Ernests Gulbis' comment to l'Equipe that "tennis today badly lacks characters” is a reminder that the sport has provided a number of controversial athletes over the years. But who were the most controversial tennis players in history?
Sometimes players become controversial because of their words or actions. Sometimes they become innocent victims of controversy because of their situation. In most cases, a player must have been among the best players in his or her era to warrant enough attention to become controversial.
A number of players barely missed making our list. Pancho Gonzales, Lleyton Hewitt, Billie Jean King, Andre Agassi, Sarah Gronert, Gottfried Von Cramm, Daniel Nalbandian, Margaret Court, Michael Llodra and even Gulbis were considered.
But they did not seem to have the polarizing effect of the dozen players we selected. We begin with a spot devoted to controversial attire, then present a countdown of the 12 most controversial tennis players in history.