Published On: Fri, Mar 1st, 2024

Tennis star demolishes racket on Dubai court while unleashing ‘can’t count’ rant at umpire | Tennis | Sport

Alexander Bublik vented furiously after losing his serve in the deciding set of his Dubai Open clash with Andrey Rublev in what proved an ill-tempered semi-final. The Kazakh player had just levelled the match after both the opening sets had gone to a tie-break, with Rublev winning the first 7-4 before Bublik held his nerve to prevail 7-5 second time around.

But it was the Russian world No.5 who drew first blood in the third set, taking the first of two break points with an attempted forehand pass that Bublik couldn’t return. And remarkable scenes followed, with the 26-year-old proceeding to hammer his racket on the surface five times until it was essentially demolished.

Bublik then shouted “you can’t count” at the umpire as he made his way back to his seat, who responded by issuing the player a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct. In reply, the world No.26 shouted “I said god dammit,” despite the official telling him she had clearly heard him use an expletive.

The fury of the world no.21 appeared to centre around the changing of the balls, angry that they had been changed after four games instead of the three that he claimed had been agreed. The umpire frequently tried to offer an explanation, but was interrupted each time by Bublik.

After an exchange that lasted almost two minutes, eventually the player turned and headed back to the court. Amusingly, his ranting was briefly interrupted by Rublev appearing to hand him a piece of his smashed up racket that had been left on the court.

But the drama didn’t end there. Bublik managed to regain his composure and break back, and the pair continued to exchange blows until Rublev was trailing 6-5 and needing to serve to stay in the match.

He never got the opportunity however, as the Russian then launched a bizarre rant of his own having been unhappy at a call in the previous game, and screamed in the face of a male line-judge.

Moments later, a senior official was joined by the line-judge in explaining to Rublev he had been disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct, with the umpire confirming the decision via an announcement. Perhaps aware of his own previous behaviour, Bublik gestured that he was happy to continue.

But the decision stood, meaning a clash that was set to go the distance ended in anti-climatic fashion. Bublik will now face Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the final after he caused a shock by beating top seed Daniil Medvedev in straight sets.

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