammed his racket so hard into the grass that it bounced out of court), where he was fined 3,000 dollars for verbal abuse, and 1,500 for unsportsmanlike behaviour. His record also includes a 500-dollar crime of racket abuse at the 2010 US Open, and breaking his racket at the 2011 US Open, which was worth 800 dollars.
8=. Mike Bryan: 10,000 US dollars.
This all centres on one ‘off court’ incident. The American was fined five figures for unsporting behaviour at the 2011 US Open, for reportedly putting a hand on an umpire’s arm.
8=. Dick Norman, 10,000 US dollars.
The third of the three doubles specialists in the top 10, the Belgian is at his worst at the All England Club; he was given a 7,500-dollar fine for unsporting behaviour at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships and three years later he was docked 2,500 dollars for verbal abuse.
10. Mardy Fish: 9,500 US dollars.
The only top-10 singles player to also make this top 10. His crimes have been: 500 dollars for racket abuse and 2000 for swearing at the 2006 Wimbledon Championships, 500 for racket abuse at the 2008 French Open, 1,000 for audible obscenity and 1,000 for unsportsmanlike at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships, 2,000 for verbal abuse at 2010 French Open, 1,000 for audible obscenity at 2010 Wimbledon, 1,500 for audible obscenity at the 2011 French Open.
The top five:
Novak Djokovic: 4,500 US dollars (500 for racket abuse at 2007 Wimbledon, 500 for ball abuse at 2010 Wimbledon, 500 for racket abuse at 2010 US Open, 1500 for coaching at 2011 Australian Open, 1500 for racket abuse at 2011 Wimbledon).
Rafael Nadal: 2,000 US dollars (coaching at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships).
Roger Federer: 1,500 US dollars (audible obscenity at the 2009 US Open)
Andy Murray: 1,800 US dollars (audible obscenity at the 2007 US Open, and racket abuse at the 2011 French Open).
David Ferrer: 9,250 US dollars (5,250 for audible obscenities, and 8 counts of racket abuse at 500 dollars a go, so 4,000 for that).