Top 10 Angry Tennis Player Outbursts

As tennis fans we can become used to seeing the professionals play the game with a certain level of serenity and calmness.

This is common because of the level of competition they play at.

After all, there is a lot of prize money, ranking points and career status at stage in virtually every match these players play.

It can sometimes be unrelatable seeing the professionals play with such focus and intensity, which makes it even more refreshing to see them lose their cool!

Whilst we don’t see angry outbursts from players very often, when they get riled up and lose their temper it can make for very entertaining viewing!

Given the amount of pressure that top players compete under, they can certainly be forgiven for letting their frustrations out on the court from time to time.

After all, they are only human.

We have seen some outrageous outbursts over the years, even up to the top ranked players in the world.

Whilst these are not moments that we would advocate young players to copy, we do find them entertaining nonetheless!

So, let’s take a look at some of the most furious tennis moments of all time.

The Top 10 Angry Tennis Player Outbursts

John McEnroe Wimbledon 1981

During his third round match at the 1981 Wimbledon championships, John McEnroe produced arguably the most famous angry outburst in sporting history.

This moment transcended tennis and has become one of the most iconic sporting catchphrases ever.

McEnroe was not afraid to challenge umpires, line judges or even his opponents throughout his career, but on this occasion he really went to town.

McEnroe hit a serve that he believed was in (there was a clear indication from chalk flying from the court surface), yet the umpire called the ball out.

Clearly outraged, McEnroe uttered the famous line “You cannot be serious! That ball was on the line!”.

Johnny Mac had clearly seen red at this point and would not back down from his position.

The umpire tried to contest his point, but McEnroe ranted on. This really was one of the most iconic sporting moments of all time, it’s just a shame it was all over a bad line call!

Grigor Dimitrov Istanbul 2016

Grigor Dimitrov is not afraid to show his emotions on the tennis court, both positive and negative.

During the final of the Istanbul Open in 2016, the Bulgarian produced one of the most spectacular finishes to a tennis match we have ever seen.

However, rather than producing an outrageous winner, Dimitrov was disqualified from the match after smashing a total of three rackets to pieces!

He was incredibly frustrated throughout the match, after he and his opponent Diego Schwartzman had split the first two sets, both being won on tie breaks.

However, Dimitrov then made a string of unforced errors and the final set quickly started to run away from him.

With Schwartzman 5-0 up in the third set and on the brink of victory, Dimitrov decided to finish the match on his terms by destroying another racket, knowing he would receive a final code violation that would disqualify him from the match.

What a strange way to bow out of a tournament!

Fernando Gonzalez Miami Open 2007

During his match with Radek Stepanek at the 2007 Miami Open, hot-headed Fernando Gonzalez did not hold back in sending a furious message to his opponent.

Gonzalez was serving and Stepanek was taking a long time to get ready, which clearly goes against the rule of ‘play to the server’s pace.

This had clearly been going on throughout the match (even though it was in the early stages) and Gonzalez had had enough.

After complaining to the umpire, the Chilean decided to take matters into his own hands.

He bombed down a serve which Stepanek only just got a racket on and pushed over the net.

The ball was high enough for a smash, and Fernando took his chance! He smashed the ball directly at Stepanek, hitting him on the backside!

This was a nasty move that sent the message that Fernando did not want to be messed with anymore!

Nick Kyrgios Cincinnati 2019

Nick Kyrgios is known for being one of the most outspoken and hot headed tennis players on the tour, but at the 2019 Cincinnati Open he took things to a whole new level.

He was playing Karen Khachanov, a reasonably well mannered tennis player that likes to keep things simple on the court.

However, Nick was in a very bad mood thanks to a few altercations with the chair umpire.

He was seen to be mouthing off throughout the match, shouting ‘this is the worst ref ever!’ on multiple occasions.

Nick even went so far as to take two of his rackets off the court and smash them in the changing room, so as to avoid a code violation.

This was one of the most foul mouthed and petulant outbursts we have ever seen, especially given it spanned across the whole match!

Nick Kyrgios Rome 2019

In what seemed like a reasonably well natured affair at first, Nick Kyrgios again saw red, this time at the 2019 Rome Masters.

The Aussie then saw some spectators walking and talking whilst he was serving.

This clearly distracted Kyrgios and he couldn not contain his frustration.

He was seen shouting expletives at the crowd, before smashing his racket and throwing a chair across the court!

This unsurprisingly resulted in Nick being defaulted from the match and soon after went viral on social media.

David Nalbandian Queens 2012

After being a set up against hard-hitting Croat Marin Cilic in the 2012 Queens final, David Nalbandian vented his frustrations in a very unfortunate manner.

The Argentine missed a forehand on the stretch and kicked out at the boardings surrounding a line judge’s chair.

Horrifyingly, the board collapsed and was sent flying into the line judge’s leg, causing him to sustain a nasty cut.

Fortunately, the line judge was okay in the end, but this incident meant only one thing for Nalbandian. Instant disqualification.

Novak Djokovic Shanghai 2015

The 2015 Shanghai Masters saw Novak Djokovic reach boiling point against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, as he was outraged by an overrule by the umpire.

Early in the second set, a ball was called out late and Djokovic did not attempt to make a play, only for the umpire to give the point to his opponent.

Djokovic contested that he clearly had the ability to hit the ball back if he wanted to, but the umpire claimed the call came after Novak would have hit his shot (and the line judge later corrected his call).

In the very next game, Tsonga hit a slice backhand that was then challenged and ended up being on the line.

Djokovic again had a clear play on the ball so could have easily returned the shot.

However, the umpire again gave the point to Tsonga. This infuriated Djokovic and sent him on a rant throughout the whole change of ends!

Serena Williams US Open

During her defeat to Naomi Osaka in the 2018 US Open final, Serena Williams produced one of the most shocking outbursts we have ever seen.

The chair umpire had claimed she had received coaching from her player’s box, and subsequently gave her a code violation.

However, Serena strongly contested this and claimed she would never cheat in a match. She clearly has bad luck with her outbursts at the US Open!

Victor Troicki Wimbledon 2016

In his match against Ramos-Vinolas at the 2016 Wimbledon championships, Victor Troicki let out a scream as the umpire overruled a serve that he believed to be clearly out.

Troicki is known for his on-court outbursts, and this was one of his finest!

He grabbed the ball and urged the umpire to look at it, indicating there was no chalk on it and it must have therefore been well wide of the line.

His screams could be heard all around the grounds!

Novak Djokovic French Open 2018

During his loss to Marco Cecchinato at the 2018 French Open, Novak Djokovic led out an almighty plea to the Parisian crowd to remain quiet during the points.

Djokovic was playing a crucial point in the fourth set when a spectator called out just as he was about to strike a forehand approach shot.

He then shanked the ball way up into the crowd, causing him to scream and put a finger to his mouth, urging the crowd to keep quiet.

Djokovic would go on to lose the match and give one of the most abrupt press conferences we have ever seen.

What’s Your Favourite Angry Tennis Player Outburst?

Overall, whilst we love the professionalism that top tennis players bring to the court, we are always entertained by their on-court outburst!

There have been a number of high-profile players that have let their frustrations get the better of them, and they make for some of the most angry moments in the sport!

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