Did Andrey Rublev get rough justice after extraordinary disqualification in Dubai?

Kevin Palmer
Andrey Rublev defaulted in Dubai after angry outburst
Andrey Rublev defaulted in Dubai after angry outburst

There is no doubt that Andrey Rublev pushed the boundaries with his latest angry outburst against the officials, but did he deserve to be defaulted in Dubai?

World No 5 Andrey Rublev was sensationally defaulted after being accused of swearing at a line judge in the deciding set of his semi-final against Alexander Bublik.

The combustible Russian was trailing 6-5 in the third against Bublik when he approached the line judge and screamed at him after he failed to call out a ball that was close to the baseline.

ATP supervisor Roland Herfel came down to the court accompanied by a Russian speaker, who claimed Rublev had sworn in his native language.

Rublev protested, insisting he was speaking in English, while Bublik also backed his opponent.

“I didn’t say ‘f******’. I swear to God. This is huge. I swear to God,” said Rublev.

The offence would usually merit a warning in the first instance, but the 26-year-old was defaulted by umpire Miriam Bley amid jeers from the crowd in Dubai.

It was a controversial end to a tight match, with Kazakhstan’s Bublik progressing to the final 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) 6-5.

While there is no doubt that Rublev was wrong to confront the lines judge in the manner he did, the consequences of his action may also be called into question as the dust settles on one of the most explosive incidents of the tennis year.

READ MORE: Angry Andrey Rublev thrown out of Dubai tournament amid amazing scenes

Under the Rules and Regulations of tennis, when a player violates a rule or does not follow the tennis code of conduct, the umpire or tournament official can issue one of the following (Section IV, Article C, Item 18 – “Unsportsmanlike Conduct”):

  • Point Penalty
  • Suspension Point

A third code of conduct offence can lead to a default, but Rublev did not go through that process before he was told his time in Dubai was finished by ATP supervisor Herfel.

Rublev was defaulted using the evidence presented by the line judge, but he was adamant he did not make the comment that led to his removal from the tournament.

What comes next in this story will be fascinating, as there is a possibility that Rublev will be stripped of his prize money and maybe even his ranking points following his disqualification.

That fate suffered by Alexander Zverev after he was disqualified from a tournament in Mexico in 2022 may be a sign of what is to come for Rublev.

Zverev was initially fined $40,000 and stripped of his prize money and ranking points after his angry outburst.

That punishment was later upgraded by a further $25,000 fine and a suspended eight-week ban from the ATP Tour after an investigation by tennis chiefs.

If Rublev is convinced he did not mutter the words that saw him thrown out in Dubai, he could consider a legal appeal against the decision that could lead to a huge problem for ATP chiefs.

What is not in doubt is the need for Rublev to find a way to control his anger issues, as he confirmed in an exclusive interview with Tennis365 last December.

“You work on it every day,” Rublev told Tennis365. “There are many things in life that are stressing us out and make us very angry.

“You can practise how to be calm when you want to explode everything. Then my coach has the psychology lessons.

“I have lost some matches because of myself. That is the reality and that makes it harder.

“To play your best you need a clear mind, but my emotions don’t always let me do that. I know I need to work on it, but it is not easy.

“I want to improve mentally and be ready for those big moments of majors to take my chances when I face the same opponent again.

“At this level, it’s not about tennis, it’s about little details like who is more mentally ready in that moment and who’s feeling better on that day.”

We might have heard the last of Rublev’s extraordinary exit from the tournament in Dubai, as the emotional tightrope he has been walking on the ATP Tour for the last few years finally saw him take a tumble.