x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

David Nalbandian's 'mistake' is no great surprise

The Argentine's career has a history of feuds and fines that support his reputation for being prickly and disputatious.

Police are investigating a complaint of alleged assault against David Nalbandian.
Police are investigating a complaint of alleged assault against David Nalbandian.

David Nalbandian is not the gentlest soul in the ATP. Actually, he has a reputation for being prickly and disputatious, and he has the history of feuds and fines to prove it. But not even close followers of the Argentine's career could have predicted his fate at the Queen's Club.

In the final of the Aegon Championships, a frustrated Nalbandian kicked a wooden barrier demarking the station of a line judge. A piece of wood broke off, struck the judge on the shin and caused bleeding.

With Nalbandian leading 7-6, 3-4, the match was halted and awarded to Marin Cilic. ATP rules stipulate that any violent action will result in an automatic default. He is also facing a possible police assault charge in England.

Nalbandian suggested, and not for the first time, that he was a victim of ATP persecution.

"Sometimes you get really frustrated on court and it's tough to control that, and sometimes I do a mistake," he said in English. "So it's very tough to end a final like that. But sometimes we feel so much pressure from the ATP to play a lot of tournaments. They don't do anything for us, and today I do a mistake and have to pay like that.

"I agree I do a mistake but sometimes everybody do a mistake, and I didn't feel it had to end like that, especially in a final."

The rules are not made for flouting in finals, and it is difficult to recall when a player was disqualified for injuring a judge. That David Nalbandian was involved is no great surprise.