There are some new inclusions in the list of top tennis tantrums.
There are some new inclusions in the list of top tennis tantrums.

Blood and tears: Most memorable tennis tantrums

ALEXANDER Zverev and Pablo Carreno Busta are the front-runners for tantrum of the tournament at the 2019 Australian Open.

Zverev had an on-court meltdown of incredible proportions in his straight-sets defeat to Milos Ronis, smashing his racquet nine times and utterly destroying it.

Not to be outdone, Busta was booed off court after an epic tantrum which began with him hurling his bag and screaming at the umpire and ended with the Spaniard in near tears.

We have seen it plenty of times over the years

So, from John McEnroe's 'you cannot be serious' outburst in 1981, David Nalbandian leaving a line judge with a gash in his leg in 2012 and Serena Williams' unforgettable meltdown at the 2018 US Open



The Argentine became a household name after this incident which saw him thrown out of Queen's in 2012. A set up against Marin Cilic in the tournament final, Nalbandian's reaction to dropping serve in the second set was nothing short of stunning. He kicked an advertising board at line judge Andrew McDougall which left the him with a gashed and bloodied leg.

David Nalbandian (L) speaks to injured line judge Andrew McDougall
David Nalbandian (L) speaks to injured line judge Andrew McDougall

JOHN McENROE: Wimbledon 1981

You can't have a top tennis tantrums list without this man and his infamous "You cannot be serious" tantrum from his first round match against Tom Gullikson at Wimbledon 1981.

Not content a short outburst after the chair umpire called a ball out, McEnroe continued with "That ball was on the line! Chalk flew up! It was clearly in! You guys are the absolute pits of the world". The now iconic video has become one of the most imitated sporting moments.


In September last year, Williams launched an astonishing verbal attack on chair umpire Carlos Ramos as she crashed to a shock 6-2, 6-4 defeat by Osaka in the women's final.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion was given three code violations by Ramos, the first for receiving coaching, the second for racket abuse and the third for verbal abuse of the umpire.

Williams had demanded an apology from Ramos during her rant and later called the punishment "sexist", while claiming she was fighting for women's rights because male players got away with similar antics.

Williams has been relatively restrained at the Australian Open. Photo by William West/AFP.
Williams has been relatively restrained at the Australian Open. Photo by William West/AFP.

Williams, who was aiming to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam titles, refused to shake hands with Ramos after the match.

Her $17,000 fine for the code violations, imposed by the United States Tennis Association, will be deducted from the $1.85 million prize she received as the runner-up to Osaka.

Not the first time she had a meltdown at her home slam, remember when she said this to a lineswoman in 2009?

"I swear to God I'm going to take this ball and shove it down your f***ing throat, you hear that? I swear to God."

That's what you get when you call Serena Williams up on a foot fault.

MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: Miami Masters 2008

This was one bloody mess of a tantrum. At the 2008 Miami Masters, the Russian's reaction to a poorly executed backhand was jaw-dropping.

Taking his mistake out on himself, Youzhny smashed his racquet into his forehead three times before having to call for his towel to stem the bleeding.

Showing little regret for his outburst, Youzhny was patched up, got a fresh racquet and went onto win the match.

It's not the first time Youzhny took things out on his racquet , just have a look at what this one was put through at the French Open in 2013.


There's something about Miami that seems to bring out the worst in people, and the 2005 edition of the tournament was no different.

This truly unbelievable behaviour from Xavier Malisse earned the Belgian a four week ban and immediate disqualification from the tournament.

Leading his match against David Ferrer, Malisse was defaulted for throwing a ball at a lineswoman, he then verbally abused another official before knocking over a chair, kicking the fencing, and smashing it with his racquet.

Martina Hingis was not always in control.
Martina Hingis was not always in control.

MARTINA HINGIS - 1999 French Open final

Five-time major champion Martina Hingis held a 6-4, 2-0 lead on legend Steffi Graf and then she self imploded.

This was before the days of hawk-eye so, Hingis, unhappy with a call fro the chair umpire simply sat down and refused to continue playing.

She waited for a referee to come out - a move that backfired on her. She was promptly handed a point penalty - and the meltdown was on.

Graf came back with ease, winning her 22nd and final Grand Slam.

Graf retired four weeks later, Hingis never won another major.

Zverev makes his frustrations apparent.
Zverev makes his frustrations apparent.

ALEXANDER ZVEREV - Australian Open 2019

Alexander Zverev took out his full frustration on his racquet during an explosive exit from the Australian Open, the German's latest grand slam flop. The world No.4 was trounced 6-1 6-1 7-6 (7-5) by big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the Australian Open fourth round on Monday.

Zverev flew off the rails in the second set, smashing his racquet nine times after serving three double faults to go down 4-1.

"It made me feel better. I was very angry, so I let my anger out," the 21-year- old, who served 10 double faults for the match, said.

The prodigiously talented Zverev has ten career titles and beat top guns Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic at the prestigious ATP finals to end 2018.

But he's yet to bring that form to a major and has only made the quarter-finals once in 15 grand slams, the French Open last year.

Zverev broke serve in the opening game but from there fell to pieces as he surrendered the first two sets in a little over an hour.

Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta had an amazing tantrum.
Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta had an amazing tantrum.

BUSTA - Australian Open 2019

Pablo Carreno Busta was close to tears in a post-match press conference as he said a controversial point which went against him in a final set tie-break cost him the match and should have been replayed.

The match was five hours long when Carreno Busta, who had earlier held a two set lead against eighth seed Kei Nishikori, played a shot that just dropped over the net before Nishikori - ignoring an incorrect call of out - played a winner.

Rather than replaying the point, which occurred with the Spaniard 8-5 up and just two points from victory, Australian umpire Thomas Sweeney awarded the point to Nishikori to make it 8-6.

Busta kicked off.