To some players, the Queen’s Club could be vital preparation for the most illustrious and historic tennis event. This year, the Queen’s Club event featured big name after big name falling by the wayside, and so it lurched toward a final Sunday between Croatia’s Marin Cilic and Argentina’s David Nalbandian.
But, in front of a packed crowd on an overcast but blissfully dry day in London, the Aegon Championships final collapsed into farce.
Nalbandian was sent from the court in disgrace after punting a line judge in frustration with his own poor play.
In stepped official after official and, after discussions with sponsors and organizers, Nalbandian, a 2002 Wimbledon finalist, was disqualified and the title given to Cilic.
It was an ignominious end to an event the Argentine would have liked to have won. Instead, he likely is facing fines. He has apologized to the crowd and, of course, to the line judge, who ended up with a cut leg. But there are already criticisms Nalbandian was not heartfelt or remorseful enough with his words.
This incident comes during a season in which players have spoken out about how they are treated by tour organizers and how they are at the whim of schedulers and sponsors. However, this is a case where a player must be held responsible for his own ridiculous actions.
The oddest bit? Nalbandian was winning 7-6 (3), 3-4.
With all this hard work undone, it will be a nervy wait to see how his reputation and season cope with his momentary lapse of reason.