Melbourne - It was a tense moment, according to David Ferrer. That's why he shoved the line judge.
"It was nothing," the No 3-ranked Ferrer said.
The incident occurred during Ferrer's quarterfinal loss to Thomas Berdych at the Australian Open on Tuesday. The Spaniard was two sets down and had just broken Berdych in the third set to take a 4-2 lead.
Ferrer wiped his face with a towel and wanted to toss it in a courtside chair, but a line judge was in the way. So he pushed him, causing the man to stumble a few steps to the side. A reaction from the crowd prompted Ferrer to shrug his shoulders as he walked to the service line.
"It was a nervous moment, but nothing," Ferrer said, after losing the match 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. "I said, 'Excuse me,' to him after that. Nothing special."
It wasn't the first time Ferrer has drawn criticism for pushing a line judge. A similar incident happened during a 2012 US Open match against Lleyton Hewitt.
In 2011, Ferrer got annoyed when a baby was crying in the stands during his quarterfinal match at the Sony Ericsson Open. After losing his serve, he hit a forehand lob in the direction of the crying infant, though the ball didn't come close.
A two-time semifinalist in Melbourne, Ferrer said he doubted he would be penalized for the shove.
The 2014 Grand Slam Rule states that "players shall not at any time physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or other person within the precincts of the tournament site. Violators can face a fine of up to $20 000.