Including one of these men, but which?
It’s always a complete joy to hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, and today, after a very placid 2009 tournament, Rory looks back on some angry highlights from Wimbledons gone by. He had this to say…
Ever notice how tennis players are just way too well-behaved these days? Well, cast your mind back to these, the best Wimbledon tantrums of all time. Even Tim Henman gets a look-in…
1. Jeff Tarango, Wimbledon ’95
If John McEnroe was master at delivering a line and working the crowd, Jeff Tarango was the complete opposite. His 1995 meltdown was a perfect lesson in how to alienate an entire crowd with the most pathetic, childish outburst. After the umpire Bruno Rebeuh made a series of decision he disagreed with, Tarango refused to continue. Storming off the court, he screamed: “That’s it, I’m not playing”, before turning to Rebeuh and yelling: “You are one of the most corrupt officials in the game and you cannot get away with this.” He then made matters worse by shouting at the crowd to “shut up” when they jeered him off the court. It didn’t end there though – as he was leaving, his wife Benedicte decided to get a taste, walking over to the umpire and slapping him in the face.
2. Greg Rusedski, Wimbledon ’03
Poor ol’ Greg. Tiger Tim had everything – the hill, the legions of Henmaniacs with their feeble “come on Tim” cries, the fist-pump, even a Persil ad campaign. What did Greg get? Hordes of people queuing up to question his right to represent GB. No wonder he snapped while playing American Andy Roddick at Wimbledon ’93. When a spectator (probably one of Timmy’s fans) called “out” during a rally and the umpire refused to replay the point, Greg let it all come flooding out. “I can’t do anything if the fucking crowd calls it. It’s absolutely fucking ridiculous. It’s frigging ridiculous. Some wanker in the crowd changed the whole match and you allowed it to happen. Well done. Absolute shit.” Note the great use of the word “wanker” in attempt to bloster his British credentials there.
3. John McEnroe, Wimbledon ’81
This one was never in doubt – Interestment‘s favourite afro-sporting, racquet-smasher and poop-mouth extraordinaire, Johnny Mac. If Mac was the King of the tennis tantrum, then Wimbledon ’81 was certainly his crowning glory. It’s tempting to dismiss him as little more than shouty buffoon but that’s to miss out on the fact that there was a definite artistry to the way he dlivered his expetive-ridden tirades. His first ’81 blow-up came in his second round match against fellow American Tom Gullikson and resulted in his most oft-quoted monologue. Outraged by a dubious line-call, he erupted at umpire Ted James: “You cannot be serious! That ball was on the line! Chalk flew up. It was clearly in. How can you possibly call that out? He was walking over, everybody knows it’s in in the whole stadium. And you call it out? Explain that to me!” he finished off with the disimissal: “You guys are the absolute pits of the world, you know that?” You’d think that would have been enough for one tournament. Not so. A few days later, he branded another umpire “an incompetent fool” receiving a $1,500 fine for his troubles. See him in full flow here.
4. Tim Henman, Wimbledon ’95
Tarango-gate should have been enough controversy for one year, but then the Tigerish one had to go and get involved. That’s right – unlikely as it seems, Timmy H made himself the first player in 120 years to be disqualified from Wimbledon when he smashed a ball into a ball-girl’s face after losing his temper and hitting it away in disgust. He apologised with flowers from Sainsburys.