Serena Williams and the 20 Worst Temper Tantrums in Tennis History

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentOctober 17, 2011

Serena Williams and the 20 Worst Temper Tantrums in Tennis History

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    A forehand away from a moment of genius, yet a then 16-year-old Roger Federer was also an unforced error away from a temper tantrum. The Swiss maestro reminisced on his days as a volatile firebrand,

    “I was getting kicked out of practice sessions non-stop when I was 16,” he said.

    At 17, he decided to see a sports psychologist because he wanted to mask his emotions like Ivan Lendl, as opposed to suffering a meltdown like John McEnroe.

    Maybe Serena Williams and 19 other tennis players need to see sports psychologists to control their temper.

    Without further ado, here is Serena Williams and the 20 worse temper tantrums in tennis history

20. Serena Williams: Passion or Vulgarity?

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    During the 1997 U.S. Open, Irina Spîrlea decided to fight fire with fire and bumped into Venus Williams during the changeover after Venus refused to move around. Spîrlea memorably said, “She thinks she's the f***ing Venus Williams.”

    However, it’s been Serena Williams who has been a magnet for controversy.

    In the 2009 U.S. Open semi-finals, trailing 4-6, 5-6, 15-30, Serena was called for a foot fault on her second serve.

    She pointed her racquet at lineswoman Shino Tsurubuchi and shouted, “I'm going to shove this f***ing ball down your f***ing throat.”

    Now down 15-40, Serena was docked a point for a code violation and lost the match in ignominious fashion.

    Two years later in the U.S. Open final against Samantha Stosur, Serena lost it after being docked a point for a code violation.

    “Really, don't even look at me. If you ever see me walking down the hall, walk the other way. Because you're out of control. Totally out of control. You're a hater, you're unattractive inside. Who would do such a thing? And I never complain. Wow,” she said to umpire Eva Asderaki.

19. 18-Year-Old Martina Hingis Crumbles Under the Pressure

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    During the 1999 French Open final, world No. 1, Martina Hingis, completely crossed the lines of tennis etiquette.

    To this day, I’m confused as to why she didn’t get defaulted for crossing into Steffi Graf’s side of the court.

    Factor in her taking a bathroom break at the start of the third set, serving underarm and storming off the court, and you have the makings of a tantrum.

18. Lleyton Hewitt’s Racist Moment

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    During the 2001 U.S. Open second round against James Blake, the stress on Lleyton Hewitt’s reached its peak after being called for two foot faults by a black linesman.

    Hewitt then stated, “Look at him. Look at him and you tell me what the similarity is. Just get him off the court.”

    What saved Hewitt is that he did not specify what similarity he was referring too.

    It was this technicality which saw him avoid a potentially very ugly public relations crisis.

    Years later, Blake taunted Hewitt by imitating the Australian’s “come on!!!” gesture at the Australian Open.

17. Venting to Beat Olivier Rochus

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    It was a strange sightseeing 6’6” Juan Martín Del Potro being outhit by the 5’7” Olivier Rochus.

    In reality, Del Potro probably wasn’t being outhit, more so his fragile mentality was causing him to lose.

    Having lost the first set, and with play halted, the Argentinian released some stress by launching his shoes into the crowd.

    If not for the break in play, I believe Rochus would have caused a monumental upset because he was looking sharp, whilst it seemed Del Potro was looking for a way out.

16. Tim Henman and Caroline Hall

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    Before embarking on his fabled so-close-yet-so-far Wimbledon runs, a 20-year-old Tim Henman had to accept the reputation as the Englishman who got disqualified for being ungentlemanly like.

    In a doubles match, a frustrated Henman expressed himself when he clocked a tennis ball which unfortunately hit ball girl Caroline Hall in the side of her face.

    “I was sat down and got an ice pack on my face. Apparently the ball was clocked at 92 m.p.h, and it did hurt a bit, but I'd have carried on if I could. No one asked my opinion, but I was saying ‘No, no, don't disqualify him,’” Hall said.

15. Andy Murray Angry for Winning a Point

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    During the 2009 Monte Carlo Open against Nikolay Davydenko, with the game poised at 7-6, 5-4, 40-40, Andy Murray launched into a tirade fearing the umpire had ruled against him.

    When in fact, the umpire had ruled in favour of him.

    Oh, it’s gold. No wonder Roger Federer gets so irate with the Scot, because his mannerisms really are bothersome.

14. Greg Rusedski Losing It

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    During the 2003 Wimbledon second round against Andy Roddick, in the clash of the big servers, Greg Rusedski cracked.

    A spectator shouted "out" on a Roddick backhand, Rusedski did not continue playing the rally, unaware that the call had come from a spectator.

    Rusedski lost his serve and during the changeover left no stone unturned.

    “I can't do anything if the f****ing crowd calls it. It's absolutely f****ing ridiculous. It's frigging ridiculous. Some w***er in the crowd changed the whole match and you allowed it to happen. Well done. Absolute s***,” he said.

13. Andy Roddick's John McEnroe Impressions

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    There’s too many instances to signal out one, but to Andy Roddick’s defence, he's generally in the right—and some of his comebacks are just awesome.

    Though you’d think waking up to Brooklyn Decker and being a multi-millionaire, would cheer Roddick up but, it seems he’s always grumpy.

12. Dmitry Tursunov: A Threat to Umpires

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    A few years back, Dmitry Tursunov was the man you wanted to avoid, because his go-for-gold power game was so dangerous.

    Tursunov was also dangerous to umpires, as Fergus Murphy found out when the angry Russian smashed a ball in the Irishman’s direction.

    Then Tursunov went a step further, calling Murphy an idiot and comparing him to Saddam Hussein.

11. Jonas Björkman Goes Bonkers

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    Translation: [Inserts derogative adjective towards a woman] You f****ing  maniac! You're f****ing stupid, you know that? It’s not the f****ing first time you're ruining it.

10. Jeff Tarango and His Wife

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    This is the ultimate scapegoating of an umpire.

    With the crowd booing Jeff Tarango, he told the crowd to shut up and in response, umpire Bruno Rebeuh called a code violation.

    Tarango called Rebeuh the most corrupt official in the game and marched off the court in protest.

    Tarango’s wife then slapped Rebeuh twice.

    Talk about angry people.

9. Victor Hănescu: Victim or Villain?

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    I remember watching this and thinking what on earth is happening. It was such an unsavoury moment by Victor Hănescu, yet it was later revealed he was subjected to xenophobic and highly offensive abuse.

8. Ilie Năstase Inspires John McEnroe

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    During the U.S. Open against John McEnroe, Ilie Năstase basically said it’s either me or umpire Frank Hammond. The tournament sided with Năstase.

    John McEnroe took note.

7. Jimmy Connors Acting Like a 5-Year-Old

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    No wonder Chris Evert left him.

6. Xavier Malisse Losing Even When He's Winning

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    The sad thing about Xavier Malisse being defaulted against David Ferrer was that he was leading 6-3, 5-5.

    The Belgian just went off the rails and not only got himself disqualified, but he lost his prize money.

    He’s really an enigma, he has so much talent but for whatever reason, I suspect mental, he hasn’t lived up to his potential.

5. Marat Safin Practicing What He Does Best

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    Video proof that Marat Safin does practice smashing his racquets before a match. If only, he showed more restrain in matches like he did in practice.

    He once smashed 48 racquets in one season.

4. Goran Ivanišević Preparation for Wimbledon

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    How to lose a match?

    Run out of racquets because you smashed them all.

3. "You Cannot Be Serious!"

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    John McEnroe is the reason they created hawk-eye—ok, don’t quote me on that.

    I bet McEnroe would still argue against hawk-eye, almost like Roger Federer making pointless challenges almost as if to catch hawk-eye out.

    It was only until McEnroe was 30 years old that umpire Gerry Armstrong had enough courage to disqualify him in a Grand Slam for repeated code violations.

2. Mikhail Youzhny’s Self-Mutilation

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    Mikhail Youzhny single act of self-mutilation reinforced the crazy Russian stereotype.

    What's amazing is that he still won the match.

1. Assault on the Court

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    Rather than throw verbal grenades, Stefan Koubek decided to take it one step too far when he choked Daniel Köllerer.


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