David Nalbandian won his first tennis match since injuring a line judge during an on-court outburst that triggered a London police investigation.
Nalbandian beat Nicolas Almagro 3-6, 6-3, 10-4 in The Boodles tournament, an exhibition event at Stoke Park, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of the British capital.
Nalbandian, in an on-court interview after the match, didn’t address his actions on June 17 in the final at Queen’s Club in west London against Marin Cilic of Croatia.
London police said today they continue to investigate an assault complaint made against the Argentine player by an unidentified person.
Line judge Andrew McDougall ended up with a bloodied leg after Nalbandian kicked an advertising board at the base of the official’s chair. Nalbandian was disqualified and won’t receive 36,100 pounds ($56,579) in prize money or 150 ranking points. He was also fined 10,000 euros ($12,623) by ATP supervisor Tom Barnes for unsportsmanlike behavior.
Nalbandian apologized to the crowd and McDougall after the outburst. The crowd today applauded him and Nalbandian laughed and talked in Spanish with Almagro at the end of the match. Nalbandian has played at the exhibition as part of his preparation for Wimbledon for nine years. The season’s third major championship starts June 25.
John McEnroe, the first player to be disqualified from a Grand Slam event for misconduct after the sport went professional in 1968, said today on a media conference call for ESPN that the Queen’s Club incident “could definitely affect” Nalbandian at Wimbledon.
“I don’t think when he kicked that wood that he expected the wood to splinter or break and then hit the guy in the shin,” McEnroe said. “He was upset with himself. He just missed a ball. He reacted and then paid a pretty stiff price.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Rossingh at the London sports desk at firstname.lastname@example.org