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Tennis player tantrums and umpire clashes: Andrey Rublev and Rafael Nadal the latest to lose their cool

After Andrey Rublev and Rafael Nadal clashed with chair umpires in Madrid, what can be done to stem player tantrums? Or do they, and Daniil Medvedev, have a point? watch over 80 tournaments a year, including the US Open, exclusively live on Sky Sports Tennis

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We take a look at incidents over the course of the ATP Tour season so far where umpires and players have gone head-to-head in heated exchanges

After Andrey Rublev and Rafael Nadal were seen clashing with umpires at the Madrid Open over the weekend, why is it that more and more players seem to be losing their cool?

Nadal's clash with umpire Fergus Murphy came after he believed he had marked a shot from Alex de Minaur long, while there were two contentious calls in Rublev's match that so enraged the world No 8.

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Rafael Nadal had a disagreement with the umpire over a missed challenge during his match against Alex De Minaur at the Madrid Open

Did both actually have a point and does there need to be a greater introduction of technology into the sport to correct umpire errors, or do these player tantrums need stopping, with strong punishments introduced?

Is this indeed a new problem in the sport or just a drop in the ocean compared to John McEnroe's 'You cannot be serious?!' heyday?

Why does Rublev keep getting in trouble?

The McEnroe of the present era appears to be Andrey Rublev, certainly on the evidence of the past few months. His latest remonstrations with the chair umpire in Madrid on Sunday came swiftly on the back of a disqualification in Dubai in March and the obliteration of his racket during his shock Barcelona Open defeat to Brandon Nakashima a fortnight ago.

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Andrey Rublev was disqualified from the Dubai Tennis Championship for screaming in the face of a line judge after he was unhappy with a line call, with the win going to Alexander Bublik

In Dubai, Rublev was defaulted for unsportsmanlike conduct for screaming in the face of a line judge during a heated semi-final clash with Alexander Bublik.

Originally docked his prize money and ranking points from the week, Rublev at least earned them back following an appeal to the ATP, though he still had to pay a of $36,400 fine, promising at the time to "be a better player and better person."

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By Rublev's standards, his complaints in Madrid were fairly tame - N.B. said racket-smashing against Nakashima - but it followed swiftly off the back of a similar complaint lodged mid-match by the normally more mild-mannered Rafael Nadal on Saturday.

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Rublev smashed his racket to the ground in rage after his shock defeat to Brandon Nakashima at the Barcelona Open

"Now I start to think we need only machines on court instead of referees?" Rublev said after one contentious call from his match against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Does he have a point?

Is the issue line-calling and the use of technology?

Nadal's clash with umpire Fergus Murphy, eventually calling the on-court supervisor, came after he believed he had marked a shot from Alex de Minaur long, only to discover he had to officially challenge the point.

This, along with the two contentious calls in Rublev's match, will likely fuel further debate about what challenge system should be used and whether there is a need for video replays to be fully introduced in tennis.

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Rublev was not happy with the officiating at the Madrid Open as he remonstrated with the match umpire, suggesting machines are needed to replace line judges in order to get decisions right

Back following his Dubai disqualification, Daria Kasatkina leapt to Rublev's defence on social media, calling for greater technology to be introduced into the sport.

"So you can just default a player, take his points and money away, without even checking a video replay??? What a joke, another confirmation we need a VAR in tennis and electronic line calling on all tournaments," she said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Former British tennis player Naomi Broady told Sky Sports: "On clay, there is always going to be a discrepancy when you walk up to the mark. Some of them are so close.

"The chair umpire ends up almost saying in his head, 'I'm just going to have to make a decision either way here'. There's no way to know for sure.

"So bring challenges in everywhere, at every single tournament across the clay. The argument isn't then to be had with the chair umpire."

'Player aggression starting to snowball in tennis'

Broady added on the subject of player tantrums on court: "It's nothing new, but there's a line isn't there?

"It is starting to snowball a bit in tennis… the aggression seems to have gone up and we're seeing it more and more often.

"Sometimes you can understand the players' frustrations, sometimes they are right about the line calls being wrong, but the way in which they are reacting to the chair umpires, I think it's starting to become almost the culture now.

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Daniil Medvedev was left fuming with the chair umpire at the Monte Carlo Masters during his match against Karen Khachanov

"I'm guilty of it myself. I would always get extremely upset and have that loss of control.

"I feel differently on racket banging. I think that should be allowed, if you want to throw your racket down and vent frustration.

"We still want to see the players' emotion and their passion. We don't want robots out there… but it's when your aggression is directed towards anybody, that's when I think we really need to clamp down on it."

Should there be harsher punishments dished out to players?

With Rublev seemingly having not completely corrected his behaviour since his Dubai outburst, with 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev also a regular offender, is there currently enough of a deterrent against players losing their cool on court?

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The umpire attempted to calm down Daniil Medvedev after he became enraged over a line call during his match against Gael Monfils at the Monte Carlo Masters

Rather than just fining well-compensated athletes, could and should players lose ranking points and prize money, as was the punishment initially handed down to Rublev in Dubai before his successful appeal? Or should there even be the threat of a ban being imposed?

"If your aggression is directed towards the chair umpire, or any official on the court, I think we absolutely need a harsher punishment," Broady said.

"The fines either need to be much greater, much larger, or maybe there needs to be some sort of points deduction from their ranking. For some of these players out there earning a lot of money, the fines clearly aren't big enough of a deterrent.

"I know that when bans have been on the horizon for players in the past - on their final warning - then suddenly nothing else happens, they are more able to keep things in check.

"If you had bans as the punishment, I think we would see an immediate drop-off with it."

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