A Swedish tennis player is facing a hefty fine after being disqualified from the Lyon Open for a violent act towards a chair umpire.
Mikael Ymer had beaten French veteran Richard Gasquet in the first round but his second-round match, against another home hero in Arthur Fils, devolved into chaos late in the first set.
WATCH IN THE VIDEO ABOVE: Wild scenes as tennis player kicked out of tournament for umpire outburst.
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The drama kicked off at 5-5 30-30 when Ymer, after playing another shot, claimed a ball was out on a point that handed break point to Fils.
The Swede complained that the umpire went against the norm in refusing to step down and check the ball’s mark on the red clay.
“So whenever a mark comes, if it’s over there, you’re going to say I saw it and not come down to check it?” Ymer asked.
“I’ve never witnessed that a ref said ‘I’m not going to go down and check the mark’. No, it doesn’t happen. Why are you not checking the mark I’m giving to you?”
But the umpire was on the right side of the argument and Ymer was forced back on to the court.
He saved two break points before it all erupted when a Fils passing shot wrapped up the game.
As the Lyon crowd roared for their man, Ymer made a beeline for the umpire and smashed his racquet twice against the chair.
While he struck an area below the umpire’s feet Ymer left no doubt about his intentions, looking up and staring at the official between hits and again before he walked away.
“Mikael Ymer, well, he’s going to be gone here,” a commentator said.
“I think he’s done. You can’t do that. There’s just no way this can carry on.”
As officials moved towards disqualifying Ymer, the player referenced a similar incident involving Alexander Zverev in February last year.
The German swung his racquet at an umpire’s chair several times but was allowed to continue with the Mexican Open doubles match, which he went on to lose.
Zverev was subsequently kicked out of the singles draw, fined $A56,000 forced to forfeit more than $A42,000 in prize money and all rankings points from the tournament.
He was later fined an additional $A34,000 and given a suspended eight-week ban that would come into effect for any future unsportsmanlike conduct. It expired in February this year.
Zverev’s sanctions now loom large over Ymer, though minor differences in the scenarios could come into play.
While Ymer criticised the umpire he did not dish out abuse to the extent that Zverev attacked the official in his match.
“You f****** destroyed the whole f****** match. The whole f****** match,” the German shouted.
Ymer’s immediate disqualification could also be considered part of his punishment, which looks set to cost him far more than the €9880 ($A16,000) he earned for reaching the second round in Lyon.
The world No.53 is not expected to be kicked out of the French Open beginning next week.
“This is disgraceful behaviour from Mikael Ymer, who is rightly disqualified from the match in Lyon,” tennis journalist James Gray said.
“Can expect a hefty fine and (by precedent of Zverev) a suspended ban.”
In a surprise twist, Ymer received the backing of his opponent on the day.
“Don’t blame Ymer, he’s my friend off the court, he’s a great guy,” Fils reportedly told his post-match press conference.
“He will come back next year and you will support him, cracks happen.”
The Swede’s behaviour came in for heavy criticism at a time when the tennis world continues its debate surrounding traditional line judges and the move to Hawkeye systems.
“Not justifying the reaction at all but the amount of people that think a bad bounce = line hit is insane,” American tennis star Taylor Fritz said.
“Crazy bounces happen all over the court and especially near lines.”