x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Marcos Baghdatis meltdown a case of frustration getting too much

As footage of his racquet-breaking tirade became a sensation around the Internet, Marcos Baghdatis, beaten in four sets at the Australian Open, is fined by officials for 'abuse of racquets and equipment'.

Marcos Baghdatis and four of his racquets had an argument during his ouster at the Australian Open. The racquets lost the argurment. Baghdatis lost the match.
Marcos Baghdatis and four of his racquets had an argument during his ouster at the Australian Open. The racquets lost the argurment. Baghdatis lost the match.

Whack. Whack, whack, whack. Whack. Whack.

Four broken rackets, US$1,250 (Dh4,591) worth of fines and more than 200,000 hits on video-sharing website YouTube was all it needed for Marcos Baghdatis to enter Australian Open folklore.

Footage of the 26 year old's spectacular display of fury and pique in his second-round loss to Stanislas Wawrinka on Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne was broadcast around the world on television on Wednesday before it went viral Thursday.

The Cypriot, taken to heart by Australians during his run to the final in 2006, did not even bother to take two of his rackets out of their plastic wrappers as he threw them forcibly to the ground.

As footage of the tirade was being viewed around the globe, Baghdatis, beaten in four sets, was fined by the tournament referee for "abuse of rackets and equipment".

"I haven't seen that," Novak Djokovic, the Australian Open champion, said. "I heard about it. I haven't seen that. I'm going to go to YouTube now, check that out."

While Baghdatis's 30-second outburst of incandescent rage actually helped him temporarily turn around his performance before Wawrinka won their encounter in four sets, other players at Melbourne Park had different feelings on the matter.

"I'm not surprised that he broke a racket," said Maria Sharapova, the women's fourth seed, whose own expletive-riddled outbursts against umpires and crowds have ended up on the video sharing website.

"Personally, I haven't broken too many in my career. Don't recall breaking one during a match. [I] have broken a couple at practice. Um, but must be a good feeling. I mean, yeah, just let it all go, I guess."

Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion who acknowledged she had smashed a few of her own rackets in her time, expressed a veiled admiration for Baghdatis's effort.

"I do smash rackets sometimes. Last time I smashed not as many, but I smashed three rackets. That was US Open 2009 I think," she said.

"I lost [the] match after being a match point up. I was quite upset [but] it didn't really make me better, so I decided, what's the point?"

Serena Williams, the five-time Australian Open champion, also expressed some admiration at Baghdatis's ability to go through four rackets in quick succession.

"I've never done that. That's impressive, wow," said Williams, who has fallen foul of authorities at recent US Open tournaments for her rants against the umpiring.

"I actually used to break a lot of rackets on the court. I sometimes break them in practice, just not in a match anymore.

"I think when you're young it kind of maybe lets out a little frustration. It's just a way to express yourself. I can't necessarily go and say you shouldn't do that when I was actually someone that did it a lot.

"But it's definitely not the best way to release your anger. I think the older you get, you realise there's more different ways."

Djokovic, whose own tempestuous behaviour earlier in his career was as well known as his talent, broke his racket in rage against Baghdatis at Wimbledon last year.

"I'm not doing it as often, which is good for my coach," Djokovic said. "But when I have a smash of the racket, I usually feel relieved afterwards. I feel that the pressure is out. But a bit embarrassed, as well. So I try to hold my composure."

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the sixth seed from France, said: "You know, sometimes you get angry and it's difficult to control yourself. But, I mean, one, it can happen. Four, it's a lot," the Frenchman said.

"Sometimes you get angry and it's difficult to control yourself but my father told me all the time, 'if you broke the racket, I broke you'. So I go easy with the racket."

Baghdatis is not the first player to erupt with anger on court, but he follows in some illustrious footsteps.

Goran Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, had to default from a tournament in England in 2000 when he mangled three rackets - and then realised he had none left to play with.

"I thought I'd only need three because I'm not going to win," he said at the time.

Marat Safin, the Russian, once estimated that he had destroyed about 700 rackets in his 12-year career due to his notorious temper.

The 2005 Australian champion said of his destructive habit: "Luckily I get them for free."


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