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The Chavgates Have Opened.

Posted by gauloises1 on June 28, 2010

Victor Hanescu exited the championships in controversial circumstances on Friday, retiring when 0-3 down to Daniel Brands and subsequently being fined for unsportsmanlike conduct (spitting at spectators) and lack of effort.

I was watching on TV, and this is what I saw: after leading two sets to love, Hanescu lost a third-set tiebreak to some excellent tennis from Brands. He called the trainer and received treatment for a leg injury, but seemed really rattled throughout the fourth set (which Brands deservedly won). As he was stepping up to serve to begin the fifth, he approached the umpire and complained about something, mentioning his injury, and was subsequently broken to love. After Brands held, Victor yelled at a section of the crowd quite viciously (he did spit towards them) and then totally tanked his service game, standing on the line to deliberately get foot-faulted. After he’d been broken to love again, he left abruptly after shaking Brands’ hand. Very soon afterwards, tournament referee Andrew Jarret requested a recording of the match, and then news broke that four spectators had been arrested.

This is The Guardian‘s account:

Hanescu, who was fined $15,000 (£10,000) yesterday, spat towards the crowd and walked off court when he was leading Daniel Brands, of Germany, 3-0 in the fifth set on Friday. Hanescu apologised in a statement yesterday, saying: “I lost my control briefly in the fifth set after another insult from someone in the crowd. I should never have done that but I am human and I made a mistake.”

A statement by the All England Club said: “Following a review, Victor Hanescu has been fined $7,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct and a further $7,500 for not using best efforts at the conclusion of the match. No further comment will be made by the referee or the chair umpire.”

Hanescu could yet be charged by police with common assault if it is found he did spit and hit a member of the public.

The four young men were in a seated area of the court when they allegedly began abusing Hanescu. He complained to the umpire and became frustrated when the group were allowed to continue their tirade.

After being ejected by stewards, they watched from the standing area above the court where their heckling continued.

One witness said: “He was receiving treatment [for a leg problem] and there were four guys standing on the walkway high up and they started getting personal, calling him a ‘loser’ and ‘weak’.

“That was just after he’d finished his treatment and was waiting to serve, and that really rattled him because he dropped the ball. The whole crowd gasped because everybody felt it was wrong. You could see the guys had been drinking.”

The match continued until Hanescu reached boiling point. The witness said: “Just a few minutes later there was another incident. He was serving again and something happened – I didn’t hear it, but that’s when he turned to a different section of the crowd. He began to shout. He looked really, really angry.

“He started to walk towards the crowd and then he shouted: ‘Fuck you.’ And I could see this big bit of spit fly out of his mouth towards the crowd. I saw it clear as day, sort of looping up into the air.

“An American guy stood up and said: ‘What are you doing? You can’t spit at the crowd!’

“Then he continued to serve and hit his balls long to get his game over. He just walked up, shook his opponent’s hand and walked off. It was unbelievable.”

Other eyewitness accounts alledge that the spectators in question called Hanescu a ‘gypsy’ and were making noise during his serves.

While there’s no question that Hanescu behaved badly, both in berating the crowd and tanking his last service game, nor any question that he should be held accountable for his behaviour, I felt just watching the match on TV that the umpire’s handling of the situation left a lot to be desired. Those fans should have been removed, not just from the match but from the grounds. If that wasn’t possible, it would at least have been good to have seen the umpire (I think it was Gerry Armstrong) talking to Hanescu and explaining it wasn’t happening. Instead, it seemed like the umpire buried his head in the sand and left Hanescu feeling completely isolated.

I’m not condoning what Victor did at all, but this sort of thing should not happen at Wimbledon. I’ve always been proud of the respect that the players and the game get from the crowd in SW19; yes, they’re typically well-lubricated by the end of the day and yes, there’s a lot of barracking that goes on, but it is unfailingly courteous and takes place within the boundaries of polite spectatorship. The fact that players at Wimbledon can expect to be well treated and watched by spectators who more or less understand how to behave during a tennis match has always been one of the things that makes the tournament special, and I frankly am totally in favour of expelling anyone from the grounds who doesn’t adhere to a certain basic code of conduct. There’s no doubt that Hanescu should have handled it much better than he did – but he shouldn’t have had to handle it at all.

Just my opinion.

4 Responses to “The Chavgates Have Opened.”

  1. raindelaysplay said

    Not just yours! Well said.

  2. lauren said

    I’m still deeply puzzled. Hanescu is the most impassive man on tour. Isn’t this just further evidence that we entered the Twilight Zone last week with 70-68, RogNoleRafa floundering in 5, Malisse winning matches, Blake v Pam, the Queeeeen, hot weather, etc.

    I’m still wondering what these guys were actually arrested for in the end.

  3. Camelia said

    He must have been really, really angry to have reacted like that. He usually shows so little emotion that I find it difficult to get excited about his game, even if I’m Romanian. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read it!

    I didn’t see the match, but from what I hear, the umpire didn’t help one bit :(, and that’s just a shame. He even refused to shake Hanescu’s hand at the end of the match! What was THAT about?

    Victor was just very unlucky. There’s a lot of discrimination against Romanians in Western Europe, mainly because a lot of Romanian gypsies steal and beg all over Europe. But the gypsy population in Romania is around 8%. (And not all of them beg and steal). On the other hand, the Romanians have been living on this land for more than 2500 years, and we are just as European as the French or Czechs or Germans. I’m just sick and tired of people mistaking Rroma (official name of one of the gypsy ethnic groups) for Romania. The name Romania comes from Rome, this territory was once a province of the Roman Empire…

    Sorry for the patriotic rant and the unrequested history lesson, but to be insulted and called a gypsy at Wimbledon is just, i don’t know,…surreal.

  4. tali said

    Let me just say that I have heard from people who were actually sat on that match that crowd called Hanescu Gypsy and go back to Romania and all sorts and its really upseting that things like that happen at all. Specially at Wimbles.

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