Watch David Nalbandian Kick An Umpire Then Get Kicked Out Of The Queen’s Final [Video]
by Staff | June 17th, 2012, 1:48 pm

On what could have been a crowning day turned ugly for David Nalbandian Sunday. Playing in his first grass final since the 2002 Wimbledon, Nalbandian met Marin Cilic for the Queen’s Club title in London.

Leading by a set and just three games from his first ATP title in almost two years, Nalbandian was stunningly defaulted from the match after the Argentine kicked an ad banner into the leg of a seated service linesman. The force left a bloody gash on the lineman’s leg.

The incident drew an immediate disqualification from chair umpire Fergus Murphy, a decision later upheld by ATP supervisor Tom Barnes.

By ATP rule, Nalbandian will forfiet all ranking points and prize money he was to earn for reaching the Queen’s final. And the 30-year-old will likely face further fines and a possible suspension from the circuit.

Nalbandian, who’s been known to be a hot head having been fined earlier this year in Australia for throwing water on a doping official, tried to be apologetic afterward but then hit back at the ATP.

“Today I’ve made a mistake. Sometimes I agree and I do but everyone makes mistakes. I don’t feel it had to end like that – especially in a final,” the BBC reported Nalbandian saying. “There are a lot of rules and sometimes they don’t do anything. The rule book is very big and I can tell you the ATP do a lot to the players and nothing happens.”

The default, also likely the first levied during an ATP tournament final in recent history, gave Cilic his 7th career ATP title, first on grass.

“It was very bitter,” Cilic told the BBC. “It’s definitely not the way I wanted to win. To end like this is not easy.

“The match was getting hot and it’s tough to see the final finish like this. I can’t change it, but I’m really sorry for the fans that it finished like this.”


Nalbandian: “I feel sorry and regret hurting the line judge. I never tried to hurt him but this regretful moment was entirely my fault.”

Barnes said: “It is unsportsmanlike conduct, and the supervisor has the authority to declare an immediate default. Once I saw that the line judge was injured, I didn’t have any other option.”

Tournament Director Chris Kermode said: “It is obviously not the way that we wanted to finish the final and I can understand the crowd’s frustration, but the tournament is governed by ATP rules and this was a clear-cut case. The line judge was seen and treated by St John’s Ambulance. He also saw the Doctor, and no further treatment was required.”

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53 Comments for Watch David Nalbandian Kick An Umpire Then Get Kicked Out Of The Queen’s Final [Video]

jane Says:

Aww, just so sad this happened. :/

RZ Says:

Despicable for sure. But I think the headline of this post is misleading b/c it makes it sound as if Nalby directly kicked the ump, when he kicked the sign and it hit the line ump. I’m not excusing his actions or the result of it, but the headline here is unfair.

Brando Says:

Nalby …(shake of head) :(

Lulu Iberica Says:

At first it sounded like just a sad, unfortunate incident and I felt a bit sorry for Nalby, but after watching video of him kicking the sign I feel differently. The linesman was sitting right on TOP of the sign. Kicking it with any amount of force was obviously going to cause it to make contact with the linesman, so that is just totally unacceptable. I was actually hoping Nalby would win this title!

Brando Says:


that’s why its sad- nalby should know better, and YET he acted it out.

it’s a real shame that a weak moment on his behalf cost him a first grass title- and he would have so deserved it too.

Chico Says:

..t happens in life, everything is not fixable.

This time there would be some kind of justice if a certain Ms Williams would sponsor Nalby a consolidation prize.

Of course the ATP can say that what happens in GS:s or on the womens tour doesn’t effect the men or bare any significance, but if you compare Serenas rant in the US Open and this incidence, then Nalbys action was clearly not intentional towards the umpire as in Serenas case.

I say it stinks towards the sponsors, ie. the fans, and the rules should in some way take them in regard.

Brainfart on Nalbys behalf, but he got my sympathies because of the penalty, justified or not. Classic case of rulers hiding behind a rulebook.

Kimberly Says:

I think its comparable to the Metta World Peace elbow. Action has to be taken. Even if you don’t mean to hit the guy, you know he’s there so what is the likely result of your actions?

madmax Says:

Come on!

You can’t be serious!

Nalby didn’t mean to kick the linesman! He was heading for the advert, and it was a blind temper moment.

Poor Nalby :( so sorry this happened. It’s just so sad. He needs to keep a lid on his temper, but whatever happened to the rule book with other players? It does make me laugh. The worst offender, Mcenroe, ever and now “forgiven” and is actually a commentator for the BBC at wimbledon! Talk about double standards.

J Says:

Felt sorry for the poor bloke who got hurt, it wasn’t intentionally aimed towards him though.

Still, deserved to get disqualified. Had this happened in any other sport he would be removed from the field.

scineram Says:

I totally forgot that! Which year did McEnroe injure an official to bleed?

grendel Says:

madmax – I kind of agree with you about Nalbandian. His kick came instantly he lost the point (and his serve), so it was completely spontaneous. I think it’s perfectly possible he actually didn’t see the linesman. He was obviously, and instantly, disconcerted when he realised what had happened – although you don’t know how much that’s because he also instantly realised that he was in big trouble.

I’ve always been a fan of Nalbandian’s tennis, and I rather like him. He doesn’t pretend to be humble or modest like most of them, a pr team he does not have, and in fact he’s frankly quite arrogant. There’s a very impatient streak in him which sort of amuses me. I think if one were to go on a long hike with him, he would turn out to be a pretty interesting guy and, in his way, genuine.

meanwhile, w.r.t. John McEnroe, don’t forget he was defaulted from the AO. And if memory serves, he said at the time something along the lines that something like that should have happened a long time ago.

sar Says:

Those Jmac incidents I can remember! He was really bad.

Ben Pronin Says:

One of the reasons rules like this exist is exactly because of McEnroe’s antics, as well as a lot of the other players during that time. That’s how a lot of them were and it was pretty acceptable. It’s not fair to compare something from 1984 to 2012 when we all know what’s allowed and what isn’t. Most importantly, whether it was done spontaneously or not doesn’t mean Nalbandian isn’t a complete moron. He didn’t see the line judge sitting there? Because it was the first time he had ever seen that part of the court this week? Or that day? C’mon, let’s not make excuses for complete absentmindedness.

Dan Martin Says:

Wow – crazy and sad all at once – this impacts the way his whole career is to be viewed. This was not Youzhny cutting his own head – he injured someone else due to his inability to control himself.

grendel Says:

“He didn’t see the line judge sitting there? Because it was the first time he had ever seen that part of the court this week?”

Stranger things have happened. Something can be right in front of your eyes, and you can still not see it. Weird business, perception. If he was in a red rage, it is certainly possible all he was capable of seeing at that split instant was some piece of matter to smash.

Then again, maybe not. Maybe he was so angry he just didn’t care. No way of knowing, really. No doubt he had to pay the penalty. One understands that. Do we have to get all moralistic about it as well? You know, the chap in charge of the tournament didn’t. I thought he was rather impressive. He said with a wry smile that he had never been booed by a big crowd before.

Wog boy Says:

Sad, this was brain snap, there is no way you can put him in the same category with JMC who was serial offender, though I liked him:)
One cannot judge his career or himself through this brain snap, he is far better player and person.
By saying all of this he deserved red card, sad but true.

Wade Says:

Been a terrible day in terms of tennis. Two senior players battle it out in Halle with a 34yr old coming out on top over the once immortal grass King. And Nalby threw away a title which i would have loved to see him win on grass and now could maybe miss Winbledon?

jane Says:

More of Nalby’s words:

“When somebody else do a mistake, they have to pay in the same way […] [I]n the beginning of the year you have to sign [something that says] you have to agree with everything that the ATP says, right? And sometimes you don’t. And if you don’t want to sign, you cannot play ATP tournaments. So you don’t have chance to ask, to tell, to change something, nothing. […] But sometimes ATP put a lot of pressure on the players, and sometimes you get injured because you play on dangerous surface and nothing happen. Keep rolling. Keep rolling all time. Nothing pay for that.”

Mike Binstock Says:


Those McEnroe tirades did physically hurt anyone.

McEnroe was the master as to how far he could push the officials. He was only defaulted once and that was at the Aussie Open.

I know Nalby didn’t mean to harm the guy and it sucks because I really want to see him rebound from injury and reclaim a top 10 seed before he retires.

Lulu Iberica Says:

If Nalbandian has such a bad temper that he didn’t see the linesman, spontaneously kicked the sign board, couldn’t help himself, whatever, then he needs anger management classes. And I say this as someone with a bad temper. I can say a lot of nasty things, have broken things, etc, but I know not to dash, crash, or smash things that are in close proximity to other people. Luckily the linesman was not badly hurt. I’m not saying Nalby is a terrible guy, but he needs to control himself, even if he has valid reasons for being ticked off.

Wog boy Says:

Lulu Iberica,

Maybe it is frustration realising that his career is coming to an end without achieving what he could and should achieved.
Didn’t he have a big blue with umpire at AO this year for not allowing him challenge?

Colin Says:

Some unlikely people were excitable in their youth. Tim Henman was defaulted in a doubles match back in the day. Frustrated at missing a shot, he smacked the ball randomly and hit a ball kid in the face. She was quite upset. The next day he was playing singles and she was on duty again. Tim brought her a bunch of flowers and gave her a kiss, no doubt making her the envy of her schoolmates.

The Great Davy Says:

Ha ha ha, I love how the umpire just declares, “Cilic wins”. You will never see such emocean from Your Great Davy

antonio Says:

horrible. I like david a lot great game to watch. but so childish and takes little responsibility. Hopefully when he returns to argentina his father will take the strap to his ass, he needs a whipping.

madmax Says:

scineram Says:
I totally forgot that! Which year did McEnroe injure an official to bleed?

June 17th, 2012 at 5:38 pm
Mike Binstock Says:

Those McEnroe tirades did physically hurt anyone.

McEnroe was the master as to how far he could push the officials. He was only defaulted once and that was at the Aussie Open.

Scineram and Mike, I think you both miss the point. And Ben pronin, you always miss my point, but I am used to it now.

I was too young to remember the Mcenroe tantrums, but have watched them over and over and think My God, was the guy for real?

Secondly, if you watch the first youtube (I had a field day yesterday trying to find something similar), It was at 1 minute 21 seconds, of a 2 minute 47 link, Mcenroe got his racquet and smashed everything in sight. He smashed the advert, the orange juice went flying, the plastic cups hurtled through the air, smash, smash, smash, literally. It wasn’t about the linesman. There is NO WAY that Nalby meant to kick the linesman. I have watched him many times and though he has a temper, I have never seen him lash out like this, the linesman got in the way. Yes, he was sat there, but look at the racquet will you? He smashed his racquet through the advert and caught the Linesman leg.

Honestly, if anyone thought that Nalby thought to himself at that micro second moment, ‘Oh I will just hit the linesman’, then you are deluding yourself.

And the match between Mcenroe and Paes, where Mcenroe came around the other side of the net and squared up to him in a threatening way, face off, it was unbelievable, I don’t know whether that match continued.

I would love to hear from those of you who saw Mcenroe’s tantrums in the flesh. What was he really like? and how come now he has been forgiven. Was he ever fined? Warned? disqualified?

jamie Says:


madmax Says:

jamie Says:

June 18th, 2012 at 9:36 am

Your middle name Jamie?

I live for the day when you actually come on here and say anything remotely fun, positive, complimentary and likeable.

jane Says:

“LONDON (AP)—David Nalbandian has been fined the maximum $12,560 and faces a police investigation into an assault complaint after kicking an advertising board and injuring a line judge during the Queen’s Club final.

The ATP confirmed the fine for unsportsmanlike conduct on Monday. Nalbandian also was stripped of his $57,350 in prize money.

London police declined to say who made the assault complaint against Nalbandian, who was defaulted from Sunday’s match against Marin Cilic in the grass-court Wimbledon warmup event.

Any member of the public who witnessed the event in person or on television could have made a complaint, as could the line judge himself.”

grendel Says:

Pure formality – the police bit, that is. If a complaint is made, the police are obliged to acknowledge it and pretend to investigate. Happens all the time. Means essentially nothing.

jane Says:

The money is notable: fined roughly 13,000 and loses prize money of 57,000. So this incident sets him back about 70,000.

grendel Says:

And he’ll make double that 70,000 in a story with the papers. If he wants to. I imagine he’s pretty loaded. He is losing ranking points, which will annoy him certainly.

jane Says:

True: I guess it’s not a lot of $ to him.

Pili Says:


The tennis player would have never hit the umpire directly.

Pili Says:

Do you remember Nastase shooting balls against the cameras and referees?

Lulu Iberica Says:

Of course I don’t think Nalbandian hit the guy on purpose, but the point is that what he did was dangerous. I’m too young to remember what Johnny Mac or Nastase did, but I think if you cause physical harm to another person, even if unintentionally, you should be held accountable. And Nalby was held accountable. I think the punishment is appropriate, and I’m sure he will think twice before doing the same thing in the future. Even with racket smashing, what if some bit flew off and hit a ball kid in the eye and caused permanent damage? It would be an accident, but the smasher would be responsible.

madmax Says:

How can anyone think that Nalby meant to do this. Plesae everyone read this and then judge him. By the sports writer who was actually there!

Jdannybf Says:

Like they’d say in Argentina: Muchacho pendejo!

Kimberly Says:

He deserved to be defaulted. You have to be aware of your surroundings somewhat.

I know djokovic slammed the Perrier bench (best thing Perrier could ever hope for) but I bet you he wouldn’t have slammed it if someone was sitting there, or even someone behind it, he’s way too smart for that.

Totally brainless actions by nalbandian, I never thought he was the sharpest tool in the shed.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

That is really an incredible video.

The body language and interview after the fact are quite deplorable. First, he really doesn’t look like someone who just realizes he’s injured someone: the normal reaction would be a shocked rush to the injured person a hand on their shoulder, words like “Oh my god! I;m so sorry! Are you alright!” Watch the video and tell me if it looks like that’s what David is doing. Looks more like he’s leaning away from the injured person, wondering how he can get out of here incognito. And then the apology- a quick sorry and then on to how unfair this all is to him.

(and MadMax, context for a tantrum is critical. You can punch the air and no one will consider you a criminal, but if that air happens to contain a face, its a whole different story isn’t it?)


jane Says:

Putz of the week? Can we have a new category please? That’s too good to pass up. Forget funk and trunk. I want PUTZ.

Serena Says:

That line judge had it coming.

Johnny Mac Says:

That is all David did? You can’t be Serious! All umpires and line judges are putz’s! Ball girls in Madrid are cute though….

Kissmygrits Says:

The body language and interview after the fact are quite deplorable. First, he really doesn’t look like someone who just realizes he’s injured someone: the normal reaction would be a shocked rush to the injured person a hand on their shoulder, words like “Oh my god! I;m so sorry! Are you alright!” Watch the video and tell me if it looks like that’s what David is doing. Looks more like he’s leaning away from the injured person, wondering how he can get out of here incognito. And then the apology- a quick sorry and then on to how unfair this all is to him.

Actually, Nalby does try to apologize and comfort the man, repeatedly. The man however is having none of it. The line umpire’s body language is actually very confrontational. And that is when Nalbandian backs off. And since the umpire has since filed charges against Nalby now it is clear why he behaved that way. He is posturing for a payout.

I am very embarrassed for David. He behaved really poorly. I do think he intentionally kicked the umpire, because the sign was so close that you knew it would hit the person sitting there. As bad as he behaved, he does have a point about them being required to play tournaments or be fined by the ATP. It creates an environment where players are more prone to losing their cool, because they are overtired and overworked. Just think about how people complain when regular jobs require ” mandatory overtime.” The extra pay does not excuse the fact that you are being required to work. Anyway, I blush for you David. No worries though because soon enough people will be distracted with Wimbledon.

zola Says:

Nobody defends Nalby’s act. It was plain stupid. But it is quite obviously was not intentional. He just did not see the line judge at the heat of the moment. Yes, it was dangerous. He could have hurt him even worse. But I was worried even before that when Nalby was throwing his racket and he did not even get a warning. A warning could have calmed things down a bit. Now the police is involved, which is too much in my opinion. However, I agree that Nalby should seek help to control his temper.

madmax Says:

(and MadMax, context for a tantrum is critical. You can punch the air and no one will consider you a criminal, but if that air happens to contain a face, its a whole different story isn’t it?)

TV and Kimberley, what he did was wrong, but you cannot say he intended to injure the linesman! Come on! What Serena did at USO was far more serious. She threatened the lineswoman. Go figure.

He isn’t a gentleman, Nalby. He reacted. He aimed for the the billboard, Simple as that. Don’t make it more than what it is.

MMT Says:

I think the decision to default Nalbandian was spot on. I also think it is irrelevant whether he intended to injure the linesman. The “criminal” investigation seems a bit much, but is probably something that has to be done by law when a complaint is made, and any idiot that attended the match could have made the complaint. I don’t think anything will come of it.

Nalbandian could be in more trouble than we think with the ATP – he has already been fined for his outbursts in Australia during and after the match with Isner. Apparently he was fined for throwing water at an employee of the tournament(to say nothing of the very dangerous racquet throwing he was doing during the match, which ironically went unpunished). Now he could be facing a ban from the ATP for multiple incidents, and I don’t think it would be unwarranted or unreasonable.

I am also troubled by his initial reaction to the whole thing – he seemed to be droning on about the ATP rules and being forced to sign agreeing to the rules in order to play, and being pressured into playing a lot of tournaments, etc. That pressure exists for every other player on tour, so this is no explanation for losing it on court and injuring an official.

You hear a lot of excuses when a player does something that gets him in hot water – he’s under pressure, or it was unintentional, etc. But while you consider the exception’s particular case, ask yourself what would happen if all players behaved this way? Wouldn’t it be chaos? Is it fair to all the other players that they do the right thing to let him off the hook?

I don’t think so.

MMT Says:

Madmax: I never saw a McEnroe tantrum in the flesh, but I can tell you that the incident in Stockholm in 1984 resulted in a TWO-MONTH suspension (and rightly so). I agree that THAT incident (and only that one) was worse than Nalbandian’s because it went on and on and he really could have hurt someone, and was just lucky that he didn’t. But to answer your question, McEnroe was suspended for 2 months as a result of that (and other violations during the year) and I would say Nalbandian deserves EXACTLY the same thing.

The second issue is completely irrelevant to Nalbandian. The problem is not players getting angry – that is a natural human response. The problem is succumbing to that anger and doing violent and dangerous things, like throwing a racquet, or hitting a ball into the crowd, or threatening officials – that’s risky behavior because if everyone did it all the time, the tennis court would (ironically) become a very dangerous place!

Losing one’s temper is normal, but doing violent things around the court is totally different and ought to be treated harshly, otherwise things will escalate and get worse. Imagine if it was a kid and the gash was on his face? A stop has to be put this kind of behavior.

Chico Says:

A police investigation can also have been called for by a Nalbandian supporter. In this investigation questions like intention, victimization and possible missbuilding of the broken adboard will go under scrutiny. From there the magnitude of the fine can be further investigated. The ATP has no legal jurisdiction, it is an organisation who help the players turn their self developed skill into money. As such they can impose rules over their members, but are still not above the law. Nalby had allready given fans enjoyment and worked his profession for four rounds before the final, thus giving the tournament organisers their moneys worth.

Nalbandian might feel a bit out of place. ATP stands for Tennis Professionals, and when you do something professionally, that usually means that you are 100% concentrating on being in total control of what you are doing. Nalby happens to be so talented that he can probably achieve what he feels is enough without flying around the world 24/7. Probably would be happy with playing just the closest tournaments, with minimum fuzz. Who knows, maybe he cares for the environment or is just laid back in that way. Whatever the reason, you tend to think that he should have the choice. According to what he said in the “apology”, he does not.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

MadMax, of course he didn’t intend to hurt the line judge, if he had he would be thrown in jail. But doing something irresponsible that results in bodily harm is always taken more seriously than if no harm is done. See, eg. vehicular manslaughter. If you disagree with this principle, you will find much of the world’s judicial systems perplexing.

Fatty lost his temper. Someone got hurt. Fatty get time out.

The Great Davy Says:

The Fatso could learn a lesson from Your Great Davy. Emoceanless tennis is a good tennis. You will never lose to a player with the passion. And you will never make blood appear. If you have to make a blood appear do it like my friend Mikhail.

My buddy Mikhail is a nuthead, btw.

Margot Says:

Was at Queens and saw Nalby play an earlier match. While he was losing, he was very grumpy and bad tempered, arguing with the ref. stomping around, flinging racquet etc. All stopped when his game improved, *surprised* face. Perhaps he just hates British weather and who can blame him?
TV, “fatty” he ain’t any more. In fact I was struck by how skinny and tall they all are. Stood next to Querry and Cilic and my, my, their heads are in the clouds.
Was glad Marin won, not like this obviously, he is a doll :) Wished him good luck and got such a sweet, shy smile in return.
But girls, girls, awful news from the front line….Deliciano has scrawny legs. Am still in shock…Gin, Gin…. ;)
Liked Queens, yes it’s full of Hooray Henries quaffing their champagne in the hospitality suites, but you can easily avoid them and you do get up close and very personal to the players and the matches. In that respect felt like the Wimbledon of yesteryear.

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