Wednesday, July 18, 2007

When Balls Attack, Vol. 1

From the wires:
Anastasia Rodionova became the second player on the WTA Tour to be disqualified from a match when she smacked a ball Tuesday night toward fans rooting for her opponent at the Cincinnati Women's Open.
Angelique Kerber was handed a 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 victory when Rodionova hit a ball in the direction of three fans at one end of the court in a display of frustration after she lost the first game of the third set. The ball hit halfway up the wall in front of the stands where the fans were sitting and caroomed back onto the court.
Earlier, she had complained about fans applauding for Kerber during points.
While the players were changing sides, the umpire called for tournament referee William Coffey. After a brief discussion, Coffey defaulted Rodionova for "unsportsmanlike conduct," he said.
"I'm shocked," Rodionova said. "I still don't understand why they defaulted me. I'm really upset. I've never seen in my life anyone defaulted in this situation. I had no warning. I didn't hit the ball at anybody. I didn't swear at anybody. I didn't throw my racket."
In the 36-year history of the tour, it is believed that there has been only one other default in the main draw of a tournament, a WTA Tour spokesman said. Irina Spirlea was disqualified in 1996 at Palermo for directing abusive language at an official.

That's some fine company to be historically linked to, Anastasia. Irina "The Bump" Spirlea? Got the feeling tournament directors are going to have to answer some questions here. Such as: Have you ever defaulted someone for tossing their racquet? Or illegal coaching? It's not cool that Rodionova's trying to play "Whack-a-fan," but considering that she didn't hit anyone, and was most likely venting, a disqualification is probably a bit much.

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