OK, he didn't actually attack the line-judge but the way some people over-reacted on Twitter to yesterday's incredible incident in the Queen's Club final, you'd think that he had! If you haven't seen it yet, check it out:
Nalbandian Attacks Line-Judge!
I have to admit, it's one of those incidents that gets worse every time you see it but it was quite obviously unintentional harm that was done to the line-judge. Basically, all that happened was that Nalbandian in a fit of rage at his own ineptitude, kicked a plank of wood into a man's leg and gave him a bit of a cut. To be fair, it looked quite nasty but the guy will live and let's face it, he'll be dining out on that story for the rest of his life! So to cancel the rest of the final by disqualifying the Argentine, seemed a bit over-the-top, to me.
I'm not for one minute condoning what Nalbandian did. He's always been a bit of an arse, has a bad temper on him and strikes me as a thoroughly miserable individual. How he thought that the advertising hoarding was strong enough to withstand a full-force kick is beyond comprehension more than anything else! He deserved punishment for sending the line-judge hobbling off for treatment (though not to hospital). But on this particular occasion, is it fair to the hundreds of paying customers to have their day out ruined by a moment of madness? There was still a long way to go in the match, with just one set completed, so it seems a bit harsh to end a showpiece final so abruptly. Of course, if those are the rules, then those are the rules and Nalbandian should know them before he steps on court but that doesn't mean the rules are right. I am thinking purely about the crowd. Could Nalbandian not just have been allowed to play on and been sanctioned afterwards? Or better still, could he not have had a few games deducted or even the second set awarded to Cilic and go straight to a third? If he'd genuinely attacked the line-judge then of course, game over and also if he was seriously injured, but for a grazed shin? It wasn't a bloody Cantona kung-fu assault!
The crowd were in uproar and even went as far as booing during the very awkward post-match interview with the winner, Marin Cilic. Clearly, most of them didn't see the incident properly because there was no justification for that reaction, however, I understand their disappointment, especially as no one got on the microphone to properly explain what happened. The interview with Nalbandian himself did leave a bitter taste in the mouth though. He apologised but with the caveat that the rules were rubbish (shrugging his shoulders when asked if he should be allowed to continue playing) and then launched an attack on the ATP! A very inappropriate time to do this and really, he should have accepted his punishment and slunk home in disgrace. I felt that he only said that because he judged the mood of the crowd to perfection and rather slyly, knew that he'd get a good response - which he did. The crowd cheered him and chanted for the match to be continued. I think the match should have continued but beforehand, the crowd shown a replay of the incident - then they could boo Nalbandian instead!
From a trading point of view, I was fortunate I was listening to commentators on the BBC who knew the rules because I certainly didn't! As soon as they mentioned Nalbandian was likely to be disqualified, I exited for a small loss. I'm sure many people didn't and got burnt, as both players were trading at around evens when it happened. There were a lot of lays at sub-1.3 (where the price stagnated for a few minutes), hoping that the market was over-reacting but in that situation, if you don't know the rules, you are better off just staying out.
The ATP have fined Nalbandian the maximum amount of 10,000 Euros today, which is a drop in the ocean for someone with career earnings of over $10 million, though I think fair enough. I guess you can't really change the rules mid-game but I would like to see a more flexible approach in future when there are paying customers involved, so that different situations can be taken into account. So whilst I think Nalbandian deserves punishment, I don't see why he had to be disqualified and everyone's day ruined. And if you think that the line-judge shouldn't have had his day ruined either, well he'll be fine - as someone on Twitter reminded me, his phone will be red hot with calls: 'Have you had an accident or injury at work? We can help with your claim!'..........
UPDATE: Apparently, a complaint has been made to the police and they are looking into a case for assault!! What the hell is the world coming to?! I told you someone would be out for compensation.............