David Nalbandian realises what he has doneI was commentating at Queen's Club when David Nalbanian aimed an ill-advised kick at an advertising panel during the aborted final with Marin Cilic - an act that will, at the very least, cost him a seeding at Wimbledon.
Much like the majority of the spectators, I was initially unaware of what had happened: for about 10 minutes previously, the hot-headed Argentine had been shouting at himself and chucking his racquet in frustration every time something didn't go his way. So, when he lost that point to go a break down in the second set, most of us turned away in preparation for the next game.
The tournament organisers could have done better by making an announcement or showing the incident on the big screen, as the embarrassing scenes of boozy fans booing and demanding the match go on would have been averted.
Because when I did see the replay it was clear that — while Nalbandian obviously did not intend to hurt the line judge — his action was crazy, totally out of control and correctly punishable by a code violation and forfeit.
To be blunt though, Nalbandian — who has always been a hot-head — is fortunate he didn't break his foot, wiping out his chances of competing at Wimbledon. He says he didn't realise the panel would buckle when he kicked it but he's lucky it did. If it was more solid it would certainly have injured him, probably quite seriously.
Nalbandian's bizarre comments afterwards, which started with an apology but then turned into a rant against the ATP, was in keeping with the man's stubborn, temperamental nature, and nothing should be read into them. But it certainly won't appease the authorities, who have already fined him and could take further action.
I'm no legal expert but to pursue claims of assault do seem a bit excessive though — while he lost control, his act was not aimed at the injured party.
Including the prize money and the ATP fine, world number 39 Nalbandian has lost over £40,000, while the loss of ranking points means that he will not make the top 32 and will thus be unseeded at Wimbledon.
I think that is sufficient, but will the ATP?