Thanks to the now-retired Andy Roddick for letting us all in on a locker-room secret that he and Novak Djokovic almost came to blows after their 2008 US Open quarter-final, before which Roddick had claimed that the Serb was basically a faker who had every medical condition under the sun, including SARS. Djokovic won the match but Roddick revealed that he “had him up against the locker” afterwards as tensions spilled over. The pair cleared the air later, but in homage to Roddick’s honesty, here’s a few more spats that have “graced” the tennis Tour over the years.
Roger Taylor floors Bob Hewitt
In light of what we know now about Hewitt, there might have been a few more players lining up behind Britain’s Taylor but so it was that in 1969, just before the French Open, the left-hander had taken his anger out on the Australian, off the court. As Rex Bellamy recalled in his book, The Tennis Set: “Two days before the 1969 French championships, in a Berlin dressing room, Taylor’s left fist had collided with Hewitt’s left eye. Taylor had to scratch. Bruised knuckles and a swollen hand would not allow him to grip a racket. But Hewitt played and won a couple of matches. It seemed that Taylor had won the war but lost the peace.” (Thanks to Sports Illustrated for reminding me of that great tale).
Daniel Koellerer vs anyone and everyone
The now banned (for life, for match-fixing) Austrian is the subject of more horror stories than almost the whole Tour put together, from punching (colleagues and opponents) to spitting and generally being pretty nasty all round, including a recent accusation regarding Rafael Nadal and doping. Stefan Koubek, a fellow Austrian, clearly had had enough when he grabbed Koellerer around his throat during the change of ends in one of their matches. Check out the YouTube click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIYdC4TX_G8
Jimmy Connors makes his point with John McEnroe
The two Americans had more than their share of moments but most of them were verbal as they bounced insults off each other from the (relative) safety of the net. But on one occasion, in Chicago in 1982, tension spilled over almost to the point of fisticuffs as Connors broke etiquette (the last thing on either’s mind) by rounding the net and waving his finger dangerously close to McEnroe’s face. McEnroe shoved the finger away but as a show of intimidation, it was pretty impressive. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYYUtb4GUHE
McEnroe and Kendrick get revenge on Leander Paes
On first hearing this, it seemed like McEnroe had taken his years-old reputation a little too literally as he got in Paes’ face during a World Team Tennis match in 2009. But on closer inspection, he had a point. Paes has long been known for trying to hit opponents early in doubles matches to intimidate them and he did it again, tubing Kendrick. WTT is a competitive but friendly environment and McEnroe thought it was out of line, as he told Paes on court. But Kendrick then took it up a notch, serving directly at Paes when the Indian was not even the receiver. Classic stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMr_RzCGWOw