Update from Wednesday, Jan. 22
Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times reports the Spaniard will face no further action:
"It's been reviewed; no further action." -#AusOpen ref Wayne McEwan on Ferrer's shove. Poor ruling in my mind--should be zero tolerance.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 22, 2014
Sports Illustrated reported the initial crime, which took place during Tuesday's semifinal against Tomas Berdych:
Yahoo! Eurosport's live coverage of Tuesday's quarterfinal reported that the incident came just before Ferrer claimed the third set in his 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 loss to Berdych:
Berdych lets out a shout of frustration as he nets a forehand while Ferrer cruises to the hold that consolidates the break. There are ugly scenes though as Ferrer wants the towel from behind a lines judge and shoves the man in question aside to get to it. No need for that at all.
Ferrer, who was unable to gain significant momentum throughout the match, let frustration get the better of him in a contest that rarely went his way.
The Spaniard lost the first set in barely half an hour, managing to win just one game. Things improved slightly during the second and third sets, culminating in Ferrer edging back into the clash by winning the latter, but Berdych's dominance was assured when he capitalised on a break point to push for victory during the fourth set.
Ferrer's frustration was compounded by statistics that highlight the 31-year-old didn't have a particularly joyous day.
He hit 30 winners compared to Berdych's 43 and could only serve a duo of aces against an opponent who fired 10, per the Australian Open's official website. Perhaps most vitally, Ferrer took advantage of only three break opportunities from 12, letting his rival off the hook at crucial moments.
Unfortunately for Ferrer, this isn't the first time he has succumbed to the difficulties of top-level tennis in front of the public eye. Back in 2011, he fired a ball toward a crying baby during the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, per Daniel Bates of the Daily Mail:
Although the Australian crowd didn't turn on Ferrer for his most recent outburst, the incident is certainly something he will not want to repeat.
In June 2012, David Nalbandian lost his £36,500 prize money and was fined €10,000 after inflicting injury on a line judge during the AEGON Championships final at Queen's Club. Nalbandian violently kicked an advertising board into his victim, as reported by Telegraph Sport:
While Ferrer's incident certainly wasn't as extreme as the Argentinian's swipe, he is lucky not to find himself in trouble for putting his hand on the judge. It was an unnecessary footnote, and one that was never going to help the struggling player find his way back into the match.