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Ivanisevic: Too much criticism of angry players

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Originally published on: 28/06/12 00:00

“It’s like if you have an action movie without anybody dying, isn’t it?” Ivanisevic said at Wimbledon. “It would be the same with a tennis tournament in which nobody broke any rackets.”

The former Wimbledon champion pointed to the example of Marcos Baghdatis, who smashed four rackets in succession during a changeover at this year’s Australian Open. “When he broke his first racket the crowd booed,” Ivanisevic said. “When he broke his second racket the crowd booed. When he broke the third one they started clapping.”

He added: “People are saying there aren’t enough characters in the game, but as soon as a character emerges they start to criticise him.”

Ivanisevic had sympathy with David Nalbandian, who was defaulted from the final of the Aegon Championships at Queen’s club after injuring a line judge when he kicked an advertising hoarding. “It was bad luck,” Ivanisevic said. “Sure, you shouldn’t do anything like that when you’re near a line judge or a ball boy, but he was unlucky. There should be more flexibility within the rules. The trouble is that as soon as you touch a line judge or a ball boy you’re in trouble, just like Tim Henman was here a few years ago.”

Henman and his doubles partner, Jeremy Bates, became the first players to be disqualified at Wimbledon in the Open era after Henman accidentally hit a ball girl in the head with a ball in 1995.

Ivanisevic would also like to see an end to video replays – he preferred the time when players could discuss line calls with officials – and restrictions on the number of times players can use towels during games.

“They take towels after every point,” he said. “They hit a forehand – towel. They hit a backhand – towel. They hit a smash – towel. They serve a double fault – towel. It’s disgusting. It means that you get so many games lasting 10 minutes or more. If they want to let people use towels they should restrict how many times they’re allowed to use them – maybe three times per game.”

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