x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Police launch Nalbandian probe after Queen's 'assault'

Investigation into alleged assault launched after line judge is injured when Argentine kicked advertising hoarding.

David Nalbandian looks on after being disqualified for causing an injury to the line judge at Queen's Club.
David Nalbandian looks on after being disqualified for causing an injury to the line judge at Queen's Club.

LONDON // Police are investigating a complaint of alleged assault against David Nalbandian after a line judge was injured when the tennis player kicked an advertising hoarding.

Scotland Yard said a complaint had been made following an incident in the AEGON Championships final yesterday.

A spokesman said: "We are aware of an incident at the AEGON Championships on June 17.

"A complaint has been made and the Metropolitan Police Service is now investigating."The allegation is of assault."

The player already faces a possible lengthy ban from tennis after the incident, which resulted in his sensational disqualification from the final at Queen's Club.

The 30-year-old was defaulted from the final after angrily kicking an advertising board which left line judge Andrew McDougall with a gashed and bloodied leg.

Nalbandian, who had won the first set 7-6 (7/3) against Croatia's Marin Cilic, had just lost his serve to fall 4-3 down in the second when he reacted with a frustrated kick at the board in front of line judge Andrew McDougall.

A stunned and angry McDougall then rolled up his trousers to reveal a bloody gash on his leg before remonstrating with Nalbandian.

Nalbandian was immediately disqualified "due to unsportsmanlike behaviour" and Cilic was declared the champion.

The Argentine was stripped of his runners-up cheque, worth 44,945 euros (Dh209,800), and the 150 ATP ranking points he would have earned as a beaten finalist.

The former Wimbledon finalist now faces a potential fine and an eight-week ban, having already been punished this season for throwing water at an Australian Open tournament worker in January.

Having already apologised on court for his actions, Nalbandian issued a further statement through the ATP late Sunday in an effort to limit the damage just a week ahead of Wimbledon.

"I never intended to hit him (the line judge), it was an unfortunate reaction in which I wanted to let off steam after losing a point," he said.

"I had the opportunity to personally apologise to the line umpire for this regrettable act that I am fully responsible for."

Although Nalbandian was contrite about the actual incident, he had also vented his frustrations at the ATP.

He claimed officials impose too many rules on players, including asking them to play in the kind of slippery conditions that have been commonplace over the last few days at Queen's, a traditional warm-up event for Wimbledon.

Nalbandian risked getting in more trouble as he said: "Everybody makes mistakes, right? When somebody else does a mistake, they have to pay in the same way, but the players don't feel that happens much, especially with ATP.

"In the beginning of the year you have to sign that you agree with everything that the ATP says. And sometimes you don't. And if you don't want to sign, you cannot play ATP tournaments.

"Sometimes the ATP put a lot of pressure on the players, and sometimes you get injured because you play on dangerous surface and nothing happens."

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