French tennis player Benoit Paire, ranked number 55 in the world ATP rankings, threw a memorable tantrum in his three-set loss to Marcos Baghdatis at the hardcourt U.S. Open tuneup tournament Washington, D.C.
The Citi Open tennis player demonstrated agitation, which began to show in the third set when he was down 4-2.
After hitting the ball into the net to lose the next game (to fall behind 5-2), Paire became unhinged. He sat on the ground before furiously slamming his racket four times, ultimately breaking it. Upon arising from the ground, he then threw the mangled racket near the middle of the court.
Paire walked the sideline for a court changeover, stomping near his equipment before slamming yet another racket into the court.
As Paire sat on the bench and hydrated, a point penalty was issued by the judge. Two ball kids were left to pick up the two broken rackets, which eventually became souvenirs.
Baghdatis, infamous for his own viral racket-smashing episode in 2012, made an attempt to calm his opponent. Nevertheless, Paire brushed him off and finished the final game without much resistance, completing the 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 loss. As the two players met near the net, Paire threw his racket one more time.
Tennis expert, Ron Waite, highlights numerous reasons in which professional tennis players have demonstrated anger on the court. Waite explains, “First, tennis is primarily an individual sport. Granted many play doubles, but when playing singles, a player is truly on her or his own. Even when coaching is permitted, the singles player must play the points alone. For those of us who have competed in front of audiences, the feeling of being alone and the associated self-pressure is exacerbated. Anger will only amplify our ‘solitary’ feelings.”
Paire was fined $16,500 for his actions.