LONDON - Agence France-Presse
David Nalbandian (L) looks as a line judge shows his injury after he kicked a hoarding during the Queen’s Club final. Furious Argentine may pay for his reaction. REUTERS photo
Police are investigating a complaint of alleged assault against Argentina’s David Nalbandian after a line judge was injured when the tennis player kicked an advertising hoarding.
The 30-year-old was defaulted from the Queen’s Club final in west London on June 17 for angrily kicking an advertising board at line judge Andrew McDougall which left the official suffering a gashed and bloodied leg.
Scotland Yard 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.”
Nalbandian, who had won June 17’s 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, which was just in front of McDougall.
A stunned and angry McDougall then rolled up his trousers to reveal a bloody gash on his leg before remonstrating with Nalbandian.
Officials immediately disqualified Nalbandian “due to unsportsmanike behaviour” and Cilic was declared the champion of the ATP grasscourt event, a warm-up for Wimbledon, which starts next week. Nalbandian was stripped of his runners-up cheque, worth 44,945 euros, and 150 ATP ranking points.
But he could also face an eight-week ban having also been fined $8,000 for throwing water at an Australian Open tournament worker in January following a five-set defeat by America’s John Isner.
Having already apologized on court, Nalbandian issued a further statement through the ATP.
“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. I personally apologized to the line umpire for this regrettable act that I am fully responsible for.”
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.
“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.”