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Be careful Naomi! Three infamous Grand Slam defaults

Naomi Osaka has been threatened with disqualification from the ongoing French Open by Grand Slam organisers if she continues her media boycott at Roland Garros.

She was fined $15,000 for skipping her post-match press conference on Sunday and could face heftier punishments if she does not back down.

Here, AFP Sport looks at three infamous defaults at tennis’ Grand Slam tournaments:

Novak Djokovic: 2020 US Open

— Perhaps the most memorable default in major history came only eight months ago when world number one Djokovic was disqualified after accidentally striking a female line judge with a ball in frustration.

The Serbian star’s last-16 match against Pablo Carreno Busta lasted less than one set, as Djokovic hit the ball away in disgust after being broken to fall 6-5 behind, with it hitting the line judge in the throat.

Djokovic pleaded his case to the umpire and tournament referee Soeren Friemel, but after 10 minutes of discussion it was announced that the top seed’s US Open was over.

He went then directly to his car and left the Flushing Meadows site in New York without speaking to reporters.

“I’m extremely sorry to have caused her such stress. So unintended. So wrong,” Djokovic later said in an apology posted on social media.

Jeff Tarango: 1995 Wimbledon

— Tarango argued repeatedly with chair umpire Bruno Rebeuh during a third round match against Alexander Mronz and the American refused to continue to play, effectively defaulting himself.

Rebeuh gave him code violation for telling spectators to “shut up”, claiming it was an audible obscenity.

Tarango accused Rebeuh of being “one of the most corrupt officials in the game” so Rebeuh gave the American another code violation.

Tarango packed up his racquets and stormed off the court. Tarango’s wife then slapped Rebeuh twice in the face.

John McEnroe: 1990 Australian Open

— One of McEnroe’s most notorious tantrums. Facing Sweden’s Mikael Pernfors, he was warned for intimidating a lineswoman, docked a point for smashing a racquet and shouted at a fan whose baby was crying.

He then abused tournament supervisor Ken Farrar. Umpire Gerry Armstrong immediately disqualified the American who admitted later: “I can’t say I’m surprised. It was bound to happen.”

McEnroe also said he had misunderstood the rules, not realising they had changed to a three-strike process for a default rather than the previous four-strike system.

Not a modern phenomenon

— However, getting kicked out of Grand Slam events isn’t new.

The last player to be defaulted before McEnroe was Spaniard Willie Alvarez at the French Championships in 1963.

American Earl Cochell was defaulted from the US Championships in 1951 and banned for life from the sport for arguing with officials. He was allowed to return in 1962 but his best days were long behind him.


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