John McEnroe lifted his angry on-court persona to new heights on Thursday at a senior tour event in Newport — swearing at and gesturing obscenely at the crowd and the chair umpire before becoming the first player to be defaulted at an Outback Champions Series event.
“Has anything changed?” said opponent MaliVai Washington. “I guess he has one of those explosive personalities, you could say. There are a lot of things I can deal with, disputed line calls, stoppage in play. I have an issue when my opponent starts berating people, fans, and umpires. I said something to the official. As players, we are in control of the match. Officials are in charge of the integrity of the game.”
McEnroe won the first set 6-3 and was trailing 2-4 in the second when, arguing a line call, McEnroe was issued a code violation for an audible obscenity. Things snowballed from there, and as McEnroe tore into the chair umpire and fought with the booing crowd, he eventually went through all four steps on the match-default process.
“All players must abide by the same rules,” said Venison. “Umpires tend to be intimated by John which generally means they are more lenient with him. He crossed the line today. We are dealing with a group of extremely competitive guys, and John is one of them. He agreed to the first three code violations, but disagreed with the fourth (for an obscene gesture). John said that he did not do it, and the umpire said he 100 percent categorically saw it. We have to go with the umpire’s ruling.”
McEnroe did not meet with press afterwards, but will reportedly still compete in his round-robin matches.
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