McEnroe’s threat to photographers after being defaulted from Aus Open

John McEnroe says 'we all learn from our mistakes'

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During his playing career, John McEnroe was famed for courting controversy and was even disqualified from the 1990 Australian Open altogether after one such outburst.

During his fourth round match against Mikael Pernfors, McEnroe became the first player since 1963 to be disqualified from a Grand Slam event. After a close call went the way of Pernfors, McEnroe approached the lineswoman and glared at her.

This prompted umpire Gerry Armstrong to issue him a warning, before McEnroe was then docked a point for ‘racket abuse’ after smashing it on the ground when a shot went wide. McEnroe was furious with the decision and disputed it with the tournament’s chief supervisor Ken Farrar, who refused to overturn the decision.

McEnroe then reportedly yelled “‘Just go f*** your mother” to a supervisor, prompting him to be disqualified. McEnroe had fallen foul of new ATP Tour rules that had only come into effect that month, which stated that if a player was cited for unsportsmanlike conduct three times in a match then they would be disqualified.

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McEnroe later explained at a press conference that he was unaware of the new rules, but not before he became embroiled in more controversy as he threatened to storm out over photographers taking pictures of him. “I will walk out if you take photographs of me while I am talking,” he fumed.

“After you’ve played for three hours, I think it was unnecessary to disqualify me for a four-letter word. I think there should be better discretion.

“They have written the laws for me. Pernfors yells and people laugh because they think Swedish is funny.

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“If I’d known the [new] rules, I would probably have still broken my racket, but I probably wouldn’t have said what I said to the guy [Farrar]. I let things rattle me.

“This is like a long story, you know, that culminates in me getting defaulted at a big tournament. I mean, I guess it was bound to happen.”

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