Argentina's David Nalbandian has been forced out of the Queen's Club final in disgrace after injuring a line judge. He has offered his apologies.
Nalbandian had been leading in his final against Croatia's Marin Cilic on Sunday, 7-6, 3-3.
When he angrily responded to dropping his serve in the seventh game by slamming his foot into an advertising board, however, his loss was secured.
As the board went flying, it splintered and cut official Andrew McDougall's left leg. McDougall clutched his bleeding leg and was eventually escorted off court to be treated at the club's medical centre.
The umpire and tournament officials discussed a course of action which resulted in Nalbandian being disqualified.
ATP, the ruling tennis body, states instant disqualification in such instances, but the Argentine, a Wimbledon finalist in 2002, felt he had been harshly punished.
Nalbandian insists, however, that he should not have been forced to default.
"Sometimes you get very frustrated on court and it's tough to control that and sometimes I do a mistake, so it's very tough to end a final like that," he said.
"I agree I do a mistake, but sometimes everybody do a mistake and I didn't feel it had to end like that, especially in a final." (sic)
Tournament director Chris Kermode commented on the decision and reflected on Nalbandian's regret.
"Rules are rules. The ATP forced us to end the final. David is struggling to come to terms with it. He is very sorry for what he has done," he said.
Nalbandian's opponent was disappointed to win the match by default.
"It's definitely not the way I wanted to win it," Cilic said. "The match was still open but I can't change it. I'm sorry for the [spectators] that it had to end like this."
The final was Nalbandian's first on grass since losing to Australian Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon 10 years ago.
tm/jlw (Reuters, AP, AFP)