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Monday, June 18, 2012

Aegon Finals won by default – antics of David Nalbandian gifts match away



When emotion reigns; reason resigns ……………….. People often tend to display emotions – you have seen Harbhajan celebrate taking a wicket, Aussies bullying opponents and there is also the ice-cool Dhoni.   Strong emotions are both a cause of, and a result of conflict. People in conflict may have a variety of strong, and often negative emotions--anger, distrust, disappointment, frustration, confusion, worry, or fear. – and how much emotion can ruin a person was amply demonstrated at Queens Club.  The  AEGON Championship has been dogged by poor weather and unscheduled exits by its biggest stars, still a blood-spattered end was totally unexpected by any stretch of imagination.  Frayed tempers are not totally new – there have been Ilie Nastase. John McEnroe and more.  – still this sort of an event is unheard of !

Tennis is an affable sport and players are sportive….. one thought so ! – the  Queen's Club Championships is an annual tournament for male tennis players, held on grass courts at the Queen's Club in West Kensington, London. Originally known as the London Grass Court Championships, the tournament traces back to 1884 ; between 1970 and 1989 it was part of the Grand Prix tennis circuit. The event is now an ATP World Tour 250 series tournament on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour.  From  2009 the tournament is known as  the AEGON Championships following a comprehensive sponsorship deal between Lawn Tennis Association and AEGON.  Outside Wimbledon, this is the grass-court tournament with the largest draw size. In addition, it enjoys full coverage on the BBC in the UK, and was shown in High Definition for the first time in 2009.

This year it was prospering so find Grigor Dimitrov captured the hearts of the public after the exit of top seeds Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but his  fairytale run came to an end after he was beaten in the semi-finals by 10th seed David Nalbandian.  Despite being nine years  older Nalbandian showed impressive agility and power to set up a showdown against sixth seed Marin Cilic in Sunday's final.  In Saturday's other semi-final Cilic beat 2010 champion Sam Querrey 6-3 3-6 6-3. Cilic survived nine break points in the first set to move ahead, but Querrey broke his 6ft 6in opponent twice in the second in what was also a poor quality encounter. Perhaps Nalbandian was the favourite to win – but the result of the finals was determined by a  bizarre event.

David Pablo Nalbandian (born 1982) , an Argentine player is a fiery competitor who for years has vied for the unwanted title of 'best player never to win a major'. He reached the Wimbledon final  in 2002 when just 20, losing to Lleyton Hewitt and has made $11million (about £7m) in prize money and was world No 3 six years ago.

The match did not last till its final moment as the challenger was defaulted because of Unsportsmanlike Conduct.  The Argentine was in fact leading by a set and trailing 3-4 when he kicked an advertising board in frustration at losing a point, injuring a line judge sitting nearby.  ATP World Tour Supervisor Tom Barnes was called to the court and ruled that the offence was an automatic disqualification for Nalbandian.  The line judge received  treatment from Ambulance and saw the Tournament Medical Team. No further treatment was required.  Barnes said: “It is unsportsmanlike conduct, and the supervisor has the authority to declare an immediate default. Once I saw that the line judge was injured, I didn't have any other option.”  Tournament Director Chris Kermode said: “It is obviously not the way that we wanted to finish the final and I can understand the crowd’s frustration, but the tournament is governed by ATP rules and this was a clear-cut case.

Reports have it that Marin Cilic  made a return of serve wide to Nalbandian's right, the Argentinian lunged for the ball and the forehand shot flew long at the other end.  Nalbandian kept running towards the baseline judge, launched a furious kick at the box in which the line judge’s chair was placed.  Of the impact the plywoods shattered, shards flew into Andrew MacDougall's left shin as he recoiled in agony.  Nalbandian  apologized, but things had occurred and it was too late;  the Tournament officials were summoned who awarded the game by default.  
photo courtesy : www.dailymail.co.uk

Many in the crowd roared their disapproval of the sudden halt to a final that was brewing up nicely, with Nalbandian having taken the first set on a tiebreak but 4-3 down in the second against towering Croat Marin Cilic. Yet the bleeding injuries to the  line judge Andrew MacDougall  did not offer much options to the Organisers.  

Nalbandian sat fuming while a bemused Cilic lifted the enormous trophy. There was no presentation to Nalbandian, despite him making the final. He left with nothing. No ranking points, nor the £36,144 prize money for the runner-up, and he is likely to be a net loser with a maximum $10,000 fine possibly levied for what the rulebook defines as 'unsportsmanlike conduct'.  Theoretically, he could be suspended, too.  There are also comments that such hurting was not intentional and perhaps Nalbandian could play once again later in his career.  The player was contrite later, saying: 'I make a mistake and I apologise. I felt very sorry for the guy but sometimes you get angry and cannot control it.' He accused the ATP Tour of failing to support the players in other areas and of being dictatorial, something else for which he might end up getting fined.  Controversies are not entirely new for him as earlier he was fined $8,000 for throwing water at an Australian Open tournament worker in January following a five-set defeat to America's John Isner, known for his marathon games.  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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