Nine is the number, and the number is nine. No more, no less.
Eight whacks wouldn’t cut it for Mikhail Youzhny, who came down with his latest bout of racket rage at the French Open on Monday.
The Russian tennis player lost his first set against Tommy Haas and was in the midst of losing his second when he attempted to exorcise his demons on the top of his chair, according to Nick Zaccardi of SportsIllustrated.com.
Youzhny went to town, chopping his racket down a total of nine times on the seat before throwing it away in disgust.
If you want to make absolutely sure you are going to break your racquet, then smash it into your chair 9 times as Mikhail Youzhny just did.— Russell Fuller (@russellcfuller) June 3, 2013
The racket splintered and warped, but considering Youzhny was “chopping that wood” like John Turturro in Mr. Deeds, the fact it remained in (more or less) one piece was remarkable.
Nonetheless, the No. 29 seed went on to lose the match in straight sets (1-6, 1-6, 3-6).
In the post-match news conference, he gave a sterling review of the equipment as he explained his meltdown to the media, via SI.com:
Question: Have you ever beat your racket up so badly before?
Youzhny: Yeah, it was sometimes.
Question: Have you ever managed to knock the head off?
Youzhny: You know, in this situation you try to do everything maybe can help you come back to the court. But I try this way; it doesn’t help really.
Question: Who’s your racket manufacturer?
Question: Do you think they’ll keep letting you use their rackets?
Youzhny: Yeah, actually I play in Head 20 years already. It’s good rackets. It was problems, not...You know, so it’s bad luck for that racket.
Bad luck indeed. The 30-year-old pro didn’t have much good fortune at this year’s French Open, but the silver lining here is that Youzhny didn’t slam the racket against his face like he did at the Sony Ericsson Open in 2008.
Youzhny also didn’t get weird and spell “Sorri” in the clay like he did after losing at the 2012 French Open.
Just remember, Mikhail—a few deep breaths might be the difference between free Heads for life and having to grovel for a new sponsor.