Watch: Tennis star defaulted from match after angry outburst at line judge

Watch: Tennis star defaulted from match after angry outburst at line judge
Andrey Rublev was furious at a call he received from the linesperson - Tennis TV

World No 5 Andrey Rublev was defaulted from the Dubai Championships after losing his temper and screaming in the face of a line judge.

The disqualification means that Alexander Bublik will progress to the final, while Rublev will be stripped of the rankings points and prize money he would have earned, thus slipping down one place on the ladder to No 6.

This is the ninth straight year that the ATP Tour has seen a player defaulted. There were only 14 cases over the 40 years after Ilie Nastase became the first man to suffer the penalty in 1976, but the situation has become increasingly common, with Rublev the 12th man to suffer this fate since 2016.

Rublev’s outburst came late in a tight and compelling match after Bublik had held serve to move 6-5 ahead in the deciding set. Rublev believed that a Bublik forehand had flown long on the last point of that 11th game, and TV evidence suggested that he might have been right, but the Dubai Championships are using human line judges who have been somewhat erratic all tournament.

What Rublev should have done is to stop play and challenge via Hawk-Eye, but this can be a difficult decision to make in the middle of a rally. Instead he approached the baseline judge aggressively after the point had ended.

As soon as the players sat down for the 6-5 changeover, a supervisor came out with a Russian interpreter and told Rublev that he had said something offensive in Russian to the baseline judge. Rublev disputed this, saying that he had not been speaking Russian in the first place. But after a short conversation, chair umpire Miriam Bley announced his disqualification anyway.

Bublik later said that he would like to have finished the match as normal, while Rublev’s friend and compatriot Daria Kasatkina complained on social media that the decision had been made too quickly and without resorting to video evidence.

However, Rublev had clearly acted in an intimidatory way towards a line judge – whatever language he was speaking in – and his disqualification fits a pattern of recent sanctions against players who challenge officials on court.