Cheryl Murray

  • Why the ATP must punish Grigor Dimitrov

    2010-12-03 19:15:28

    The stress of not winning is clearly getting to Grigor Dimitrov. Not familiar with him, you say? Allow me to acquaint you. He was actually called the “next Roger Federer”. He procured one-time Federer coach Peter Lundgren to guide him in his quest for greatness. He is also ranked a career-high 106 in the world currently. Yes, you read that right. The “next Roger Federer” is 19 years old and has not broken the top 100.

    He is no longer coached by Lundgren, who has now moved on to Stanislas Wawrinka. And people aren’t saying the “Roger Federer” thing anymore either (which, come to think of it, is probably a good thing, since Richard Gasquet was also supposed to be the next Fed).

    Please understand that I don’t hold it against Mr. Dimitrov for other people saying that he’s like Federer. The kid can’t help what people say about him and it is no crime to be one of the top 106 tennis players in the world.

    Sadly, Mr. Dimitrov doesn’t seem to agree with me about the No. 106 thing. Either that or he had a really bad case of Court that post-court rage.

    Here’s what happened. Last week Dimitrov participated in a Challenger event in Helsinki, in which he lost in the semifinals to Richard Berankis. Players lose at Challenger events all the time. So, what’s the story here? Well, apparently Mr. Dimitrov determined that the loss was the fault of chair umpire Daniel Infanger.

    And in a stroke of 19 year old genius, Dimitrov proceeded to track Infanger down after the match, shoved him in the chest (with both hands, a Finnish paper reports) and swore and screamed at him. They had to be broken up by a colleague of Infanger’s. I’m sorry...but whaaa??????????

    Dimitrov was fined 2000 Euros for the attack and the ATP is investigating further to see if suspension is in order. Are they KIDDING me? They even have to debate that? Generally speaking, I have nothing against the Bulgarian, but physically assaulting a chair umpire is a BIG deal.

    I understand “the heat of the moment” and how anyone can lose their head in the right situation, but there is a reason that the ATP has rules to protect officials. Can you imagine how dreadful the sport would be if we allowed players to physically intimidate our chair umpires and linespeople? It would be Jimmy Connors to the tenth power.

    Look at the backlash the Serena Williams incident created. And in that case, all she did was yell at the lineswoman. I truly hope the ATP is swift and harsh in this case.

Tell a friend »


it was very bad how williams was yelling at and insulting the lineswoman. that may well be much worse than to shove someone in the locker room. how brutal that shove was is impossible to judge by merely citing a finnish gossip magazine... just because it is physical doesn't mean it's worse. .

most likely the atp won't make public any investigation of what actually happened.

croc , 12/4/10 3:05 PM

What Serena did was very bad but to say it was worse than a physical encounter is ludicrous. The rules are there to protect the players AND the officials. The fact that the physical encounter was in the locker room, away from prying eyes, which means that it could've ended up alot worse than if it had happened in full view of the spectators, makes it suspension time in my eyes. Who is to say the next time Dimitrov gets mad and is looking to find someone to blame for his loss, that he won't get physical and possibly hurt another player in the locker room? Violence, no matter how 'little' SOME view it, whether it is against a player, spectator or official cannot be condoned!

fan4tennis , 12/4/10 4:44 PM

-'The stress of not winning..' 50 wins of his last 60 matches, is it 'not winning'?
-'Not familiar with him...' if you are not familiar with the junior champion of Wimbledon and US Open and the boy who had a junior high rank of world #1, you have to think about changing you job ;)
-'?next Roger Federer? is 19 years old and has not broken the top 100' answer me one question: where was Federer when he was 19? hmm i know the answer but do you?
You and you anonymous site are not doing anything else than making people lough ;)

bubo , 12/4/10 4:50 PM

?The immunity of the umpire is a sacred thing in sports. You can disagree with calls but this was way out of line? said the president of the Finnish umpire?s association Antti Aine, who saw the incident close up.??The Bulgarian got a 2000 dollar fine for the incident and according to tournament supervisor Carmelo Di Dio it is possible that the ATP will give further penalties to Dimitrov.?

Doesn't sound like a gossip rag trying to spread rumores to me croc. The President of the Finnish Umpire Assoc (who witnessed it), tourney directors and the ATP organization are involved. In looking at his past behavior (which includes more temper tantrums including flipping off the umpire instead of shaking his hand), shows that this may not be an isolated incident.

fan4tennis , 12/4/10 4:57 PM

fan4t: of course I agree with you. If this is true, then Dimitrov has stepped way over the line. In the UK he could find himself in court on an assault charge. Have been watching a bit of the Davis Cup and feel very sorry for the umpire there. Even if he/she is wrong, players must accept this and move on, otherwise matches will descend into chaos.

deuce , 12/4/10 5:16 PM

bubo - of course I know where feds was ranked at 19. 40s, then 30s then making his way to the top 20.

Dimitrov might be winning matches, but he is NOT winning them at tour level, because if he were, his ranking would surely be higher than 106 in the world. Not to mention the fact that you've missed the entire point of the post...he PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED a chair umpire. Hello.

cherylmurray , 12/4/10 7:01 PM

croc - because it's physical absolutely DOES mean its worse. Don't believe me? Check out any country's civil laws. Do you think you get in more trouble for SAYING you're going to hurt somebody or actually doing it?

F4T and deuce - yes, he has a history of bad behavior, but this is WAY above and beyond normal bad behavior. He needs to have his backside suspended for a good long while.

cherylmurray , 12/4/10 7:04 PM

cheryl and deuce, I totally agree with you! A PHYSICAL encounter like that deserves to be punished. I was incensed when I read from croc that he thought that Serena's VERBAL assault was worse than Dimitrov's PHYSICAL assault. I was also incredulous at the pittance they fined him, when you compare it to Serena's and fed's fines from their VERBAL rants at the USO. But then I thought that maybe they base a fine on his ability to pay or percentage of his income, which can't be very much, whereas Serena and fed are millionaires. Not sure how that works.

If the ATP can't enforce rules that are there to protect the players, officials and the spectators, then what good are they? If they don't suspend him, what kind of message do they send out to the players and officials working a match? Is this reminiscent of the episode with a player (forget the name offhand) that was allowed to play even tho he was supposed to be suspended?

fan4tennis , 12/4/10 7:22 PM

Getting angry with the umpire during the match is one thing, but assaulting him after the match is quite another. This is very unacceptable, what would prevent players sending in their strong men to 'deal' with a court official afterwards. During the match it is understandable to have a go at the umpire on the spur of the moment, but to physically or even verbally attack him afterwards is serious.

As for being the next Roger Federer, give him time, at 19 Roger was in the top 45 and he had no titles so Grigor is on the right track, and he is half way there with the ranking.

nadline , 12/4/10 8:24 PM

Grigor is definitely not the next Rafael Nadal because at 19 Nadal was No 2 in the world with 12 titles under his belt.

There isn't going to be another Rafael Nadal, the mould was broken after he was made.

nadline , 12/4/10 9:09 PM

By the end of 2000, Rog was knocking on the door of the top 20. Dimitrov isn't even winning tour-level matches yet.

cherylmurray , 12/4/10 11:53 PM

i do not hear why Grigor was so angry about. The score was pretty crazy 7-5 0-6 6-1.
he did not really assault but probably touched the guy to get his attention.
if they punish the teenager that would be a discrimination. berankis is scandinavian so are the finish.
willims wa not banned and she had a public display of extreme profanity on one of the most prominent tennis events in the world...
why i never hear umpires being also punished for their bias or bad judgment...
if they kill grigor's career that would be extremely unfair. they didn't do that to other players for drug use. they have to give him a warning and make him get therapy or any sort of help. he is only 19 and unfair at this age seems like losing your life... he comes from a not respected country and that would be discrimination. if people separate him from his country of origin all was going to be different.
nobody cares who other people decide to call him - fed or nadal - this has nothing to do with him.

wishwelltennis , 12/5/10 12:41 AM

Berankis is not scandinavian, he is Baltic. Technically only Denmark, Sweden and Norway make up Scandinavia

SGHIceman , 12/5/10 1:45 AM

I say ban him for 3 months that way he has to start his season on clay. Could there be a worse punishment?

Let's not give up on this guy yet. He can still be great.

numero , 12/5/10 4:00 AM

wishwell - the Finnish official who was there reported that another chair umpire had to "break them up". That suggests that the encounter was intense enough that onlookers were worried for Infanger's safety.

Serena was not banned because, while offensive, her actions were not physical in nature. If the reports are accurate, Dimitrov engaged in screaming, swearing AND shoving. He crossed a SERIOUS line and the ATP needs to make a statement when they dish out his punishment. In any other sport, that would be cause for IMMEDIATE suspension. Rightly so.

cherylmurray , 12/5/10 4:02 AM

Berankis is Lithuanian, no?

cherylmurray , 12/5/10 4:03 AM

"... he comes from a not respected country and that would be discrimination."

Ah, wishwelltennis, who's being discriminatory???

And if the physical safety of officials is not sacrosanct then the sport is in serious trouble.

sukhumvit , 12/5/10 4:51 AM

ATP must punish Grigor Dimitrov!
That guy should be ashamed for what he's done.

sedona , 12/5/10 5:32 AM

numero: ;)
level555: ?

deuce , 12/5/10 8:57 AM

Some people will do anything to get their own thread by cheryl on TT :)

nadline , 12/5/10 9:19 AM

You and you anonymous site are not doing anything else than making people lough ;)

bubo , 12/4/10 4:50 PM

Hey, this is a lighted site where everyone is allowed an opinion, so give Cheryl some slack, the majority of the regular contributors on TT like her blogs even if we don't always agree with everything she says.

nadline , 12/5/10 10:38 AM

Apparently, some people here are not familiar with human psychology, otherwise they would have acknowledged the obvious fact that between pushing (what Dimitrov did) and a threat to kill somebody (what Williams did), the latter has more damaging effect upon the victim. Moreover, Williams had her outburst at an Open, which is far more important tournament, observed by tens of millions all over the world (including millions of kids), than a Challenger, where Dimitrov's incident was reported by some local newspaper.

Serena Williams was fined for her death threats and that was the end of the story, so I don't see any reason as to why Dimitrov should be banned from playing, such punishment would be utterly hypocritical. You should understand, that I definitely do not find his behavior excusable, and think he should be additionally fined and put on probation for a certain period of time. This would be fair.

LTs , 12/5/10 12:13 PM

I cannot believe the number of people on here that actually, truly believe that what Serena did was worse, so therefore Dimitrov should not be suspended or worse.

Ask yourselves this......would you prefer that someone yell at you or would you rather somone physically shove you to where someone else had to step in and break it apart?

What Serena did was bad, everyone agrees to that. BUTTTTTT.....she did it within FULL view (and she knew it too) of the spectators AND cameras and other umpires. She has said she knew what she did was wrong and also that if she had laid ONE finger on the linejudge, that she would've likely been banned. Waiting until your out of camera range and spectator range and have more privacy to 'vent like you want' is inherently more dangerous. What if no one had been there to break it up? He shoved the official with BOTH hands as it is reported on several articles, not just the Finnish ones. I have been shoved by someone with both of their hands and I ended up stumbling backwards and falling down. It is NOT a minor thing. I felt 'safe' so to speak, BECAUSE THERE WERE WITNESSES SO THE ASSAULTER WOULD NOT GO FURTHER WITH HIS ATTACK!!!!!!!

AS far as discrimination, I myself was not thinking any particular country when I posted. I feel what Dimitrov did was wrong, NO MATTER WHAT COUNTRY HE IS FROM! What Serena did was wrong and I was glad to see her fined heavily. I think it is more certain people have players they support from certain countries and those fans are concentrating on that and are basically being discriminatory themselves without realizing it.

I don't know about most people, but I would gladly take someone yelling at me, a VERBAL ASSAULT, over a physical encounter anyday!!!! If I were to do something like Dimitrov did, I would certainly expect to be punished!

fan4tennis , 12/5/10 2:43 PM

cherylmurray - we do not know what the umpire did before the incident, right.
the other person may just needed to break them not from a physical interaction. because then would have been wrestling and it wasn't. it was not said that dimitrov did start beating him, but he just pushed him, once I assume, in the chest to get his attention. peoples' ill imagination makes me sick. i assume that for this crazy score on the match, the umpire had to have made a really bad call and maybe more than once. well i know competitive tennis and i have seen this happening.

wishwelltennis , 12/5/10 3:09 PM

Cheryl wrote: "He crossed a SERIOUS line and the ATP needs to make a statement when they dish out his punishment. In any other sport, that would be cause for IMMEDIATE suspension. Rightly so."

In the US, the officials are protected from this type of act by the rules of sport. That is why you see youtube stuff of players and coaches yelling at the officials, usually with their hands behind their backs so they don't touch the umpire. In football and baseball, if you touch the official, usually you are kicked out of the game at that moment and know there is possible further punishment coming.

Every fan of sport is used to bad calls from judges (is one reason they instituted instant replay in American football), but we are just as used to temper tantrums from players of all sports and bad plays by players (just read about the NFL and their stance on "hard-hitting" recently). Saying it is okay to start hitting or shoving officials, because we don't like their bad calls is ludicrous. There are many officials out there that have consistently proved they are great officials, but yes make a mistake every now and then, and they should not fear retribution from a player for a call they make.

fan4tennis , 12/5/10 3:10 PM

I agree with LT and disagree with the vulturous behavior toward a teenager and the mild attitude toward a 30 year old tennis star's behavior... this is wrong! everybody makes mistakes and more at an early age. this should not be tolerated at all, but should be given a chance to learn from the experience and he was fined already and he did see what people think and he can start taking therapy sessions.... if he does it again, then it should be punished more severely. nobody knows what happened exactly... the initial source is very subjective and there is not enough information for a correct judgment...

wishwelltennis , 12/5/10 3:20 PM

wishwell - yes, everyone makes mistakes, but that doesn't mean that they should be left unpunished.

Incidentally, Serena did NOT threaten to kill that lineswoman. She admitted later that she misunderstood what Serena said. What serena did was threaten to shove the *&^%ing tennis ball down her throat. Poor taste? yes. Did she deserve to be punished? yes. Is it the same thing as entering into a physical altercation with an official? OF COURSE NOT.

cherylmurray , 12/5/10 3:28 PM

People here didn't have a "mild attitude" toward Serena's behavior wishwell. You obviously weren't around over a year ago when there were blogs about her behavior and from what I noticed, on this blog, NO ONE is saying her behavior was okay and EVERYONE is saying it was right that she was punished.

Dimitrov is 19 years old, hanging on to being a teenager by a very thin string age-wise, and definitely old enough to know better. Should officials be punished because of Dimitrov's own lack of maturity and common sense? I've seen more maturity and common sense from 15-16 year old boys that play sports, and that includes those you see in the Olympics!

fan4tennis , 12/5/10 3:43 PM

it is good that it happened sooner than later, he is young and will learn his lesson. no need for a witch hunt here.

rfzr , 12/5/10 5:37 PM

there should be ways to punish without affecting a developing career - monetary penalties, point penalties etc.

Look at football... you can do lot worse and get a red card and miss a game, that is it.

rafanadalfanforever , 12/5/10 9:06 PM

by the way, the blog belittles him too much.. it speaks as if he WAS touted to be the next big thing and is no longer so and has fallen into losing ways etc.. He IS still winning a lot and is probably going to play in AO 2011..

By the way, he had taken a set off nadal in rotterdam.... he caught eyes for the first time then (he was 17)

here's the Dim Vs rafa video: (check for the amazing shot to break rafa)

A nd here is Wilson 'We are Next' promo for Tennis Next Generation stars, featuring Laura Robson and Grigor Dimitrov: rder&list=UL

He uses Wilson, that makes him comparable to federer in one more thing :) (not just the one handed backhand)

And an article comparing him to fed: (it was just a few months ago and not ancient history as this blog tries to portray): erer/

rafanadalfanforever , 12/5/10 9:28 PM

Comparing Dimitrov to Fed is too far fetched though, still a long way to go for him. How about comparing him to Tomic and Harrison, both about one or two years his junior. How do the two fare compared to Dimitrov? Also there is this Filip guy from Serbia, Bambri from India and also Davin Briton and Chase Buchanan from States. I hope all these youngsters will make tennis interesting, after Rafa/Nole/Murray/Delpo have done their part. Oh there is also this Spanish kid Carlos Beluda, age 17. Plenty to look out for in future, I hope.

luckystar , 12/6/10 5:09 AM

As regards swearing at an umpire, Dimitrov is close to Fed.

Augustina08 , 12/6/10 10:11 AM

i think threatening to kill someone and choking them by forcing balls down their throat is more severe than shoving someone. i think the former behaviour is usually also considered more severe in civil court

croc , 12/6/10 10:35 AM

Pleasssssssssseeeeeeeee - Serena did not literally mean she would kill the line judge, let's not get too carried away with this. How many of us have not said things like - "if you do this or that I'll kill you" or "I'll shove this or that down your throat"? Yes Serena should not have exploded against the line judge, but she did it in anger on the spur of the moment and deserved to be punished, just like Federer's expletives were directed at the umpire in anger. Grigor's action was long after the event, he obviously hadn't cooled down by the time he saw the umpire, but as I wasn't there, I can't tell how hard he shoved him or not, but he also deserves to be punished.

I don't think you can compare what happens on court in the heat of the moment to something that happens sometime afterwards.

nadline , 12/6/10 11:49 AM

This is turning out to be the beginning of a new fans rivalry, Nadal vs Dimitrov, and will blossom in full when Federer has retired and Dimitrov beaten Nadal for the first time.. Then, Djoker vs Dimitrov, Murray vs Dimitrov etc will follow...

bjawad , 12/6/10 1:15 PM

one of dimitrov's familiar foes in the juniors is finnish henri kontinen. perhaps this is why finnish media may be blowing this up?

croc , 12/6/10 1:27 PM

Are you joking bjawad? Dimitrov can't even win one match at the adult tours this year and you expect him to beat Rafa/Nole/Murray? Not every seventeen year old can be as good as Rafa, who at seventeen already shown his potential by beating the then no.1 player in straight sets, on Rafa's least favorite surface where his game wasn't even fully developed. Fed at nineteen already shown much promise and was inside the top twenty or top fifty. Dimitrov isn't even in the top hundred now. Even Nole/Murray/Delpo or the older generation of Roddick/Hewitt/Safin were all showing promises and in the top fifty when they were at age nineteen.

To me, I think Ryan Harrison was more impressive than Dimitrov; Harrison had beaten Ljubicic at the USO this year and had taken Starkovsky to five sets before losing. This Harrison boy sure can volley and he mixed things up nicely and caused Starkovsky lots of troubles at the USO. Tomic too, he won one match at the AO this year, took Cilic to five tight sets before losing. I was impressed by Tomic back then, he certainly played a similar game to that of Murray.

luckystar , 12/6/10 1:32 PM

Dimitrov could be a great player one day. Obviously he's talented or else he wouldn't even be winning on the Challenger circuit. But to compare him to Federer when he's won exactly THREE matches at tour level this whole year is stretching "The Next Federer" to breaking point.

I want to clear something else up. Serena Williams did NOT say "I'm going to kill you" to that lineswoman. The chair umpire misunderstood what Serena said and it was cleared up right on court. I was watching live.

And as to whether that was worse or better than what Dimitrov did. Even if Dimitrov hadn't put his hands on Infanger, we have no way of making a determination if what he said/screamed was worse than what Serena did...because Dimitrov HUNTED THE MAN DOWN after the match and the cameras weren't there. Now I'm sorry, but this is frightening and just.plain.wrong.

cherylmurray , 12/6/10 2:02 PM

yes of course what dimitrov was doing is wrong, noone ever contested that

croc , 12/6/10 2:06 PM

I feel it a necessity to put the link to Serena's outburst

I'm sure this's been talked about till kingdom come but it's still difficult to isolate the words - especially with the censorship and all..

Shireling , 12/6/10 2:37 PM

Thanks, Shireling. As I remember it, the outburst went something like "I'm going to shove this @%$&ing ball down your *#%@ing throat" and then "You better #$&^ing be right".

The misconception that she said "I'm going to kill you" came from the chair umpire who said she thought that's what Serena said. Right there on court, Serena said, "What? No, I didn't say that" which was confirmed by the lineswoman.

cherylmurray , 12/6/10 2:54 PM

luckystar: end 2006, Andy was ranked 17, aged 19.

deuce , 12/6/10 3:21 PM

bjawad, there is no "new rivalry" and this issue has NOTHING to do with whether fans of other players like Dimitrov. The whole point you missed is about common sense and respect toward the officials.

fan4tennis , 12/6/10 4:33 PM

We shouldn't even be mentioning Rafa and Dimitrov in the same sentence.

nadline , 12/6/10 4:44 PM

as a matter of fact, nadal and Dimirov deserves to be mentioned in same sentence!

Dimitrov - Took a on court matter of court and physically threatened the unpire -ONCE

Nadal - Threatened to take an on court matter off court and threatened the umpires career and thus his life - TWICE!

Dimitrov - hunted down the umpire and tried to shove him hotheadedly

Nadal - Promised to ruin umpire's career and gave him the most cold blooded looks ever seen on a tennis court..

Atleast dimitrov is young and world 16 and not with the burden of being an ambassador to sport and atleast he did it only once...

Nadal? he is world number one, someone lot of kids might be looking up to (to the horror of all decent parents) and he still does like this - twice!!!

seethetruth , 12/6/10 6:02 PM

Cheryl I think this is a good article and I agree with you 100%. The incident with Serena is not comparable, and yet she got off too easy!

Even if Dimitrov Hadn't even touched the umpire, the act of following him or trying to provoke an encounter after the fact should be reason enough for severe punishment. Stalking and harassing are crimes which don't even require contact to be considered such.

But to go beyond even that and lay hands on an umpire using any level of force is a premeditated assault, not only against an individual, but in this case, the sacred institution of sports judging, without which, sport itself would not be possible.

The ATP needs to send a clear message of ZERO tolerance for an incident such as this. Ranking, age, etc. should not be a factor at all when someone goes this far beyond the line.

Finally if the ATP does the right thing and punishes Dimitrov severely, I hope people don't even for a second blame them for ruining his career. Dimitrov would be the one and only to blame. If a man cares so little for his own career that he is willing to throw it away in a premeditated act of violence, why should anyone else care? Certainly not me.

grafight , 12/6/10 6:03 PM

very good points...
I think the punishment should be severe and a strong signal. For example, a six months suspension. Not enough by far to break a career, but enough to achieve the other purposes.

chlorostoma , 12/6/10 6:06 PM


what rafa did might have been wrong, but he apologized immediately after!! Besides, he never THREATENED anybody, he just said he will complain to higher authorities!

rafanadalfanforever , 12/6/10 6:49 PM

grafight , 12/6/10 6:56 PM

grafight - seethetruth is a pot-stirrer. The very suggestion that "I'm going to talk to your supervisor" qualifies as a threat to someone's life is, quite frankly, laughable.

I can't find the quote, but somebody said that Serena's punishment wasn't harsh enough either. I quite agree -- and I LIKE Serena Williams. That sort of thing should not be tolerated. American football is about as violent a sport as there is, but you'll not see even the most aggressive linebacker so much as lay a finger on a referee.

cherylmurray , 12/6/10 7:20 PM

I think Rafa at that point sincerely thought that he was right (I mean that WTF incident), as Carlos Bernardes was the one who interfered and called the ball out, even though Rafa put up his hand. Had Bernardes not interfered and allow Rafa to challenge, then there won't be any argument. Bernardes interfered and later after Berdych challenged, found that he (Bernardes) was wrong, and Rafa end up bearing the rap.

To me Bernardes made a mistake but blamed it on Rafa for the mistake. Just imagine if Rafa did not put up his hand and Bernardes called the ball out, when Berdych challenged later on, the point would have to be replayed as Rafa had a play on that point. No wonder Rafa was angry, as he felt cheated, due to Bernardes mistake. Now another argument might be that Bernardes was influenced by Rafa's action, ie by Rafa putting up his hand, indicating the ball was out and he wishing for a challenge. Still Bernardes is the umpire and his judgement should not be influenced by the players. To me, it was just bad judgement by the umpire when interfering with the player's (Rafa's) challenge (in the end Rafa's challenge was not even accepted by Bernardes, due to Bernardes himself overriding the line judge's judgement).

Well at least Rafa did not curse and swear and he definitely behaved better than many other players who throw tantrums on the tennis courts when things don't go their way. I don't see him setting any bad example.

luckystar , 12/6/10 7:37 PM

grafight, silence is the best policy for seethelies. The sort of things she comes out with are not worth the space or time so the best thing is just to ignore whatever she has to say.

How can you argue against rubbish????????? Everything she says about Rafa is just that - rubbish.

nadline , 12/6/10 8:07 PM

I have to say Cheryl, that what bothered me the most about this is that Dimitrov hunted the official down away from prying eyes. Every player is cognizant of spectators, journalists, fans and camera watching them on court. Having that many witnesses to an incident can serve as a deterrent, and maybe causes some of the players (tho obviously not all) to collect themselves and calm down and act appropriately.

In reading more about Dimitrov, you learn that this is not an isolated incident of his temper. This is to the point of becoming a habit with him.....a dangerous habit. He should've learned LONG ago to control his temper and have respect for the officials. His father is a tennis coach and his mother teaches sports and he has been playing since he was 3 according to HIS site. To blame anyone else but himself for this is a copout and a lame excuse!

fan4tennis , 12/6/10 9:04 PM

Luckystar, I'm not as much of an expert as you on the rules and who was right or wrong on that call between Rafa and Bernardes. I think Rafa went a bit too far in his complaining, and for that deserved to have the point taken away.
Players have their anger moments. It's part of the game, and Rafa is not exempt. But when these things happen, the umpire should establish his/her authority, take control of the match and give warnings if necessary to establish order and move on with the match. And the players should do what Rafa did eventually: Let it go, keep playing and shake hands in the end.

grafight , 12/6/10 9:15 PM

I quite agree, f4t. In fact, his behavior concerns me a number of levels. First and foremost, that by hunting Infanger down after he lost means that this was not a spur-of-the-moment action. He planned it out.

Moreover, one must ask oneself what he was hoping to accomplish. The match was already over, so there was no chance of arguing to change the outcome of the match. He clearly had bullying and intimidation on his mind.

The more I think about this, the more disgusted I get.

cherylmurray , 12/6/10 9:21 PM

grafight - I too think that Rafa went too far complaining. I also think the original call was a bad one. But as we found out with Serena, a bad call does not justify verbal outbursts from players. She did NOT foot fault, but that's neither here nor there at this point.

Bernardes should have had them replay the point. When he decided not to, Nadal should have gotten back to work immediately. He deserved the point penalty after the fact, but he handled it well thereafter.

cherylmurray , 12/6/10 9:31 PM

IF you people keep mentioning tantrums I'll keep fishin'em :)

Shireling , 12/6/10 9:35 PM

is a much better video!

Look at nadal running around and whining like a kid to the organizers and threatening to go off court!! It was pathetic! Rafatards are lucky he won the set, he definitely would have done a stalking act on the umpire otherwise, it is easy to say it s cool when you manage to scrape a win inspite of all that.

seethetruth , 12/6/10 10:39 PM

@cherylmurray , 12/6/10 9:31 PM
---He (Rafa) deserved the point penalty---
Deserved ? People should accept the umpire's decision not to give a point penalty.

People should also accept the linesperson decision that Serena DID a foot fault !

Augustina08 , 12/6/10 10:41 PM

What if nadal had been given 6 month ban for this? -

seethetruth , 12/6/10 11:26 PM

Cheryl, I am assuming you are American. Therefore, you are very familiar with our football, baseball, and basketball incidents. How many times do we see replayed (for our amusement?) the times coaches are screaming at the umpires or the players are arguing with them? But 99.9% of the time, the coaches and players may be yelling, but their hands never touch the umpire. They know, as well as we do, that if they touch them, even lightly, they will be ejected from the game and possibly worse.

Dimitrov definitely knew what he was doing, away from a majority of witnesses. He seems to have an anger problem, handling losses. For those that want to mention Rafa in the same vein, I just laugh. Rafa, a World Number 1 at the time his loss streak started, (much different pressure for him than for Dimitrov) went ELEVEN MONTHS without a title!!! But did he physically assault an official or another player because he was angry about losing? NO!! Huge difference!

I never liked what Serena did or fed did at the USO and was glad to see them fined heavily. I also don't like those who break rackets and throw water bottles, but those are also taken care of. Point penalties for incidents are a great deterrent, especially in a close, major match. But for a physical assault, there needs to be a firmer punishment, and if it hurts that players career, then they only have themselves to blame.

BTW, stalking, harassment, bullying and use of intimidation as Dimitrov did, ARE considered crimes in America.

fan4tennis , 12/7/10 1:40 AM

Rafa might be over reacting, in fact he was edgy throughout the whole of WTF. When one was edgy, it's easy to lose his temper, no excuse though for bad behavior. Fortunately everything was fine in the end as he was smiling to the umpire when shaking hands in the end. Rafa not the only one losing temper, the mighty one also lost his temper during his 2009 USO final against Delpo. So if anyone wants to single out Rafa, one has to bring out Fed too. Fed was fined and Rafa was not, so there is a difference in severity. Six month's ban based on someone's own conjecture? I think everyone else will get a one year ban if Rafa's was given a six month ban, such was the difference in severity.

No ground for comparision to the Dimitrov incident. Any objective person would know the severity of Dimitrov's behavior and he should be punished and corrected before it's too late for him to turn over a new leaf. In terms of talent Dimitrov is not the only one around having it and the whole world need not revolve round him just because he has 'talent'. There is no lacking in talented yet well mannered youngsters around.

luckystar , 12/7/10 3:19 AM

fan4t: I didn't know those details about him, re his parents. Without doubt he is very talented but perhaps there's just too much expectation being put on him? All top 4 were top 20 at age 19 but they are exceptions and fact that Dimitrov is highest ranked teenager says it all. Perhaps with all the hype he also has a sense of entitlement? Perhaps the frustration is there always simmering?
I think he should be banned for a couple of months. Missing the AO should serve as a stark warning. If he should do it again a longer ban etc

deuce , 12/7/10 8:25 AM

Yes deuce is right. The current top four were outstanding even as teenagers, all of them were in the top twenty. Rafa was no.2 at age 19, Nole was in top 10 at age 19 and reached no.3 at age 20 in 2007. Murray was top 20 at age 19 and in top 4 in 2008, age 21. Even Delpo reached no.5/6 at age 20/21. Fed's batch also did well with Roddick, Hewitt, Safin all within top 20 at age 19/20. Perhaps these are really the outstanding ones and we shouldn't be expecting every batch of teenagers to be of such outstanding qualities.

Maybe we should give the likes of Dimitrov, Tomic etc some more time before placing any expectations on them.

luckystar , 12/7/10 8:47 AM

This is a tricky case,
One would be inclined to suspend him for premeditated assault against, non other, the sports' judging stratum...
But I have to agree somehow with what 'wishwelltennis' mentions above - that we don't really know the full story.. maybe the referee went mental and insulted him (very unlikely).. who knows? better let him off this time and ban him if he every does something remotely close... notwithstanding that an economic penalty must be enforced.

Shireling , 12/7/10 2:50 PM

I'm pretty sure the umpire was lousy if such a thing happened. As for Bernades, don't mention that joke of an umpire. He's screwed up so many times that its not funny anymore. Recall Djokovic-Melzer, and the overrule against Roddick.

There are times when players take it too far, but umpires should also take the fall at times. There are plenty of idiots out there.

samprallica , 12/7/10 3:51 PM

Not to feed the troll, but to bring up the incident with Rafa and Gato at Monte Carlo is grasping at straws in the search for Rafa's examples of bad behavior. You can't tell by the audio what Rafa said, and it was Gaudio who started it, and was pushing Rafa with insults. All Rafa was saying was "what did I do"? At the end it seems Rafa got fed up and just told him to shut up.
By the way, Gaudio is notorious for this kind of on-court ranting. He does it all the time.

grafight , 12/7/10 5:01 PM

And speaking of Gaudio, if you speak Spanish and are a Rafa fan, this is a great treat: "Rafa Nadal: Superstar". Made in Argentina and includes testimonial from top players (including Gaudio) praising Rafa as a person and player.

grafight , 12/7/10 5:12 PM

Exactly grafight. Furthermore, there was no physical assault or anything like that, hard to compare with the Dimitrov case. Trolls truly grasping at straws. Rafa hardly showed any tantrums on court, and off court he was always well behaved. There was no negative news about Rafa's behavior, both on and off court.

luckystar , 12/7/10 5:15 PM

---Dimitrov was fined 2000 Euros for the attack and the ATP is investigating further to see if suspension is in order. Are they KIDDING me? ---

Actually, ATP has followed the Rulebook.

page 147

c)Physical Abuse

i) Players shall not at any time physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or other person within the precincts of the tournament site. For purposes of this rule, physical abuse is the unauthorized touching of an official, opponent, and spectator or other person.
ii) Violation of this section shall subject a player to a fine up to $10,000 for each violation. In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall be penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule. In circumstances that are flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a tournament, or are singularly egregious, a single violation of this section shall also constitute the player Major Offense of Aggravated Behavior.>>

Augustina08 , 12/7/10 6:35 PM

Well, since chasing down the umpire to the locker room to assault him is an obvious example of "Major Offense" or Aggravated Behavior" then Section 8.04 "Major Offenses/Procedures paragraph b, (page 155) would apply.
In this case a fine of up to $25,000, any prize money won during the tournament, whichever is greater, and/or suspension for a maximum period of 1 year

grafight , 12/7/10 11:36 PM

I would not be surprised if they suspended, though I doubt it will be for a whole year.

cherylmurray , 12/8/10 1:49 AM

So, no one of those ranting for a severe punishment have actually seen the accident, they don't know the circumstances around it, whether the umpire said something inappropriate, or anything, but they are ready to end a teenager's career because of what they had read in some newspapers (and we all know how often journalists like to exaggerate things) of what MIGHT HAVE happened at a local Challenger. Well, I'm sorry to say this, but some people here are clearly delusional.

Moreover, these same people readily interpret Williams' "I will shove the fu**ing ball up your throat" outburst at a judge, in a semifinal at one of the MAJOR tennis events, in front of hundreds of millions as if it was some mild offense. Well, first of all, what the 30-year old Serena did was a classy example for the millions of youngsters around the world how they should treat the umpires if one day they playing pro tennis, perhaps Dimitrov was one of them. Secondly, let me ask you this, Cheryl:

If someone shoves a tennis ball up your throat, what would you do? Perhaps you would start breathing through your belly button? You can't???:) Well, then isn't what Williams said a death threat, especially considering Serena's monstrous physical strength, and her enormous influence in tennis? I don't know about you, but I would definitely feel worried for my safety and career. Do you know that there was a football referee, who quit his career because of DEATH THREATS after a Chelsea-Barcelona game? Well, apparently such threats aren't something to play around with, especially if you are a tennis superstar, don't you think?

One more thing: I seriously doubt there would have been such a hiss if Dimitrov was an American or an English, and I can give you examples of the official's double standards of punishment (generally in sports) regarding identical offenses, done by Westerners and people from Eastern Europe, so please people, stop being hypocritical, and live the kid alone. I'm sure he have learnt his lesson!

LTs , 12/8/10 1:30 PM

hey i am disappointed with the new poll. i want to vote for tomas muster!

croc , 12/8/10 2:02 PM

croc - Sorry, I meant to put him on there. I think Muster should be a part of ANY TT poll from now on. :D

cherylmurray , 12/8/10 3:12 PM

LTs. My point is that IF Dimitrow indeed did the things the news report says, he deserves a far more severe punishment than a $2,000 fine.
IF the story happens to be completely false and Dimitrov actually went to the locker room to invite the referee to go out for coffee, and all of a sudden a wasp came in and was about to bite the official on the chest and Dimi smacked it to save him from the sting, and the whole thing was taken the wrong way, of course he should be vindicated and forgiven.
But on the other hand if it all went down as the explained by witnesses of the alleged attack, of course I would considered a Major Ofense and should be punished as described in the ATP manual quoted above.
As far as bias, let me tell you: I have a son the exact same age as Rafa Nadal. Their birthdays are a month off. I am from Spain (now residing in the U.S.) My love for Rafa Nadal is far beyond a typical sports fan. He to me is an Icon of all that is good about my country and the sport of Tennis, and all he has accomplished (while I watch my son play with his wii in the couch) at his young age amazes me.
Despite all of that, if Rafael were to do what Dimitrov did, you can bet your favorite socks that I would call for THE SAME or WORSE punishment for him. I say worse because being as famous as he is, his bad behavior would affect his young fans and the sport itself far more than Dimitrov's.
Plus, I think both Cheryl and I already agreed that Serena deserved a stronger sanction as well.

grafight , 12/8/10 4:19 PM

grafight: love wasp comment :) Dimitrov is not a child, if he did seek the umpire out afterwards and push him, he must be punished. If my kids came home from school and said something wasn't "fair" my response was "life ain't fair, get used to it." That being said, if there was a massive injustice, then there were ways of dealing with this. Never did they involve assaulting the teachers.
So, if this story is inaccurate, then I expect Cheryl to put us straight, but up till then....

deuce , 12/8/10 4:43 PM

grafight - LOL at the wasp.

deuce - I certainly would let you know immediately if it turned out that the story was misrepresented. As it stands, the story broke in a dependable and trusted Finnish paper and was commented on by a high-ranking official in Finnish tennis. Plus, as reported there were a number of witnesses.

From everything I can gather, this incident went down exactly as it was described.

cherylmurray , 12/8/10 4:52 PM

LT, of course I would not expect the ACTUAL WITNESSES to the incident to be talking with us on here. You were not a witness either, yet, you seem sure that it is not true, so who is being hypocritical? Many here have said MANY times that what Serena did was wrong, we don't consider it mild, and she should have been punished. You seem to be forgetting that and also the fact that Serena NEVER PHYSICALLY TOUCHED THE UMPIRE!

Dimitrov actually put an article concerning the fine on his own website (of course he has not responded on the site). Would he do that if it were false? Would a fan do that if it were false? The Sofia News Agency has also reported about it and it is NOT biased to the Finnish. It is a news agency provided in English with news about anything related to Bulgaria. If anything, it would be biased to Bulgarians, not the Finns.

Quit with the discriminatory statements about Americans not causing a hiss if they did the same thing. You obviously neglected to read some of the statements made about American sports here and don't follow American sports.

fan4tennis , 12/8/10 5:51 PM

@fan4tennis , 12/8/10 5:51 PM

But, the rules for applying penalties & fines are the same.

ATP rules for "Serena's case"

<<ATP Rulebook
VIII. Code
page 147
d) Verbal Abuse
i) Players shall not at any time directly or indirectly verbally abuse an official, opponent, sponsor, spectator or any other person within the precincts of the tournament site. Verbal abuse is defined as any statement about an official, opponent, sponsor, spectator or any other person that implies dishonesty or is derogatory, insulting or otherwise abusive.
ii) Violation of this section shall subject a player to a fine up to $10,000 for each violation. In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall be penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule. In circumstances that are flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a tournament, or are singularly egregious, a single violation of this section shall also constitute the player Major Offense of Aggravated Behavior.

Major Offense of Aggravated Behavior (page 155) penalties & fines are the SAME as in case of Physical Abuse (a fine up to $25,000 or the amount of prize money won at the tournament, and/or suspension from play for a maximum period of one year)>>

Augustina08 , 12/8/10 6:35 PM

Agustina, I totally agree. The key here is in the phrase "In circumstances that are flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a tournament, or are singularly egregious".
The ATP ultimately decides if an incident is flagrant and injurious enough to be classified as "Major Offense". In my opinion, the criteria is met in both cases, but there is a wide margin of penalty: from $10,000 to $25,000 and from 1 to 12 months suspension, or any combination of both; and I believe Dimitrov's offense is worse because, allegedly, he both verbally abused AND physically assaulted the umpire with premeditation.

grafight , 12/8/10 6:57 PM

@grafight , 12/8/10 6:57 PM

Sometimes words can wound very deeply.

Augustina08 , 12/8/10 7:44 PM

Augustina, I mentioned that as one of the differences when comparing what Dimitrov did.

In looking at some articles, I also found out that not only was Serena fined $82,500 for here tirade, but she is also on probation thru 2011. If she has another incident, then they up the fine to $165,000 and she cannot play the USO. Hers was considered a "major offense" so those saying people considered it mild are wrong. Just google "serena williams USO fine" and tons of articles come up explaining it.

fan4tennis , 12/8/10 7:45 PM

Womens' tennis is already soooooooooooooooooo "exciting"..............what a hoot it would certainly be if Serena were to be banned!!!!!.................

Monalysa , 12/8/10 8:10 PM

wow, you guys are not busy at all ... keep talking so long after the incident occurred...
what is the problem? are you angry with the world in general and find this discussion the best outlet...
deuce, 12/8/10 4:43 PM - life is not fair in general, but this is a paid game event and not the general life ... the umpires should be also a subject of scrutiny about the judgments they make and I have not seen that happening ever.... you know how life is not fair and it seems and you understand how some people stick together in something unfair ...
if people start solving their own problems and stop blaming the teenagers for being naive and not knowing better the world would be a better place for yourself as well...
about the bulgarian news agencies - i know for a fact that they do a review of the domestic and international news and copy and republish the news they think are important ... the only source is the finish newspaper it seems and the rest is just re broadcasting the same news including this one ... this article is different in one way only, and it is that the author expressed her opinion in with a probable goal influencing for a negative social opinion and possibly the end outcome of the association's punitive actions for the young player.

this is what i think ...

wishwelltennis , 12/12/10 4:45 PM

wishwelltennis: is there a proper procedure for players to follow if they are convinced they have been unfairly treated and subjected to incorrect umpiring? If there isn't, then I would certainly agree there should be. Probably sanctions are informal though and poor umpires stop being called for matches. Does anyone know if players have actually refused to be umpired by certain individuals. Now here's a topic for a blog!

deuce , 12/12/10 6:33 PM


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