Australian Open

Baghdatis smashes 4 racquets

2012-01-19 12:34
Marcos Baghdatis (File)
Melbourne - Marcos Baghdatis was fined for an extraordinary racquet-smashing tantrum on Thursday but in a sport known for its meltdowns, fellow players greeted the outburst calmly.

VIDEO: Marcos Baghdatis smashes four racquets

Trailing by two sets to love in Wednesday's second round clash with Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka, the Cypriot stunned spectators by breaking not one, not two, not three but four racquets as he briefly lost the plot.

The 26-year-old, taken to heart by Australians during his run to the final in 2006, didn't even bother to take two of his racquets out of their plastic wrappers.

As footage of the tirade went viral, Baghdatis, beaten in four sets, was fined $800 by the tournament referee on Thursday for "abuse of racquets and equipment".

Sporadic bad on-court behaviour is nothing new in a sport that experienced the spectacular hissy-fits of US player John McEnroe, who became defined as much by his bad-boy antics as his stunning tennis.

Five-time Australian Open winner Serena Williams escaped with a $2 000 fine for an angry outburst at the chair umpire during last year's US Open final - her second such incident at the event in two years.

Williams said on Thursday that she used to be a racquet-breaker, but realised now that there were better ways to let out frustrations.

"I sometimes break them in practice, just not in a match any more," she said.

"But it's definitely not the best way to release your anger," she added. "I think the older you get, you realise there's more different ways."

Men's number one Novak Djokovic admitted racquet-pummelling can be help relieve the pressure in a sport where players are alone on court and can receive no help from their coaches.

"In my case, I've stopped doing it. I'm not doing it as often, which is good for my coach, good news. But when I have a smash of the racquet, smack of the racquet, I usually feel relieved afterwards.

"I feel that the pressure is out. But a bit embarrassed, as well. So I try to hold my composure."

Even sweet-tempered Serb Ana Ivanovic said she had smashed more than a few racquets in her time.

"You might be surprised, but I do smash racquets sometimes. Last time I smashed not as many, but I smashed three racquets," she said, adding: "It didn't really make me better, so I decided, what's the point?"

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said he could understand the depths of rage which drive players.

"You know, sometimes you get angry and it's difficult to control yourself. But, I mean, one, it can happen. Four, it's a lot," the Frenchman smiled.

"But, anyway, my father told me all the time: 'If you break the racquet, I will break you.' So I go easy with the racquet. Sometimes I prefer to hit myself (rather) than my racquet."

Russian glamour girl Maria Sharapova said such antics were not her style, at least not in public.

"I'm not surprised that he broke a racquet," she said. "Personally I haven't broken too many in my career. Don't recall breaking one during a match. Have broken a couple at practice.

"Um, but must be a good feeling. I mean, yeah, just let it all go, I guess."

Big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic says he doesn't have the luxury of being able to break his racquets.

"I have 10 racquets. I need to play with 10 racquets. I don't have any to break," he said.

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