LONDON: David Nalbandian issued a second apology for his sensational disqualification from Queen’s Club as the fiery Argentine faced a possible lengthy ban in the aftermath of a second spectacular meltdown this year.
The 30-year-old was defaulted from the Queen’s final for angrily kicking an advertising board at a line judge which left the official suffering a gashed and bloodied leg (above).
The Argentine was stripped of his runners-up cheque, worth 44,945 Euro ($56,802), and 150 ATP ranking points, which he would have earned as a beaten finalist.
He could also be hit with a 10,000 euro ($12,638) fine, which will be decided by ATP chiefs at a later date.
But he could also face an eight-week ban having also been fined $8,000 for throwing water at an Australian Open tournament worker in January following a five-set defeat to America’s John Isner. Having already apologised on court for his actions, Nalbandian issued a further statement through the ATP late Sunday in an effort to limit the damage just a week ahead of Wimbledon where he was runner-up 10 years ago.
“I never intended to hit him [the line judge], it was an unfortunate reaction in which I wanted to let off steam after losing a point,” he said.
“I had the opportunity to personally apologise to the line umpire for this regrettable act that I am fully responsible for.”
Although Nalbandian was contrite about the actual incident, he had also vented his frustrations at the ATP.
He claimed officials impose too many rules on players, including asking them to play in the kind of slippery conditions that have been commonplace over the last few days at Queen’s, a traditional warm-up event for Wimbledon.