Marcos Baghdatis. Down a break in the third set against Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday night, the frustrated Baggy slumped in his courtside chair and smashed four racquets in about 20 seconds, not even bothering to take the last two out their protective (sniff!) plastic. The sunny Cypriot breaking celebratory plates in a taverna we can see, but this was totally random.
Marat Safin. The 2005 Australian Open champ now prides himself on being the best-looking dude in the Russian Duma. He was formerly famous for splintering his Head racquets - 48 smashed frames in 1999 the unofficial record. Marat estimated he’d sent over 1000 racquets to the big tennis court in the sky. But the charismatic Russian did it with class. ‘Today I smash racquets, for tomorrow we die,’ he mused.
Goran Ivanisevic. The endearingly loopy Croat made history as the only player to be defaulted from a tournament due to ‘lack of equipment’. At the Samsung Open in Brighton, UK, in late 2000, Goran had binned all his racquets by the middle of the third set, and his opponent refused to lend him a stick. ‘Mr Ivanisevic cannot continue because of lack of appropriate equipment,’ announced the umpire. Goran packed enough racquets to win Wimbledon months later.
John McEnroe. The volcanic Supermac practically invented racquet abuse. And ball abuse. And professional umpiring. Against Swede Mikael Pernfors at Australian Open 1990, McEnroe hurled his racquet to the court, then argued he shouldn’t have been penalised a point as the stick was cracked, not broken (he’d already received a warning for intimidating a linesperson) The referee and supervisor were called to the court, McEnroe failed to persuade them and then verbally abused the officials as they left the arena. Seconds later he was sensationally defaulted for the first time in his Grand Slam career.
Novak Djokovic. Charlie Sheen had nothing on ‘winning’ in 2011 compared to Djokovic. But even the dominant new No.1 lost it at his racquet at Wimbledon in a third-round dog-fight against Baghdatis. On the soft turf, three whacks were required for the break. Novak usually goes the double-whack, as demonstrated in the 2010 US Open final and several other tournament sites.
Andy Roddick. The skill with which the A-Rod busted his racquet en route to a loss against No.160 Flavio Cipolla at Madrid last May, and an earlier 2007 effort in Memphis show plenty of experience in the caper.
Fernando Gonzalez. The 2007 Australian Open finalist with the ballistic forehand destroyed racquets at Rome and Indian Wells in 2009. But when Gonzo trashed his equipment during a 2010 loss to Andy Roddick in Rod Laver Arena, a lucky fan scored a souvenir.
Vera Zvonareva. The Muscovite went into a famous meltdown during a 6-0 6-3 final loss to Sam Stosur at Charleston in 2010. Her racquet was hurled to the green clay and broken, then tossed and finally kicked under her courtside chair.
Roger Federer. A smashed Federer racquet is the tennis equivalent of a1sighting. But the model sportsman was a fiery junior who sent many a racquet spinning like a helicopter - mostly on the practice court. And as recently as 2009, a packed stadium in Miami went into shock when the Swiss maestro mangled his Wilson during a semifinal with Novak Djokovic. Federer lost 6-3 in the third. Whoever salvaged the racquet has a priceless treasure.
Mikhail Youzhny. At Miami in 2008, Youzhny was in a heated fight with Nicolas Almagro when he decided to give his racquet three whacks - against his head. Amazingly, his bonce came off worse; a trainer was required to stem a trickle of blood and apply bandages. The insanity may have knocked some sense into him; Youzhny won in a third-set tiebreak.