Just 20 years ago, on an outside court of Wimbledon, Jeff Tarango asked the spectators to shut up before leaving at the middle of his match and telling the chair umpire Bruno Rebeuh that he was corrupted. A few minutes later, that same Saturday 1st of July 1995, Tarango's wife slapped the umpire backstage. If current players no longer leave the party slamming the door, here are 10 famous examples of rowdy exits.
Leave in rage without your stuff, and then send a present to apologize
"I don't want to play against such a cuckold!" Wimbledon 1924, Centre Court: suffering of seeing the South African Ivie Richardson multiply the strips, Nicolae Mishu left the court like a rocket, in a very cartoonish way! The Romanian artist had already left the court for less than that, a court that was too wet or a ball boy that was too soft. That day, he even forgot his own equipment! Before leaving London, however, and after finally controlling his nerves, he sent a little present to Richardson to apologize for his bad temper. The present? A pack of cigarettes!
Leave like a prince
Queen's, June 1972. Very charismatic, the Puerto Rican "Pancho" Gonzales probably didn't plan for another player to stand up to him. During his semi-final against the Briton John Paish, Gonzales asked to change a few linesmen after several disputes. In vain. Without a second thought, Gonzales chose to leave the premises...
Leave before the end and win anyway
The case is certainly unique in history. Masters 1975 in Stockholm, 4-1 in the third set for Arthur Ashe against Ilie Nastase. That is when the Romanian started his act. Nastase cleared a break point with an ace, Ashe having been distracted by a ball remained in the court. Nastase took the opportunity to tease him: it took more than a minute to serve the next point. "Are you ready Mister Ashe?” He repeated several times, and Ashe, unable to take it anymore, left the court! Since the regulation disqualifies any player who leaves the court during a match, the organizers first thought was to punish the two men. But considering the attitude of Nastase, it is ultimately the American that was decided winner.
Leave a game from the end to ruin the pleasure of the opponent
Semi-finals of the 1975 Rome tournament and one of the most important matches of the season of Ilie Nastase, the titleholder. But the Romanian seemed unhappy, considering Raul Ramirez rude for arriving on the court 40 minutes late... At 6/2 5-2 for the Mexican, Nastase shook hands with everybody and left the court, saying that it was because of a whimsical upset knot. A few minutes later, Nastase played in doubles with Jimmy Connors on another court...
Leave because you just don’t feel like playing anymore
Some will find it cowardly, disrespectful, ugly. One can also see the expression of complete freedom, a feeling fairly rare in the so regulated world of sport. Quarter-finalist at Roland Garros in 1991, the Argentine Franco Davin decided to end his career in the middle of the first round of the Barletta challenger qualifying round in March 1997 At one set all, the future coach of David Nalbandian started packing all his belongings and left the victory to Tom Vanhoudt. Reason given: "Suddenly, I realized that I just didn't want to play anymore. "
Leave after arguing after your doubles partner
It seems that it is better to be in love with your partner to play well in mixed doubles. It was not at all the case of Ken Flach and Patty Fendick, who teamed up once and only once, at the US Open 1990. Ken Flach, this thug with a mullet, who had "stole" a crucial point to Leconte and Noah in the doubles final in 1985. Asked by Fendick to stop challenging arbitration decisions, he decided to leave him high and dry in the middle of the first round.
Leave because you can’t stand the umpire anymore
Fifth set of the semi-final between Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors in Boca West in 1986, the ancestor of the current Masters 1000 in Miami. Since the chair umpire, Jeremy Shales, refused to be intimidated by the protests of Connors at 3-2, break point, Connors tried to frown at him. Point penalty. The American became even crazier and started to insult him. Penalty game, 5-2 for Lendl. Connors packed his bag and left the court - ultimate irony - shaking hands with the umpire. A 21-day suspension for the American who would later miss the entire clay court season.
Leave because you can’t stand the umpire anymore (2)
The last player to storm off to date in an ATP tournament, in 2008. Doubles match in Nottingham: Chris Haggard service was announced out, while his teammate Dmitry Tursunov undertook a standoff with the umpire, who didn't reconsider his decision. Severity at every level: also disqualified in singles, Tursunov was deprived of his prize money and had to pay for his hotel room.
Leave to survive
In Davis Cup, the South American public unsurprisingly won the prize for the most intimidating stands. Calmer today, Brazilian spectators had pushed Thomas Muster to "bugger off" during a match in 1996. They were throwing stones at him, insulting him, screaming... "I felt like my life was at risk," explained the Austrian, who thought that his team could win the match on the green carpet. Except they actually were punished.
Leave under the public’s pressure
1976 and 1978 in Rome - at the time of the maddest tifosis - two opponents of Adriano Panatta felt it safer to leave and let the victory to the Italian star. Harold Solomon in 1976 and Jose Higueras in 1978. The latter left after seeing beer bottles flying in his direction... The chair umpire, Bertie Brown, had also to leave... a few minutes earlier. Benvenuto!