ROME — Viktor Troicki went on a four-minute tirade at the Italian Open on Wednesday that had even his notoriously short-tempered opponent calling for the meltdown to finally end.
Troicki trailed 6-1 and faced break point in the first game of the second set against Ernests Gulbis when he hit a backhand that chair umpire Cedric Mourier overruled and called long, giving the game to Gulbis. Mourier inspected the mark and confirmed the call, believing there was space between the outline of the ball on the clay and the line. Not satisfied, Troicki hopped over the net and had a look for himself.
“No, come on, Cedric, you know you’re wrong,” Troicki yelled as Mourier pointed at the mark. “Come on, you know you’re wrong. Come on, please. You know that you’re wrong. You called it and now you don’t want to overrule yourself. Come on, there is no space. You know there is no space. Come on, no, I don’t want to play like this. There is no space. There is zero space. … You don’t want to correct yourself … because you always think you’re right, but you’re not.”
Troicki continued to argue as Mourier walked back to the chair. From there, Troicki’s rant turned into pure entertainment.
“There is no chance it’s out. From the space you can see it’s there!” Troicki screamed, looking up to the sky and holding his hands in the air.
The crowd began applauding his stand-up routine. Of course, no proper comic is beneath using props. After the 27-year-old Serb demanded to see the supervisor and threatened to retire, he grabbed a nearby cameraman and instructed him to film the mark. The cameraman obliged.
Troicki went on for so long that Mourier eventually issued him a warning.
Gulbis — a 6-1, 6-1 winner in the second-round match — was not amused.
“When I get mentally nuts, I try not to affect the other guy,” Gulbis told SI.com after the match. “I don’t take too much of a break. Viktor got nuts and it took him, I don’t know, five minutes to calm down, and it’s after a game. I told the referee, ‘Come on. Either he plays or he defaults. Make a decision.’
“OK, you can make fun and jokes and a circus, but keep it short. Keep it one joke at a time.”
That’s just good life advice, Ernie.
Video via YouTube user thefanchild.