Nalbandian disqualified at Queen's final

David Nalbandian was disqualified after kicking an advertising board into a line judge's leg

Line judge Andrew McDougall (right) was injured when David Nalbandian (centre) kicked an advertising board into him

First published in National Sport News © by

David Nalbandian has been disqualified from the AEGON Championships final against Marin Cilic after kicking an advertising panel in to a line judge's leg.

Nalbandian won the first set on a tie-break but reacted angrily after being broken for the second time in the second set. Having just lost the seventh game Nalbandian fiercely kicked an advertising board in front of line judge Andrew McDougall's chair.

The board smacked into the line judge's shin and a caused an inch-long bloody gash. Referee Fergus Murphy then awarded Cilic the match, and the championship, disqualifying Nalbandian for "unsportsmanlike behaviour".

Nalbandian was apologetic, going over to McDougall but following consultation with ATP supervisor Tom Barnes, the match was abandoned. The crowd booed and chanted "play on", but the decision was final and Cilic was handed the crown.

Tournament official Chris Kermode told BBC1: "We're in the middle of a wonderful final and David Nalbandian ran across and in frustration kicked a panel underneath the linejudge. The panel went into his leg and cut it - he's quite seriously injured. The game has ended with a code violation.

"David is struggling to come to terms with it. He clearly regrets what happened - but these things happen... But there's not a lot we can do about it. We are under the governance of ATP rules." He added: "You'd like to think you can bend the rules but if you allow it (the game to continue) it sets a precedent."

Cilic appeared embarrassed to win the championship in such a manner and Nalbandian looked sullen in his chair while watching the Croatian parade the winning trophy.

Nalbandian told the Queen's crowd afterwards: "I am very sorry. Sometimes you get very frustrated on court. Sometimes I make a mistake I agree with. It's a tough moment to end a final like that but sometimes we feel so much pressure from the ATP playing so many tournaments.

"Today I've made a mistake. Sometimes I agree and I do but everyone makes mistakes. I don't feel it had to end like that - especially in a final. There are a lot of rules and sometimes they don't do anything. The rule book is very big and I can tell you the ATP do a lot to the players and nothing happens."

Cilic said: "It was very bitter. It's definitely not the way I wanted to win. To end like this is not easy. The match was getting hot and it's tough to see the final finish like this. I can't change it, but I'm really sorry for the fans that it finished like this."

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