Tennis is a gentleman's sport, especially at this time of year with prestigious Wimbledon right around the corner. That generally means hurting the judges is frowned upon.
OK, well that's frowned upon in any sport, not just tennis.
David Nalbandian now knows that all too well after he lost his cool in the final of the Aegon Championships in London this weekend and responded to a missed shot by kicking a courtside ad. The problem is there was a judge sitting right behind it and Nalbandian's kick sent the board crashing into the judge's shin, opening up a cut.
The result was an automatic disqualification for Nalbandian, giving the title to Marin Cilic, and a withholding of Nalbandian's purse money for being the runner-up. Next could actually be criminal charges. No really, actual criminal charges.
"We are aware of an incident at the Aegon Championships," the London Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Monday. "A complaint has been made and the Metropolitan Police Service is now investigating. The allegation is of assault."
I'm shocked. Well OK, not really shocked based on how sue-happy people are these days, but that's just silly. What Nalbandian did was bad and he deserves to be called all of the mean names you want to use to describe his actions here like idiot, but criminal? Please, spare us.
Maybe I'm naive, but I watch that and give Nalbandian the benefit of the doubt. What he did was stupid but I don't think it was intentional. I sincerely doubt he planned to bloody the side judge's shin with a kick off the boards. Nor did he inflict any more damage than a kid falling on the playground at recess in elementary school.
Really, this seems pretty comparable to the Serena Williams situation at the U.S. Open last year. You'll recall Serena was fined $2,000 for verbally threatening one of the judges who called her for a foot fault on a serve. It was a silly emotional outburst and the punishment they faced both in the match and from the governing tennis bodies was enough. No need for the police to get involved here.
Next thing you know somebody will complain about the coffee they got being too hot. Wait a sec ...