Andre Agassi was known as brat during the first decade or so of his professional career, and for good reason. On the anniversary of his final singles title, we recall a time he lost his cool and suffered the consequences.
Often labelled a bad boy, the “Las Vegas Kid” was never afraid to take on officials and express his disgust when calls didn’t go his way on court.
But he took things a little too far in August 1996 when he ended up getting disqualified from the ATP Tour’s RCA Championships in Indianapolis.
Just a couple of weeks after he won the gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics, Agassi hit the headlines for the wrong reason as he got involved in a heated row with officials.
The American was up against Canadian Daniel Nestor in the second round of the hard-court event in Indiana and won the opening set quite comfortably at 6-1, but then all hell broke loose in the second set.
It started when Nestor broke to take a 3-2 lead, and Agassi’s frustrations got the better of him as he hit the ball into the stands. Naturally, he got called out for ball abuse by chair umpire Dana Laconto.
Instead of just getting on with things, he used some expletives when talking to the chair umpire and the ATP supervisor Mark Darby was called in.
After a discussion, Agassi was disqualified for the first time during his professional career.
“I got a warning; then he went straight to default,” he said afterwards. “I felt I had an argument for not getting a point penalty. It’s something I’ve said a thousand times and today they decide that I crossed the line.”
Of course Agassi was not happy with Darby’s decision.
He added: “It’s a call made by a guy who shouldn’t be in this business.”
He later added: “I will take responsibility for getting a warning and I will take the responsibilities for getting upset on the court like I have done a thousand times, sometimes. But I will not accept this decision. It was a wrong decision.”
The papers (the Internet wasn’t a thing back then) had their fun with headlines as The Independent went with “Agassi disqualified as umpire strikes back”.
“Fuming Agassi out by default” – Washington Post
The Chicago Tribune simply went with “Agassi Ejected From Rca’s 2nd Round
The Los Angeles Times’ Julie Cart did a follow up piece stating “Agassi’s Special Treatment Must End”.
“Foul mouth gets Agassi tossed” was the headline the Desert News used.
Three years later and he would again be disqualified and yes, it was once again for swearing as he was also hit with a $13,000 fine on the back of his default against fellow American Cecil Mamiit in San Jose in 1999.
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