Tennis: 'Professional' Muster less than amused at being Tarangoed

Grace and elegance have their place on Court Suzanne Lenglen as the French championships mark a centenary of women's tennis, but not to the exclusion of a bit of blood and thunder and a touch of music-hall farce.

Yesterday's programme closed with the dainty offering of Thomas Muster versus Jeff Tarango, which concluded with Muster, the victor, refusing to shake his opponent's hand.

It should be emphasised that Bruno Rebeuh, the French umpire who was the subject of Tarango's ire when the American was disqualified at Wimbledon in 1995, was otherwise engaged. Rebeuh was on the Centre Court officiating a match between Pete Sampras and Francisco Clavet.

Britain's Mike Morrissey was in the hot seat on Court Lenglen, where Muster concentrated chiefly on improving his form in order to sustain a muscular challenge for the title he won here two years ago, and Tarango presented his customary mixture of affronted dignity and whimsy.

One minute the American was berating the umpire about line calls, the next he was imitating Muster's iron-man walk with a panache that would have done credit to John Cleese.

Morrissey intervened when Tarango imitated Muster's grunting during the course of a point, and ordered a let to be played. Tarango argued and Muster eventually called for the Grand Slam supervisor, Bill Gilmore. "I asked Bill to make sure the match continued fluidly, without having to stop and go for five minutes," Muster said afterwards.

Morrissey continued to be in and out of his chair, checking marks on the clay to settle disputed line calls, and at one stage Tarango doffed his cap and executed an elaborate bow as the umpire made his way back across the court to to his seat.

Muster, for the most part, managed to control his temper, but towards the end of the third set he delivered a smash towards Tarango's body, the ball zooming between the American's legs. Asked if he was trying to hit Tarango, Muster said: "If he would have been in my way, yes."

Early in the fourth set, Tarango served underarm on one point. He won that one, but lost the game and the match drifted away from him, Muster winning 7-5, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Asked why he refused to shake hands, Muster said: "I don't think what we saw today was very professional. You can't say whatever you want to say and then after the match shake hands.

"We know the history of Jeff. He's not an easy guy. There's no excuse for certain behaviour on the court. I know that I'm not always that great when I'm on the court. I'm fighting, I'm giving everything out there. I'm looking at balls and ball marks. But that's all within the rules, and there's no problem with it."

Muster added that Tarango's first-round opponent, Marcelo Filippini, had also refused to shake hands, but Tarango insisted that the reverse was the case.

"I think probably his [Muster's] ego was just a little bruised," Tarango said. "He has such a big ego that if you take a little of his limelight, he just doesn't like it. I think that's what it boils down to."

Asked why he behaved the way he did, Tarango said: "I wanted to win the first set. That was the main thing on my mind. I didn't think I could beat him physically. He apparently trains a lot harder than I do.

"You could see that the crowd expected me to do something bad and wrong. Eventually, I felt they just saw I was trying my hardest, and I was going to have fun.

"The only thing I had a problem with was when Thomas was grunting when I was hitting the ball. I think there's not any room for that. He's doing his little gamesmanship out there. It's a mind game as well as a physical game. I guess he wants all the rules to go in his favour. That's not the way it is out there.

"You know, at some point it's just like an echo in my head, his grunting. It's just too much. I grunt once and we have to play a let. Well, I'm sorry. I mean, I just thought that was comedy. That's just ridiculous."

Wimbledon, here he comes.

Results, page 30

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most