Novak Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open: but he is not the first in a Grand Slam tournament. Stars like John McEnroe and Tim Henman did it the same way – the reasons ranged from curious to scandalous.
A careless ball by Novak Djokovic, who hit the larynx of a line judge with full force, disqualified the world’s number one. But even in the past, angry and emotional appearances have also meant the departure of tennis superstars.
In the Davis Cup, for example, Denis Shapovalov nearly shot the referee out of his seat, David Nalbandian kicked a linesman’s shin gory, and Nick Kyrgios threw a chair on the field – here’s a rundown of the most spectacular dropouts in Grand history. Slam:
US OPEN, EIGHTH FINALS, 2020
Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
The Shame of Flushing Meadows. The first time it goes well: Djokovic furiously shoots a ball against the side barrier, he cannot catch spectators because they are not there due to the pandemic. But then the world’s number one, the big tournament favorite, wants to “throw” a ball by turning it away – he hits a linesman in the neck. After ten minutes of discussion, Djokovic realizes he has been disqualified. He escapes without saying a word and later writes on Instagram: “I’m so sorry.”
Scandal at the US Open: Novak Djokovic shot a linesman at the US Open and was disqualified for it. (Source: Omnisport)
FRENCH OPEN, ROUND 2, 2000
Stefan Koubek (Austria)
Actually, Stefan Koubek is known for another incident. In 2010, he strangled his opponent Daniel Köllerer in the Austrian Bundesliga match between TC Gleisdorf and UTC Strasbourg after a series of mutual “insults”, as they say. Reason: “I’m man enough not to be insulted.” Ten years earlier, in Paris, Koubek threw his racket and accidentally hit a ball boy. Not even better.
Stefan Koubek: The Austrian threw his racket at the French Open in 2000 and hit a ball boy – that ended the tournament for him. (Source: Claus Bergmann / image images)
FRENCH OPEN, ROUND 1, 1995
Carsten Arriens (Germany)
Many years later, Carsten Arriens will reach the far less spirited Davis Cup team boss, on the field he is a hot offshoot with a total of four disqualifications – a record. Against New Zealander Brett Stevens, he throws his bat into the net in Paris, for which he is warned, throws the bat in the direction of his chair and hits a linesman in the ankle. An inglorious aftertaste.
Carsten Arriens: The German hit a linesman in the ankle during the French Open in 1995 when he threw his bat away. (Source: Claus Bergmann / image images)
WIMBLEDON, ROUND 3, 1995
Jeff Tarango (USA)
Tarango slowly gets into his anger in 13th place. Then he panics. “Shut up!”, He shouts to the audience during his match against Alexander Mronz. Referee Bruno Rebeuh is right: “You are the most corrupt man in tennis!” When the Frenchman deducts a point for the second time, Tarango shouts, “No way! That’s it!” He packs his bag – and leaves. His wife Benedicte will later hit Rebeuh in the hall: “He deserved a lesson.”
Jeff Tarango: At a tournament in 2017 he was just as lively as at Wimbledon in 1995. At the time, even his wife hit the referee. (Source: Action Plus / Image Images)
WIMBLEDON, DOUBLE, ROUND 1, 1995
Tim Henman / Jeremy Bates (Great Britain)
Jeff Tarango is on the right side of the net this time. Henman, later the hero of the British, who is passed by a net scooter and angrily hits a ball, is completely different. “I still checked to see if the linesmen were not in the way,” he later apologized. Not out of the way is the shocked ball girl Caroline Hall, who gets the ball to her ear from a very short distance. Nevertheless, the audience is not cheering on Henman, but referee Alan Mills.
Tim Henman: When he was only 21, the Englishman shocked a ball girl when she was hit by his blow. (Source: Mary Evans / Image Images)
AUSTRALIAN OPEN, EIGHTH FINALES, 1990
John McEnroe (USA)
McEnroe takes three balls against Mikael Pernfors and juggles them with a menacing look right in front of a linesman. He chops up his racket and eventually insults the referee and the tournament director. At the disqualification he looks surprised: he had not read the rule changes. Shortly before, the disqualification limit had been reduced to three warnings. McEnroe: “Now I know.”
John McEnroe at the Australian Open: McEnroe left the Australian Open court in 1990 after being disqualified. (Source: Bildbryan / Image Images)
Djokovic submits himself to this series with his freak out and will remain in memory for the time being.