Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

10 Most Intense Tennis Court Meltdowns


Snaking queues, strawberry related stains and the odd bout or rain aside, tennis fans at Wimdledon rarely have anything to get angry about.

The same can't be said of the players, that is - egotism is commonplace for those who compete at the upper echelons of the game, resulting in the odd bit of roughhousing and many an on-court meltdown. 

So, with rivalries resuming for Wimbledon 2015, we thought we’d take the time to list the most infamous moments when - if you can forgive the pun - no love was lost.

Images: Getty


Andy Murray vs Juan Martin Del Potro

Never one to turn down the opportunity of channelling William Wallace, Murray took umbrage with Del Potro at the Rome Masters in 2008 when the gangly Argentine aimed a ball at his head without apology. Matters then got even more heated between the two former junior rivals when Del Potro claimed the Scot and his mother were “always the same”, forcing the umpire to act like a teacher in a school playground as Murray complained that his mum had been brought into it.


Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi

Tempers skyrocketed and trash-talking got ugly in this charity game which saw two of the game’s most embittered rivals playing alongside two of the game’s most pally. As Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer grinned uncomfortably, their partners took verbal aim at one another behind wry smiles - Sampras aping his trademark pigeon walk and Agassi reminding his opponent of his reputation as a poor tipper, a claim he'd famously made in his autobiography.


David Nalbandian vs advertising board

Drawing ‘first blood’ in a tennis final is all fine in a figurative sense, but booting a wooden advertising sign directly into the path of a befuddled line judge to leave him with a badly gashed leg? That’s not the sort of behaviour befitting a champion, and when firebrand David Nalbandian did just that in 2012’s Queen’s final, he was rightfully disqualified.


John McEnroe vs umpire

Part pantomime villain, part world class sportsman, McEnroe enjoyed a lengthy number of high-profile incidents with tennis officials during his glittering career. Although the super-brat’s most infamous run in came during this bout with arch nemesis Ivan Lendl at the Stockholm Open of 1984. Clutching a ball like Hamlet would a skull, he approaches the chair to shout, “Answer my question...the question, jerk!”, delivering the line with all the muster of a true thespian, before wandering off to destroy his racket.


Tim Henman vs ball girl

Yes, even professional good guy Tim Henman proved he’s no stranger to the dark side in 1995, becoming the first ever player to be disqualified from the tournament after he lashed out at a ball in anger and struck a ball girl on the head. Still, if there’s one silver lining for the perenial semi-finalist, he can take solace in the fact he broke one record at Wimbledon.


Andy Roddick vs racket

In his pomp, Andy Roddick boasted one of the fastest serves around. So few were surprised when, hurling a racket towards the ground at thunderous pace during a match at the 2011 Madrid open, he reduced it to a plastic puddle. Not done there, upon walking back to get a fresh one, he proceeded to obliterate the racket some more - but only after first checking whether he’d had his official warning - a true pro.


Greg Rusedski vs umpire

In the pantheon of great Canadian sportsmen to be pilfered by Britain, Greg Rusedski comes only second to Lennox Lewis. Regardless of this fact, after becoming frustrated with the umpire during a Wimbledon match in 2003, dropping more F-Bombs per minute than the average Tarantino film, the ace-seeker bared his Canadian side for the world to see. Poor form.


Stefan Koubek vs Daniel Kollerer

Choking an opponent may be fair game in the WWE, but not tennis, as Stefan Koubek found out to his cost in 2010. Incensed by something fellow Austrian Daniel Kollerer had said to him on-court during a domestic match, Koubek got out of his chair in the changeover and proceeded to throttle his opponent, resulting in a direct DQ. Koubek would have the last laugh, however, as in 2011, Kollerer was found guilty of match fixing, fined $100,000 and banned for life.


Serena Williams vs Eva Asderaki

Docked a point by shouting “Come On” before her opponent Sam Stosur could return a ball in a game at the US Open, Williams dedicated a whole rest break to making personal attacks on umpire Eva Asderaki, describing her as “a hater” and “unattractive inside”. The outburst resulted in a $2000 fine – chump change when compared to the £1.4m she earned in the tournament.


Jimmy Connors vs John McEnroe

For all his bluster, McEnroe, it seems, wasn’t a fan of the shoe being on the foot as it were. There wasn’t much on the line for these two foes in a singles game in Chicago in 1982, but that didn’t stop Connors walking over the net and squaring up to a sheepish-looking Mac-Attack after being insulted repeatedly.



Sports movies where heroes unexpectedly lose


Man of the Year: Andy Murray


Top 5 tennis style essentials



Luis Suarez talks English football and the toughest PL defenders

He's a lover, not a biter

19 Oct 2016

Gary Lineker talks crisps, Rooney and "Sh*t on pitch"

Crisp don Gary Lineker reminisces about the time Diego Maradona nearly fell off a balcony

by Alex Christian
19 Oct 2016

Park Ji-sung now plays for De Montfort University's student side

And can't even prevent them from getting utterly drubbed

by Tristan Cross
14 Oct 2016

Watch San Marino players celebrate first WCQ away goal in 15 years

Ecstasy in Oslo

by Dave Fawbert
12 Oct 2016

The first-ever green card has been awarded in a football match

But how do you get one?

by Dave Fawbert
10 Oct 2016

Football's wonderkids that never made it

The prodigal youngsters that left us boy wondering

by Tristan Cross
05 Oct 2016

Celtic’s 13 year old wonderkid is already better than you'll ever be

Karamoko Dembele made his debut for the U20s last night

04 Oct 2016

The new FIFA president wants to ruin the World Cup

He might have just f*cked up massively

by David Cornish
04 Oct 2016

Sam Allardyce was foolish but he shouldn’t have been sacked

The England mess leaves more questions than answers

by Dave Fawbert
28 Sep 2016

England manager Sam Allardyce leaves after one game in charge

Farewell, Big Sam, we hardly knew ye

27 Sep 2016