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Sun Apr 20 22:57:45 SAST 2014

Police investigate Nalbandian 'assault'

Sapa-AFP | 18 June, 2012 14:050 Comments
AEGON Championships - Day Seven
David Nalbandian of Argentina shows his dejection after learning of his disqualification for unsportsmanlike conduct during the final of the AEGON Championships at Queens Club against Marin Cilic of Croatia on June 17, 2012 in London, England
Image by: Matthew Lewis / Getty Images

Police are investigating a complaint of alleged assault against Argentina's David Nalbandian after a line judge was injured when the tennis player kicked an advertising hoarding.

The 30-year-old was defaulted from the Queen's Club final in west London on Sunday for angrily kicking an advertising board at line judge Andrew McDougall which left the official suffering a gashed and bloodied leg.

Scotland Yard said Monday: "We are aware of an incident at the Aegon Championships on June 17. A complaint has been made and the Metropolitan Police Service is now investigating.

"The allegation is of assault."

Nalbandian, who had won Sunday's first set 7-6 (7/3) against Croatia's Marin Cilic, had just lost his serve to fall 4-3 down in the second when he reacted with a frustrated kick at the board, which was just in front of McDougall.

A stunned and angry McDougall then rolled up his trousers to reveal a bloody gash on his leg before remonstrating with Nalbandian.

Officials immediately disqualified Nalbandian "due to unsportsmanike behaviour" and Cilic was declared the champion of the ATP grasscourt event, a warm-up for Wimbledon, now the only one of tennis's four 'Majors' played on grass, which starts next week.

Nalbandian was stripped of his runners-up cheque, worth 44,945 euros ($56,802), and 150 ATP ranking points he would have earned as a beaten finalist.

He could also be hit with a 10,000 euro ($12,638) fine, which will be decided by ATP chiefs at a later date.

But he could also face an eight-week ban having also been fined $8,000 for throwing water at an Australian Open tournament worker in January following a five-set defeat by America's John Isner.

Having already apologised on court for his actions, Nalbandian issued a further statement through the ATP late Sunday in an effort to limit the damage ahead of Wimbledon, where he was runner-up in the 2002 men's singles final.

"I never intended to hit him (the line judge), it was an unfortunate reaction in which I wanted to let off steam after losing a point," Nalbandian said.

"I had the opportunity to personally apologise to the line umpire for this regrettable act that I am fully responsible for."

Although Nalbandian was contrite about the actual incident, he also vented his frustrations at the ATP.

He claimed officials impose too many rules on players, including asking them to play in the kind of slippery conditions that have been commonplace over the last few days at Queen's.

Nalbandian risked getting in more trouble as he said: "Everybody makes mistakes, right? When somebody else does a mistake, they have to pay in the same way, but the players don't feel that happens much, especially with ATP.

"Sometimes the ATP put a lot of pressure on the players, and sometimes you get injured because you play on dangerous surface and nothing happens."

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Police investigate Nalbandian 'assault'

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