Saturday, January 21, 2012

Baghdatis causes racket as rage goes viral

Updated January 20, 2012 08:27:18

Four broken racquets, $1,250 worth of fines and more than 200,000 hits on YouTube was all it needed for Marcos Baghdatis to enter Australian Open folklore.

Video footage of the 26-year-old Cypriot's spectacular display of fury and pique in his second round loss to Stanislas Wawrinka on Margaret Court Arena was broadcast around the world on television before it went viral on Thursday.

"I haven't seen that," Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic said on Thursday. "I heard about it. I haven't seen that. I'm going to go to YouTube now, check that out."

While Baghdatis's 30-second outburst of incandescent rage actually helped him temporarily turn around his performance before Wawrinka won their encounter in four sets, other players at Melbourne Park had different feelings on the matter.

"I'm not surprised that he broke a racquet," said women's fourth seed Maria Sharapova, whose own expletive-riddled outbursts against umpires and crowds have ended up on the video sharing website.

"Personally I haven't broken too many in my career. Don't recall breaking one during a match. [I] have broken a couple at practice.

"But [it] must be a good feeling. I mean... just let it all go, I guess."

Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, who said she had smashed a few of her own racquets in her time, expressed a veiled admiration for Baghdatis's effort.

"I do smash racquets sometimes. Last time I smashed not as many, but I smashed three racquets. That was US Open I think in '09," she said.

"I lost [the] match after being a match point up. I was quite upset [but] it didn't really make me better, so I decided, 'what's the point'?"

Five-times Australian Open champion Serena Williams also expressed some admiration at Baghdatis's ability to go through four racquets in quick succession.

"I've never done that. That's impressive, wow," said Williams, who has fallen foul of authorities at recent US Open tournaments for her rants against the umpiring.

"I actually used to break a lot of racquets on the court. I sometimes break them in practice, just not in a match anymore.

"I think when you're young it kind of maybe lets out a little frustration. It's just a way to express yourself.

"I can't necessarily go and say you shouldn't do that when I was actually someone that did it a lot.

"But it's definitely not the best way to release your anger. I think the older you get, you realise there's more different ways."

Djokovic, whose own tempestuous behaviour earlier in his career was as well known as his developing talent, broke his racket in rage against Baghdatis at Wimbledon last year.

"I'm not doing it as often, which is good for my coach," Djokovic said. "But when I have a smash of the racquet, smack of the racquet, I usually feel relieved afterwards. I feel that the pressure is out.

"But a bit embarrassed, as well. So I try to hold my composure."

France's sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who appears unflappable on court, however, said he had never smashed a racquet in his life and had a simple reason for his restraint.

"Sometimes you get angry and it's difficult to control yourself but my father told me all the time, 'if you broke the racquet, I broke you'.

"So I go easy with the racquet."


Tags: australian-open, tennis, sport, australia, vic, melbourne-3000

First posted January 20, 2012 08:27:18

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