American player shocks Nairobi ITF with most unsportsmanlike match of the season

A young player protagonist of the most grotesque match of the year

by Lorenzo Ciotti
American player shocks Nairobi ITF with most unsportsmanlike match of the season
© Jamie McDonald / Staff Getty Images

Evidently the heat of these days must go to everyone's head a bit, including tennis players, at least those who have not enjoyed the deliciously autumnal temperatures of Wimbledon! During the ITF Futures in Nairobi, in Kenya, the young 16-year-old American tennis player Red (we use a fantasy name, he is still sixteen-year-old - ed.) let loose a truly regrettable violent reaction, which could cost him at the very least a disqualification.

What happened, as witnessed by a video recorded by a fan present in the stands, shows Red's outburst with an unsportsmanlike gesture towards his opponent.

He pretended to retire and, once he reached the net for the handshake, he pulled it back leaving his opponent. The match resumed but for Red, evidently, the drama-queen day had just begun! The American protested when the umpire called something he didn't agree with: at this point he started hitting balls first outside the facility and then on the scoreboard. Then the player threw his racket towards the stands and the fans.

Tennis balls
Tennis balls© Francois Nel / Staff Getty Images Sport

At the end of the match, leaving the court, he attempted to attack the chair umpire, with a jump and a fake face-to-face confrontation, before leaving screaming and kicking a water bottle. Absurd.

Evidently this year tennis has to face controversies and controversies of all kinds. Between fights with unruly crowds, fans who rebel on social media, girlfriends who post content against their boyfriends' rivals, altercations and more, we are experiencing a sparkling season, in terms of controversies. At Wimbledon several have happened. Just think of Novak Djokovic's controversy against Casper Ruud's fans, or Morgan Riddle's controversial post against Alexander Zverev. The Nairobi ITF incident is just the tip of the iceberg.

But tennis is also this today, and what happened in Nairobi highlights how there are obvious problems in managing the young careers of some athletes. Behavior like that of the young 16-year-old tennis player who made this grotesque spectacle in Nairobi, must be severely punished.