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Nalbandian's double fault at Queen's

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Jonathan Overend | 23:27 UK time, Sunday, 17 June 2012

As they say in football or rugby, he simply had to go.

David Nalbandian left the ATP officials with no choice but to issue an instant 'red card', or at least the tennis equivalent - a default - after injuring a line judge in the dramatic end to the Queen's final.

He didn't mean it and admitted his mistake - an instinctive action of fury and frustration - but the vicious assault on the advertising hoarding and the inevitable impact on the line judge, who was struck on the leg at point blank range, was indefensible.

How can anyone draw blood from an official and expect to stay on the field of play?

The board, which he didn't just kick but belted into next week, was directly in front of the line judge's chair. Nalbandian was facing the official and surely knew his proximity when he lashed out.

David Nalbandian argues against his disqualification at Queen's

Nalbandian's decision to query his disqualification added insult to injury. Photo: Getty

He didn't mean to injure him, of course, but it was the height of stupidity.

The look on the face of the line judge, who received on-site treatment but no stitches, reflected the general feeling. It was a look, first and foremost, of utter disbelief.

The tournament and the ATP got it absolutely right. Default was the only option.

You can't change the rules just because it's a high-profile final on terrestrial television, or because important corporates are being entertained, with thousands more paying big money for their sought-after tickets.

The up-market crowd were booing and stamping because they wanted more entertainment but it was hardly a protest to be taken seriously. This wasn't an exhibition.
Many hadn't even seen the incident, certainly not up close, and I suspect many others didn't actually know why they were booing.

But off they went with their Sloaney revolt.

They were booing Chris Kermode the tournament director, who had no involvement in the decision, and booing the ground staff for bringing on the trophy, when they would normally be complimented on the annual excellence of the courts.

Goodness, they even booed Sue Barker. "Shh, shh, shh," she said into the microphone, finally settling them down.

In fairness to the crowd, most were oblivious to the severity of the incident. ATP rules had to be enforced and perhaps this should have been conveyed in a louder and more forceful manner over the PA system.

Later, as the crowd dispersed, Nalbandian held court in a packed press conference room.

His apology on court had been tarnished by an ill-advised rant at the ATP for having too many rules and, even an hour and a half later, he was still inserting "but" into every answer.

Yes, it was a mistake. But sometimes you get angry.

Yes, it was a mistake. But look at all the rules the players have to sign up to. Too many rules.

Yes, it was a mistake. But when it happens somewhere else nothing happens.

Swearing and racquet throwing, dangerous surfaces, pressure on the players. He was talking about this, that and everything.

It was a poor attempt at introducing mitigating circumstances to a self-confessed error of judgement.

Lost in all the drama was the actual champion. Congratulations Marin Cilic, you deserved the title and didn't deserve to be booed for it.

The Croatian played some terrific tennis, recovering well after Nalbandian's strong start, and looked to be on course for a comeback victory when the match was stopped.

Although in good spirits afterwards, it was hard not to feel sorry for him. He didn't get a match-point moment to celebrate and his victory ceremony, one of the moments of his career, was tarnished by the crowd over-reaction.

Sadly, as night fell, the talk of the Queen's terrace was not of a worthy champion, but of the rebel runner-up and the dramatic drawing of blood on the lawns.


  • Comment number 1.

    Yes yes, what a stupid boy...

    However, I'm all for the destruction of garish advertising. Does it really need to be around someone's chair? I doubt he would have lashed out at someone's leg directly. Queens used to be a much classier event back in the day.

  • Comment number 2.

    Nalbandian needs to accept full responsibility for his brutal actions. And yes they were brutal - he injured an official - in fact he drew blood! By blaming the ATP rule book and the fact that players have to play lots of matches is an absolutely pathetic excuse. Mr Nalbandian - the blame lies ONLY with you!

    The ironic thing is Nalbandian was winning the match - I could just about understand his brutal kicking out if he was a set down and a break down but he was not. He was a set up! Yes an extremely stupid man indeed!

  • Comment number 3.

    Yes, a foolish mistake and he rightly defaulted the game but please can we not use hysterical, pejorative language like 'brutal' and 'vicious'? He lashed out in anger, not with malicious intent.

    #1 has a good point on the advertising...

  • Comment number 4.

    Brutal? Vicious? It was neither, it was a stupid reaction, but neither of brutal, or vicious.

  • Comment number 5.

    Can't believe some of the fools who booed the decision. Do these people condone violence against tournament officials?

    I can't believe they 'didnt see' the incident, it was the most blatant assault you could get on a tennis court. That's just an excuse for their booing.

    In reality, it was just mob mentality, like at football grounds. If that's spread to tennis that is very sad.

    Nalbandians always been all hype with no results; maybe his inability to be as good as he could have been finally boiled over in that moment.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm note sure that you consider the ill behaved crowd "up market" or "sloaney" is terribly relevant unless you were, in the interest of the BBC's god "balance" to describe a, say, football crowd as "down market" and "scummy" or a rugby crowd as "middle class". But you won't, it is just a vehicle for your social prejudice. Perhaps you should stick to reporting on the sport.

  • Comment number 7.

    Just not cricket.

    Quite literally, in cricket he'd almost certainly be banned if he'd drawn blood or in any way injured an umpire in a fit of pique. Likewise even in football, or rugby, or boxing.

    What I find more shocking isn't so much the act itself, but the mixed reaction to it and the couching of criticism of the decision to default him with 'those are the rules' rather than statements of condemnation for what was an outburst of violence that simply shouldn't be tolerated. It makes it seems like it was 'the rules's' fault, when it simply is Nalbandian's fault, and he should be condemned for it, mistake or no mistake. He is meant to be a professional, not a petulant child. If he can't act like an adult he should have no place in professional sport.

  • Comment number 8.

    Don't be so silly as to blame the presence of the advertising for it and the line judge being damaged. That is like blaming the woman for being raped! Nalbandian would have lashed out at something even if it wasn't there. In fact in fencing damaging ANY piece of equipment in temper would be and immediate black card (disqualification). injury would not be required.

  • Comment number 9.

    Grimpop. comment #6 makes an excellent point. Perfectly acceptable for the "right on" Mr Overend to attack the social status of the tennis fans who he obviously considers fair game. Toff bashing is not punishable by default - however would the brave media man survive a similar attack on the "Oiks" with their "thuggish" behaviour. Or would he be asked to leave the field of play

  • Comment number 10.

    How long will it take for President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to make a political issue out of it?

  • Comment number 11.

    Was it only last week that Novak smashed the advertising board on his chair at the French Open? I don't recall the same reaction to that incident.
    Sure the linesman got injured this time and there's no condoning that and the rules are the rules.
    What's surprised me though is how quickly most have been to lambast Nalbandian, especially the BBC - a direction that's surely steered the views of most.
    Now I can't talk for Nalbandian but I can imagine that being the top sportsman he is, he was frustrated, that he saw the board and kicked it with no regard for what's around him - not even registering the linesman - showing the downside of the focus of those at the top of the game.
    Surely we could though show a little more empathy for the man - he's going to have to live with this being brought up again and again from here on in. He's already living with the fact that he now can't win a tournament that he was right in, there's no wonder he was angry - isn't that what these guys live for. Sure this came across as angry with the the atp and hence offended us all - how could he not show more remorse afterall? Well maybe because he couldn't believe he'd just lost the tournament that way?
    As for his complaint against the ATP, no one seems to have picked up on the fact that his point seemed to be better protection for the players? Well it strikes me that this very example supports his point of view. Fancy getting him in front of the camera so quickly after all this happened, then asking him fairly leading questions that were in all likelihood going to get the answer they got - if the person was being honest (I say again sure I'd like to think that a well versed sportsman would do a better job at saying (not necessarily thinking) the right thing). If the ATP where truly into player protection/etc they'd have stepped in and giving him some help here or at least got his manager out on court. Don't say anything hot headed David, just apologise for what you've done - hope the linesman is ok - sorry for the consequences, I'm really disappointed, Marin's a great champion etc - all the stuff we want to hear and should hear. Don't say what you really think - people don't really like to hear that. And Sue - great commentator and player that she is and was - I'd have thought you could have steered him the right way - even in the heat of the moment - or did your questioning fall into the same vein of instant reaction to what you felt at the time?

  • Comment number 12.

    Perhaps Nalbandian should study Bjorn Borg's behaviour on court if he aspires to be a great tennis player. Just being good at tennis isn't enough to excuse temper tantrums that would be corrected in a two-year-old.

  • Comment number 13.

    I was there yesterday and you could see that David Nalbandian was getting frustrated in that game. He had just broken Cilic and was now going down quickly on his serve. he had bounced his racket hard on his first missed point, even harder twice on the second. On neither occasion did the umpire call him over or say anything to him, which would have probably taken the heat out of the situation. Telling him to calm down a little like the ref does in rugby, have a think next time it is a point lost or worse. He was just so wound up.

    Because it was so obvious he was annoyed, I had the camera trained on him for that final point and when he lost the game he exploded. Got some great pictures and what they do show is everyone behind him missed what happened, then they look a split second later they are looking. That is why so few people knew what went on, some thought he had kicked the guy.

    And the best bit was being shhh, shhh, shhh by Sue Barker not sure in her life she has been booed while trying to talk.

  • Comment number 14.

    Well done to the ATP for upholding its policy.

    If only soccer was as forceful, we wouldn't have to endure
    players being petulant and man-handling each other in the penalty box.

    Strict rules undoubtedly improve our appreciation of sport
    and true sportsmanship.

  • Comment number 15.

    Looking forward to him getting a HUGE fine, losing some vital APT points

  • Comment number 16.

    It all comes down to individual responsibility. A long forgotten pastime, I know. It's so much easier to blame others for your own idiotic behaviour. It's the advertisers fault. It's the ATP's fault etc etc... it's just not my fault.
    Oh, and this applies to the "Sloaneys" who were doing a brilliant interpretation of the angry mob from The Simpsons.

  • Comment number 17.

    ATP rules (and grief, there are hundreds of them) state (basically) that any violent action on the court will result in automatic,

    Racquet or Equipment Abuse
    i) Players shall not violently, dangerously or with anger hit, kick or throw a racquet
    or other equipment within the precincts of the tournament site. For purposes
    of this rule, abuse of racquets or equipment is defined as intentionally,
    dangerously and violently destroying or damaging racquets or equipment or
    intentionally and violently hitting the net, court, umpire's chair or other fixture during a match out of anger or frustration.
    ii) Violation of this section shall subject a player to a fine up to $500 for each violation. In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall be
    penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule.

    Nalbandian doesn't have a leg to stand on (no pun intended) - his actions (intended or not) merited an automatic default. I'd be amazed if he wasn't clobbered with the "unsportsmanlike conduct" rule too (...Unsportsmanlike conduct is defined as any misconduct by a player that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the success of a tournament, the ATP and/or the Sport).

    However, (and an aside) Baghdatis broke 4 racquets at the Aus during a changeover and wasn't even spoken to (to my knowledge), but clearly he contravened ATP rules. And so the list goes on of those who (in a fit of pique) take the easy route and let their emotions flood out resulting in equipment damage on the court (whatever that equipment is).

    I'm not defending Nalbandian at all, but the ATP had better sort themselves out in terms of officials enforcing this and many other rules relating to violations of conduct. It's hugely inconsistent.

  • Comment number 18.

    It just proves a point. Judging by the comments in this blog. Sport should be banned. you just don't deserve it! To condone in any shape or form the behaviour of Mr Nalbandian is a disgrace!!!

  • Comment number 19.

    This is a nonsense, an unforgivable over-reaction to a perfectly natural human reaction by DN to the game going away from him. If the advertising board had to be there it should have been better made and if it had none of what ensued would have happened. After it did DN was punished for the shoddy manufacture of the board because we see the rest of his behaviour on a regular basis without any consequence. The game should have continued after penalty points had been deducted from DN and the crowd were right to react as they did after being denied a proper match for which they had paid good money.

  • Comment number 20.

    #10: I think you're just being contentious for the sake of it.

  • Comment number 21.

    Amazed that people on this board are attempting to explain or mitigate this totally unacceptable behaviour.

    This man is anything but a "top sportsman" - he is a disgrace to tennis, an poor example to the young, and deserved everything he got and more. His mealy-mouthed and insincere so-called apology only compounded my initial thoughts on his character.

    There is no mitigation or excuse for his outburst - he deserves a significant ban.

  • Comment number 22.

    @ 12... re Bjorn Bork, yes because John McEnroe never won anything...

  • Comment number 23.

    The way this was handled was poor. The bbc should be really embarrassed for letting inept presenters try to take control of this situation. The official came to talk to them and looked really uncomfortable, cringe worthy viewing! As for the incident itself, WOW did that line judge make a meal of it!! Ronaldo would have been happy with that dive, get the man an oscar! Nalbandian should have been able to apologise and carry on. Pompous at its worst!

  • Comment number 24.

    The player should have been heavily fined and warned to his future conduct,the match could have continued to its conclusion and the crowd/tv would have been happy.Oh and Nalbandian should have been forced to wash the linesmans car,SORTED.

  • Comment number 25.

    So , nearly 24 hours later, those short-listed as being to blame are :- the umpire;the ATP; Queen's; the tournament referee, the advertisers; the line judge; the hoarding; the Sloanes; Sue Barker (who, contrary to another post, did try to steer DN to an appropriate apology) - oh, and Nalbandian. This incident was down to a grown man who cannot control his temper and who , when his actions have consequences, falls back on the "Ah, BUT..." reaction of a petulant teenager. The social class of the horrible audience is irrelevant.

  • Comment number 26.

    Having been watching all week, I have to say I am not surprised. He has a history of unsportsmanlike behaviour, and doesn't come across as being a particularly nice person in all honesty. As for his ranting at the ATP, well he needs to take a good look at himself. His behaviour for a professional sportsman was nothing short of disgraceful. Rules are rules, and regardless of whether he meant to hurt the line judge or not is irrelevant. He broke the rules and was punished under those rules.

  • Comment number 27.

    I'm astonished that nobody has commented on how badly the organising committee handled this situation. Mr Kermode was more happy to tell the BBC what was happening than his fee-paying spectators. It seemed there was some hiding going on in the face of a crowd, regardless of their social status, who were naturally expressing their disappointment. Nalbandian was of course wrong but there is also a responsibility to the spectators that falls on the organisers. There seems to a lot of pompous, self-righteous comments being made about what was after all human nature.

  • Comment number 28.

    For me, the unforgivable piece of this is that he showed no contrition or remorse towards the line judge he injured. He didn't show it at the time when the judge was being checked and neither when he was talking about the ATP rules.

  • Comment number 29.

    If this had been a football crowd booing 'a red card' the media would have been full of rhetoric about the working classes blah blah blah (even if the majority of the working classes can't actually get tickets for sporting events these days). But it was a crowd of Hooray Henrys and Sloane Rangers - look at the different attitude. I think its their upbringing - pushed off to public school after the nanny gets fed up of them. Come on Tories we need some Policies to deal with this breakdown in respectable society,

  • Comment number 30.

    Elite sportsmen are highly disciplined individuals, its important that this discipline is equally applied to their behaviour as it is to the sport. 

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    I don't think many people would condone the actions of DN but we can try to understand it.

    #11: Agree completely with your post.

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm not sure most of the defenders of Nalbandian have bothered to watch the incident. A dive? When the camera returned about 5 seconds after the assault, he was up and hobbling, having already rolled up his trouser leg. Blaming the "advertising hoarding"? It was a flimsy bit of MDF 8" tall! Even a child would realise that kicking it would result in immediate demolition.

    It's equally silly to pretend that DN intentionally hurt the official. However, his utterly irresponible disregard for the man's safety meant that there really was no alternative than default. I don't see that further punishment is necessary.

    By the way, #10's suggestion is way off the mark. The reaction I have read from Argentina has been nearly unanimous in condemnation, in stark contrast to the bizarrely mixed British reaction. de Kirchner would be very foolish to take Nalbandian's part.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    Not sure how much it would have helped to have had a clear explanation of the rules to the crowd, but there was no alternative to disqualifying Nalbandian.

    For those that haven't understood the issue, it is that Nalbandian injured an official. That is an automatic disqualification, it is irrelevant that he didn't intend it. And his excuses afterwards were pathetic. I tend to agree with him that the ATP rules on code violations and the like are sometimes rather petty, but I don't think anyone disagrees with the principle that injuring an official should result in a default.

    And in this particular case, I remain mystified as to why Nalbandian belted that particular advertising hoarding. Most players, even in their most heated moments, still manage to pick out a relatively "safe" place to vent their anger - think Djokovic in the French Open final, who belted his own chair. Either Nalbandian actually had the hump with that line-judge, or he was insanely dumb. But it was absolutely the correct call to default him.

  • Comment number 36.

    Two points. Why aren't the police involved? If Nalbandian's actions had happened at a pub down the road, they would be or if a spectator had done it...... Secondly, Queen's charges an arm and a leg for the entertainment they put on. They should refund at least half the ticket price and collect the cost from Nalbandian?

  • Comment number 37.

    What a truly nasty, chippy little article this is. 'Upmarket crowd' and 'sloaney revolt'! Obviously not enough Guardian readers to please the archetypal Beeboid. (Mind you, you'd be hard pressed to find enough Guardian readers these days to fill a tennis arena.)

  • Comment number 38.

    Having seen both the original incident and a later close up of the judge's leg, I am at a loss to explain how any one can justify or mitigate this guy's behaviour. How the judge didn't end up with a lot of stitches is a miracle: only from a distance does it look like a scratch.
    If it had happened in a football game, there would have been an immediate red card, a hefty fine and a long ban. Seems to me, he got off fairly lightly.
    Yes, it will keep coming up in future comments regarding DN, but that never did John MacEnroe any harm.....
    I would have thoguht the point of the hoarding was obvious: to protect the judge's legs and feet from mis-hit tennis balls, not to provide a punching board for a disgruntled tennis player to kick: surely it didn't need to be strong enough to withstand that? Whether or not it needed to be covered in advertising is a different matter....

  • Comment number 39.

    Most serious is that Nalbandian showed no sign of remorse and continued to say "but" blaming rules, ATP, pressures and so on. We do not need hooliganism in the game of tennis and he should be banned from playing future tournaments, Wimbledon to start with.

  • Comment number 40.

    Kicking that advertising hoarding was stupid and injuring the line judge was inexcusable. However, if that hoarding had not been there, this would not have happened. While Nalbandian needs to take responsibility for his actions - the organisers need to learn not to clutter the court area with such trivia. They have a responsibility as well.

  • Comment number 41.

    The act was petulant, childish, done in anger and frustration. The act was not brutal, but it was vicious even though it was towards an advertising board.

    The outcome could be described as "brutal" but not by me - it certainly injured the judge badly, it was a bad gash which was bleeding badly. However such hyperbolic language only makes an already serious issue even worse.

    Nalbandian will be fined £25,000 (or euros I think) or his match purse, whichever is the greater. Runner Up prize was approz 35,000 I think so he goes home with nothing. Plus he has the media circus and career-long shame of what he has done. He will be punished enough for a moment of ill tempered bad judgement.

    I do have to agree with post # 6 - Jonathon clearly has a chip on his shoulder about the crowd and their supposed upper class status, not a very balanced view and as #6 says if he had proportioned similar class steriotype to a football game he would have been lamabsted for it.

    Stick to reporting and get the salt and vinegar out for that chip on your shoulder.

  • Comment number 42.

    Nalbandian's rant at the ATP was disgraceful. He should also be careful he doesn't get sued in the civil courts by the line judge. Nalbandian has money and he would almost certainly have to pay out. Even if he didn't intend to hurt him, he was negligent and careless.

  • Comment number 43.

    The BBC is supposed to be an impartial service which reports the news... I appreciate that this is a 'blog', I write my own, but it saddens and appals me to see a professional writer refer to those attending the final of Queens as an 'up-market crowd'! I'm highly educated, extremely well paid, and fortunate enough to have benefitted from all the advantages of a forward thinking UK family upbringing - this includes a sense of living in a classless society. But I really don't care for Tennis, in fact I'm a huge Football fan - does this 'Etonian' Elitism reduce me to the rank of untouchable? This form of Neo-Victorian discrimination is something I had hoped to have seen an end to but yet the BBC seem to have endorsed it continuation. So, in the words of my fellow Footballing 'lower class' - WHO IS THIS GUY?!

  • Comment number 44.

    I think people would have been more forgiving towards Nalbandian if he hadn't been so forgiving towards himself.

  • Comment number 45.

    I watch 'bat & ball' games on TV and most are very good entertainment - thanks to great BBC camera crews, BUT you'd have to pay me £1000 per day to get me to travel down to London, sit out in whatever weather, listen to shrieking players trying to strike a fluffy little ball - or whatever advertising board comes to hand. I reckon most of the spectators must have very boring lives ! I also turn the sound off when commentators begin their 'drawl'.

  • Comment number 46.

    He caused ABH and would have been sent off whatever the sport! This is typical of todays society. Someone loses there temper (we all do it) but then we say there should be no serious consequence! I have often lost my temper, but have never lashed out causing someone injury. As a pro his spacial awareness should be better honed and he should never of done this knowing the guy was sat there.
    What would he have done if no hoarding was there? Chances are he would have sworn, stamped his feet or smashed a racquet - all still punishable, but he didn't so as for the punishment for his actions? I agree with the officials. If he had only damaged the hoarding the game would have probably gone on and he would have received a fine for un-sportsmanship behaviour after the game, but he didn't, and perhaps he will think twice and work on his focus rather than his football skills in future.
    I feel sorry for Marin Cilic, as he will never get any kudos for winning the trophy this way.

  • Comment number 47.

    The amount of crowd-bashing - both in the article and in the comments - is ridiculous. If I was there I most likely would have booed because, like a vast majority of people there, I wouldn't have seen what had happened or understood what had happened after the fact. I would have paid good money, put aside valuable time, and looked forward to a good sporting event, and wondered why the hell the match had come to an abrupt halt. The officials merely referred to a code violation. Did Queen's show 100 replays of the incident like the BBC did? And I found Sue Barker's hushing to be horribly condescending.

    I also agree with #23 that the line judge's reaction was OTT. Following utter dismay (understandable) he got up, rolled on the floor, and then got up again and returned to his seat. Euro 2012 indeed.

    All of the blame for this incident lies firmly at Nalbandian's door. A foolish moment that, until he was interviewed, I expected him to be embarrassed and apologetic to the extreme. His "apology" soured the moment even further.

  • Comment number 48.

    Nalbandian is right about the inconsistency but the regardless of that fact the ATP got it right even if they may have got it wrong before.

    I would like to use a football comparison here in that the top teniis players are paid an awful lot of money for these events and even more in prize money.

    The line judge did not look like a spring chicken so could have been seriously hurt. Also the person I feel sorry for is Cilic. It will be the most hollow victory of his career and one he cannot celebrate, plus he looked almost embarassed to be accepting the trophy and for that Nalbandian should be even more ashamed.

  • Comment number 49.

    This whole incident has had me shaking my head in disbelief.
    What we have with the player is a petulant, immature and over
    indulged sportsman, who is obviously never coached to control himself in a constructive and positive manner. His reaction was on of a narky 13 year old who was told he couldn't watch his choice of TV.
    His actions were lacking in consideration for the official, the game, or the property of the Queens Club and the sponsors who keep him in his cocooned lifestyle.
    His lack of contrition after the event show the total lack of understanding of the fact that he caused physical harm to an official. The man deserves no sympathy from us, he does not have to live with this incident, as one poster suggested, because he is failing to accept his culpability, its all someone else to blame.
    The reaction of the crowd was pathetic on many levels. "We've paid our money, entertain us" seems to have been the only consideration. If people didn't see what went on they should have found out, and those that saw everything and booed the outcome really need to have a serious word with themselves.
    The ATP came out sounding rather weak in my opinion. In any other sport, such an action would result in a lengthy ban from the game, the ATP seems only wanting to withhold prize money and deduct ATP points. Perhaps with Tennis being an individual sport, the power of player is to great for the ATP to impose meaningful sanctions.
    A sorry day for Tennis, a game that has its faults because it is seen as a bit elitist, but then behaves as if it rolls in the gutter. However, a chance has opened up to get a grip on the behaviour on court, from racquet abuse, dissent and on to the unnecessary grunting and screaming in the Ladies game

  • Comment number 50.

    Well said #11. There is definitely an issue among the players with the ATP. Even saint Federer has expressed an opinion on them so you can hardly blame Nalbandian for speaking out. You could see in his interview he was distraught by what had happened and close to tears. And haven't any of you lot made a mistake somewhere and tried to justify it?
    Sue Barkers interview technique is cringe-worthy in the extreme, DN should have been taken off the court straight away and released a press statement later, not interviewed in the heat of the moment. Yes he was wrong to do what he did, yes he mishandled his interview. But the over reaction of some people is hilarious. If he had hit the linesman in the face with his raquet, then yes, that would be 'brutal'. Unfortunately, the closest thing to lash out at was the boarding round the chair.

  • Comment number 51.

    I like Jonathan Overend but I'm sure he didn't get his SJA Sports Broadcaster of the Year award for blogs like this. He works for the BBC, commands a wage that I am certain will be somewhat above the national average of £25,000, and then attempts to play the class card by labelling the crowd 'Sloaneys'. Joke.

    I agree that the rule are the rules, but I also agree that the BBC were pretty awful in their response. I know you lot don't like to rebel but could you have been more pro-authorities yesterday? The ATP representative that you had in the studio and on the radio hardly gave a good impression of the the ATP -- he came across as a classic example of someone representing a large organisation with a lot of power: arrogant and condescending.

    I'm not condoning Nalbandian. I'm just pointing out that the ATP chap made me want to rebel agains the ATP, the BBC were poor (in fairness to Sue Barker, she did say immediately that with hindsight maybe they shouldn't have done the interview), and the crowd had every right to be angry because nobody properly explained to them what was happening (and nobody really tried -- again, Overend pathetic for having a go at the crowd for booing -- the organisers could have easily shouted over the crowd something like 'we had to do this because Nalbandian injured a line judge and the ATP rules are the ATP rules').

    I love the BBC but sometimes they go so wrong. Like this blog. I hope Overend will issue an apology without any buts for irrelevently bringing the class of a crowd into a piece. Moreover, will he accept censure for this mistake? How would people react if he used derogatory comments towards a crowd of a lower socio-economic class than the majority of the Queens crowd?

    And it's pathetic because I imagine Overend earns at least £50,000 per year, which would make him a very high earner in my book and therefore a total hypocrite trying to play the class card.

  • Comment number 52.

    Sarah @ 38

    The point of the hoarding is to sell advertising. That is all.

    Overend's Sloaney comments aside, the behaviour of the spectators during the Nalbandian interview was pretty interesting. I mean, here was the guy responsible for ending the final prematurely, and he got a good round of applause and even a few cheers at certain points.

    Even assuming they don't know the finer points about ATP rules on misconduct, you have to question if there were really there for the tennis. I'm sure the umpires or organisers could have offered a clearer explanation for the default, but it's not like this sort of thing happens on a whim, and there is no question it was the correct decision here.

  • Comment number 53.

    PS I'd really appreciate a response from Jonathan Overend on this issue. The BBC were part of forcing Nalbandian into speaking yesterday (and I say again I totally accept that he had did wrong and the rules are the rules). Jonathan, you, an educated, well-paid journalist, brought class into your blog completely irrelevantly and in a way that we all know was meant as an insult. Can you please explain this, and perhaps apologise?


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