Murray: 'Real racket rage came in McEnroe's day'


Marcos Baghdatis' minute of racket rage was a big hit on YouTube and the talk of the locker room at the Australian Open yesterday, but Andy Murray reckons that modern players are saints compared with some of their predecessors.

"I saw clips of McEnroe yesterday," Murray said. "He was playing Anders Jarryd in Sweden. He was smashing bottles into the stand. Then Baghdatis smashes a couple of rackets and people say it's a huge thing. The guys before were way worse behaved and said way worse things to the umpires. It's mild compared with what happened."

Baghdatis was fined about £800 for his tantrum, which came in the third set of his defeat by Stanislas Wawrinka. The 26-year-old Cypriot smashed four rackets in succession, the last two without taking off the plastic wrapping.

"If they had the rules that they have in place now, it would be interesting to see what would happen to some of the older players with the things that they did, to see the fines they would be racking up," Murray said. "They'd be getting defaults left, right and centre. Beforehand they were much more lenient. I would like to see someone try now the things that McEnroe would have done to see what would happen to them.

"If I swear on the court, I get asked about a hundred questions about it. Before, guys were swearing at umpires, swearing at ball kids, people in the stands. I've taken my fair share of stick for saying stuff on the court that was very, very mild compared with what the guys used to before."


Nevertheless, Baghdatis' outburst drew plenty of attention from other players. "Four, it's a lot," was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's verdict. "I've never done that – that's impressive, wow," Serena Williams said. Novak Djokovic had heard about the incident but not seen it. "I'm going to go to YouTube now to check it out," the world No 1 said. Djokovic used to demolish a racket or two, but is a reformed character. "I'm not doing it as often," he said. "But when I smash the racket I usually feel relieved afterwards. I feel that the pressure is out. But I feel a bit embarrassed as well."

Williams admitted: "I actually used to break a lot of rackets on the court. I sometimes break them in practice, just not in a match any more."

Even some of the more mild-mannered players have enjoyed smashing times. "You might be surprised, but I do smash rackets sometimes," Ana Ivanovic said. "Last time I smashed three rackets. I think that was the 2009 US Open. I lost a match after having match point. I was quite upset."

Roger Federer could throw rackets and tantrums in his younger days, though Rafael Nadal has always been a model of self-control. Toni Nadal, his uncle and coach, told him that to break a racket was a lack of respect for the people who made it and for those who could not afford to buy one.

Tsonga was brought up similarly. The Frenchman said: "My father told me all the time: 'If you break the racket, I'll break you'. So I go easy with the racket. Sometimes I prefer to hit myself rather than the racket." Others feel they cannot afford to demolish their equipment. "I have 10 rackets," Milos Raonic said. "I don't have any to break."

Seven players have been fined in Melbourne for abusing rackets . The biggest penalty ($8,000) was handed to David Nalbandian, who threw his racket into a wall after losing the fourth set to John Isner. A ball boy handed the racket back to the Argentine, who promptly threw it into the crowd. Nalbandian then smashed his racket after putting a volley in the net on match point.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
A poster by Durham Constabulary
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine