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Nalbandian apologises to linesman, blasts ATP

ESPN staff
June 18, 2012
David Nalbandian observes the damage he caused © Getty Images

David Nalbandian offered a public apology to the linesman he injured during the Queen's final, but also took the opportunity to lash out at ATP officials.

Nalbandian, who had won the first set against Marin Cilic 7-6(3), was disqualified "due to unsportsmanike behaviour" after opening up a gash on line judge Andrew McDougall's leg. The Argentine kicked an advertising board in front of McDougall, forcing referee Fergus Murphy to award Cilic the match, and the championship.

Following his on-court apology, a contrite Nalbandian then issued a statement via the ATP to limit the damage ahead of next week's Wimbledon championship, where he was runner-up 10 years ago.

"I never intended to hit him (the line judge), it was an unfortunate reaction in which I wanted to let off steam after losing a point," Nalbandian's statement read.

"I had the opportunity to personally apologise to the line umpire for this regrettable act that I am fully responsible for."

Nalbandian lost the championship, along with a £36,000 runners-up cheque and 150 ranking points as a result of his actions. He also faces up to an eight-week ban and an £8,000 fine, which will be determined by the ATP at a later date.

However, in a move which could land him in yet more hot water, Nalbandian used the incident to suggest ATP officials impose too many rules and restrictions on players.

"Everybody makes mistakes, right? When somebody else does a mistake, they have to pay in the same way, but the players don't feel that happens much, especially with ATP.

"In the beginning of the year you have to sign that you agree with everything that the ATP says. And sometimes you don't. And if you don't want to sign, you cannot play ATP tournaments.

"Sometimes the ATP put a lot of pressure on the players, and sometimes you get injured because you play on dangerous surface and nothing happens," he said.

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