Marcos Baghdatis reached the final of the Australian Open back in 2006, but he exited the tournament this year and gave tennis fans an altogether different reason to remember him in Melbourne after smashing no fewer than four racquets in 25 seconds.
But the Cypriot is not the first sports star to lose his cool while in action.
Here we take a look at some infamous and extraordinary sporting tantrums. Decide for yourself if Baghdatis' meltdown belongs in such 'illustrious' company...
At one point during the 1995/96 season it looked like Kevin Keegan's Newcastle were going to storm to the Premier League title after moving 12 points clear at the top of the table. However, things soon started to slip from Newcastle's grasp and Keegan seemed to age rapidly in front of everyone's eyes. After a Newcastle draw against Leeds during the final week meant that United only had to avoid defeat at Middlesbrough on the final day, Keegan famously went on a live, televised rant aimed at United and Sir Alex Ferguson saying: "I will love it if we beat them - LOVE IT!" They didn't though as United won 3-0 on the final day to wrap up the title.
After inspiring Manchester United to back-to-back league titles, enigmatic French forward Cantona looked finally to have the world at his feet. But after being sent off at Crystal Palace in January 1995 and being abused by home supporter Matthew Simmons on his way back to the changing rooms, Cantona had something else altogether at the end of his football boots. In an infamous moment, he launched a kung-fu kick at Simmons, earning himself a nine-month suspension by Manchester United, a £20,000 fine, and 120 hours' worth of community service. He returned to football later in the year, helped United to another league and cup double, before retiring from the game at the age of 30.
Serena Williams was lucky to escape with just a $2,000 fine for verbally abusing the chair umpire during her loss to Sam Stosur in last year's US Open final. After losing her temper a couple times in the match, she was docked a point and issued with a code violation but she continued her protests after the match. She did not shake the official's hand and said: "If you ever see me walking down the hall, look the other way because you're out of control. You're out of control. You are unattractive inside. Code violation for this? I expressed myself, we're in America last time I checked. Don't look at me. Don't look my way."
The Australian batsman has a fiery temper at the best of times but was particularly irked when run-out during the 2005 Trent Bridge Ashes Test by substitute fielder Gary Pratt. Such was the accuracy shown by the previously unknown Pratt that the then Aussie captain Ponting presumed that England had brought him in as a specialist substitute fielder to help give their bowlers a rest. While walking back to the pavilion, Ponting uttered a four-letter expletive in the direction of England coach Duncan Fletcher and showed that he was clearly rattled. It proved to be one of the defining moments of the series which England went on to win — ending a 22-year drought in cricket's most famous rivalry.
The American tennis player never got beyond the third round at a Grand Slam but wrote himself into the Wimbledon record books in 1995 after an astonishing incident that saw him quit in the middle of a third round match with Alexander Mronz. Tarango was furious with a number of decisions made by umpire Bruno Rebeuh and was given a second code violation for calling Rebeuh "one of the most corrupt officials in the game." After that Tarango packed up his racquets and walked off but in a final twist his wife then slapped Rebeuh twice in the face. Tarango was banned for two years and fined $63,000 but that was eventually reduced to just a ban for the 1996 Wimbledon event.
Georgian football Temuri Ketsbaia's career at Newcastle was rather underwhelming but he was a cult favourite with the fans in large part due to the way he celebrated a last-minute winner against Bolton in 1998. Unhappy with starting on the bench, Ketsbaia went nuts after scoring. First he ripped off his shirt and threw it in the crowd, he started to do the same with his boots before changing his mind and then he finally settled on booting an advertising hording over and over. "I was just happy to score," was his explanation.
Republic of Ireland striker John Aldridge and his manager Jack Charlton were both furious with the fourth official and a FIFA representative at the USA 1994 World Cup, when they took forever to let Aldridge come on as a substitute while Ireland trailed 2-0 to Mexico. Both men, but Aldridge in particular, bereted the officials with expletive-laden tirades that were clearly picked up by the television cameras and the Liverpool-born striker even had to be restrained from attacking the officials. Aldridge spinned his anger into something positive though and scored within six minutes of coming on, and while Ireland did still lose the match, the goal proved crucial in ensuring that Ireland made it into the next round on goal difference.
Prior was reprimanded by the ICC but escaped with a fine after breaking a window in the Lord's Pavilion following his runout in the drawn Test against Sri Lanka last summer. The wicketkeeper-batsman was upset by his dismissal and threw his bat in the dressing room. It bounced off other bats and smashed a window, sprinkling glass on spectators with one suffering minor cuts. The England captain, Andrew Strauss, had to accompany Prior downstairs to speak to the injured spectator and apologise. It came just three months after Ponting (who we saw earlier) was also reprimanded by the ICC for breaking a television screen in his team's dressing room after he was run out at the World Cup.
You know a sporting tantrum is one for the ages when most people still remember the rant word for word a generation after it happened. McEnroe's Wimbledon rant came in his first-round clash against Tom Gullikson in 1981. Unhappy with a line call, McEnroe said the immortal words: "You can't be serious, man. YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! That ball was on the line! Chalk flew up! It was clearly in! You guys are the absolute pits of the world…" Despite losing his temper, McEnroe recovered himself and went on to win not only the match but the whole tournament.
Indiana Pacers forward Artest fouled Detroit Piston Ben Wallace in an NBA clash full of needle, sparking extraordinary scenes in Michigan. When Wallace retaliated, a furious Artest went to the scorers' table and started to speak to a radio broadcaster, only for an incensed Pistons fan to throw a cup of Diet Coke at him. That proved the last straw, as Artest surged into the crowd, joined by a team-mate, throwing punches at the man he believed had doneit (though it transpired later he had got the wrong man). Artest was banned for the remainder of the season, the equivalent of 86 games, and lost almost $5m in salary. Time has a way of changing people — Artest now goes by the name Metta World Peace.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Soccer