Tennis' biggest names not shocked by racquet-destroyer Marcos Baghdatis at Australian Open
Marcos Baghdatis was fined yesterday for an extraordinary racquet-smashing tantrum but in a sport known for its meltdowns, fellow players greeted the outburst calmly. 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.
Don't need this: Marcos Baghdatis destroys his racquet during a break against Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open on Wednesday. Pic/Getty Images
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.
Serena: At times I break them in practice
US$800 fine As footage of the tirade went viral, Baghdatis, beaten in four sets, was fined US$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 US$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.
Tsonga: You get angry and it's difficult to control
I break 'em too Williams said yesterday 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. I think the older you get, you realise there's more different ways."
Ana Ivanovic: I do smash racquets sometimes
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."
Don't be surprised 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.' " Maria Sharapova said such antics were not her style, at least not in public. "I haven't broken too many. Don't recall breaking one during a match," she said.