Angry Tennis Players

In professional tennis, where grace and skill meet relentless competition, emotions often run high. 

Over the years, a handful of players have carved out their niche in the annals of tennis history, not only for their remarkable skills but also for their fiery and sometimes volatile personalities on the court. 

Whether engaging in heated exchanges with umpires, smashing rackets in frustration, or confronting opponents head-on, these moments have etched a lasting impression on the sport’s rich history.

This article delves into the intriguing world of “Angry Tennis Players,” shedding light on moments when some of the sport’s most celebrated figures allowed their emotions to take centre stage.

List of Angry Tennis Players:

Sr. No. PlayerNotable Incident(s)
1Nick Kyrgios2019 Mexican Open – Controversial underarm serves.
2John McEnroe 1981 Wimbledon – “You cannot be serious!” outburst. 
3Novak Djokovic2020 US Open – Disqualification for hitting a line judge.
4Serena Williams2018 US Open – Heated confrontation with the umpire.
5Jimmy Connors1991 US Open – Expletive-filled tirade against an official.
6Andy Roddick2010 US Open – Anger at an official for a foot fault. 
7Lleyton Hewitt2001 French Open – Confrontation with Guillermo Coria.
8Viktor Troicki2016 Wimbledon – Heated argument with an umpire.
9Bernard Tomic 2017 Wimbledon – Accusations of tanking and disrespect.
10Ilie Nastase 1973 Wimbledon – Verbal abuse of opponent Niki Pilic. 

It’s important to note that rankings and perceptions of these players as the “angriest” in tennis can vary based on different sources or criteria.

Nonetheless, the incidents and anecdotes presented here offer a glimpse into the complex and intense world of professional tennis, where the pressure to perform at the highest level often leads to emotional eruptions that can overshadow even the most stellar accomplishments.

1. Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios is one of the most angry tennis players in the modern era. 

His on-court antics have drawn attention on numerous occasions, making him a frequent topic of discussion among tennis enthusiasts and critics alike. 

Kyrgios has been involved in various incidents, such as verbal altercations with umpires, smashing rackets, and even engaging in heated exchanges with spectators. 

His unabashed expressions of frustration and anger have become somewhat characteristic of his career, overshadowing his undeniable talent and skill on the court. 

The Australian player’s emotional outbursts, while sometimes seen as a genuine expression of passion for the sport, have also earned him fines and criticisms, solidifying his position in the list of angry tennis players.

In the 2019 Mexican Open, Kyrgios, despite winning against Rafael Nadal, did not escape controversy. 

He was criticized for using underarm serves during the match, which many considered unsportsmanlike. 

His response to the criticism was as fiery as his on-court persona, defending his tactics and engaging in a war of words with Nadal and his team.

2. John McEnroe

John McEnroe, a legendary figure in the tennis world, is not only remembered for his exceptional skills but also for his fiery temperament on the court. 

His infamous outburst, “You cannot be serious!”, during the 1981 Wimbledon championships, has become emblematic of the kind of passionate, yet angry tennis players can exhibit during high-stakes matches. 

McEnroe never shied away from expressing his dissatisfaction with umpires’ calls and was known for his confrontational style, often engaging in verbal tirades against officials and sometimes even the audience.

In the 1984 Stockholm Open, McEnroe exploded in a rage, smashing his water jug with his racket, sending water onto the court. 

This incident was one of many that solidified his reputation as one of the most angry tennis players, often allowing his temper to overshadow his exceptional talent.

3. Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic, one of the most successful tennis players in history, has had moments of fury on the court. 

His disqualification from the 2020 US Open after inadvertently hitting a line judge with a ball during a moment of frustration is a testament to how even the most seasoned players can lose their cool. 

Djokovic’s outbursts have sometimes cast a shadow over his numerous accomplishments, providing a stark reminder that the pressures and expectations in professional tennis can lead to emotional eruptions even among the sport’s elite.

In the 2016 French Open, Djokovic, frustrated by his performance and the rainy conditions, threw his racket backwards, almost hitting a line judge. 

This incident was a close call and could have had severe consequences, highlighting how even top players can lose control in moments of frustration and be the most angry tennis players.

4. Serena Williams

Serena Williams, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, has also been subject to emotional outbursts on the court. 

Her confrontation with the umpire during the 2018 US Open, where she violated codes, showcased a raw and intense side of Serena that the public rarely sees. 

Her vehement protests and calling the umpire a ‘liar’ and ‘thief’ became a widely discussed incident, sparking debates about sportsmanship, gender biases, and the emotional toll of competitive sports.

In the 2009 US Open semi-final against Kim Clijsters, Serena was foot-faulted, leading to a penalty point at match point down. 

Her subsequent outburst towards the line judge, including allegedly threatening her, resulted in a point penalty that ended the match, showcasing a moment of intense emotion and anger.

5. Jimmy Connors

Jimmy Connors, while celebrated for his remarkable career, is also remembered for his angry outbursts and confrontations during matches. 

His 1991 US Open tirade against an official, where he unleashed a string of expletives and called the umpire a ‘bum’, is one of the most notable incidents that showcased his volatile emotional state during competitions. 

Connors was known for his aggressive and combative spirit on the court, often clashing with officials and opponents alike, making him one of the more controversial and angry tennis players of his time.

Another memorable incident occurred during the 1987 U.S. Open. 

In a heated match against Ivan Lendl, Connors was involved in a contentious dispute with the chair umpire. 

Frustrated by what he perceived as unfavourable calls, Connors famously grabbed a microphone and sarcastically remarked, “Would the umpire in the chair please go home and let us play some tennis?” 

This outburst showcased Connors’ argumentative style and willingness to challenge authority in the heat of competition.

6. Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick, despite his significant accomplishments in tennis, was also known for his temperamental moments on the court. he was among the most angry tennis players of his time.

His outbursts, often directed towards umpires or himself, were characterized by smashed rackets and vocal frustrations. 

Roddick’s angry moments, like when he got mad at an official during the 2010 US Open for a foot fault, showed how much pressure and emotion players go through in big moments in their careers.

During the 2008 Australian Open, Andy Roddick faced a challenging match against Czech player Tomas Berdych. 

Frustrated by a series of unforced errors, Roddick smashed his racket repeatedly against the court, sending it flying into the stands. 

This display of anger and racket destruction was a clear indication of his emotional intensity during high-stakes matches.

7. Lleyton Hewitt

Lleyton Hewitt, with his aggressive and combative spirit, has exhibited numerous instances of anger and frustration on the court. 

His confrontations with umpires attempts to hit balls toward them in frustration, and vocal outbursts have sometimes overshadowed his skillful gameplay. 

Hewitt’s on-court demeanour, characterized by his fiery personality and occasional lack of restraint, has solidified his reputation as one of the more controversial and angry tennis players.

In the 2001 French Open, Lleyton Hewitt had a highly charged confrontation with Argentine player Guillermo Coria. 

After a disputed line call, Hewitt exchanged heated words with Coria and even made a throat-slitting gesture towards him. 

This incident highlighted Hewitt’s combative spirit and his readiness to engage in on-court confrontations.

8. Viktor Troicki

Viktor Troicki has had his fair share of emotional moments on the tennis court, notably during the 2016 Wimbledon when he vehemently confronted an umpire over a call. 

Troicki’s explosive reaction, which included snatching a ball from a ball boy and resuming a heated confrontation with the umpire even after the match, revealed a hidden anger and frustration that professional tennis players usually keep inside.

In the 2015 Davis Cup semifinals against Great Britain, Viktor Troicki had a controversial encounter with the chair umpire during a crucial match. 

Troicki vehemently argued over a line call and accused the umpire of being biased. 

His intense outburst and refusal to continue drew widespread attention and showcased his inability to control his emotions. Hence, Viktor is also counted among the most angry tennis players.

9. Bernard Tomic

Bernard Tomic, often called the “bad boy” of Australian tennis, has been involved in numerous controversies, both on and off the court. 

His on-court demeanour, which includes tanking matches, disrespecting opponents, and engaging in verbal altercations with spectators, has earned him a spot among the most notorious angry tennis players. 

In 2017, Bernard Tomic faced controversy during Wimbledon when he was accused of “tanking” in his match. 

The term ‘tanking’ suggests that he appeared to put in minimal effort, sparking debate and criticism in the tennis community and among fans.

Tomic’s apparent lack of respect for the sport and its norms has often overshadowed his talent and potential as a professional player.

During a match at the 2012 Madrid Open, Bernard Tomic had a heated exchange with the chair umpire after a disputed call. 

Tomic berated the umpire, claiming he was biased against him. 

His angry outbursts and disrespectful behaviour towards the official were clear indicators of his volatile temperament.

10. Ilie Nastase

Ilie Nastase, despite his remarkable achievements in tennis, was often in the limelight for his controversial and unsportsmanlike conduct on the court. 

Known for his mocking, swearing, and often violent actions, Nastase was no stranger to controversy and conflict. 

His quarrelsome and often disrespectful behaviour towards opponents, officials, and even the audience has made him one of the most controversial and angry tennis players in the history of the sport.

In the 1973 Wimbledon Championships, Ilie Nastase had a notorious clash with fellow player Niki Pilic. 

Nastase lost his temper and verbally abused Pilic during their match, leading to his disqualification from the tournament. 

This incident highlighted Nastase’s confrontational and unsportsmanlike behaviour on the tennis court.


In the heat of competition, these players have unleashed their frustrations, sometimes with a racket in hand, at other times through fiery words. 

Their confrontations with umpires, opponents, and even themselves have added spice to the sport, creating unforgettable moments in tennis history.

As we wrap up our journey through the world of “Angry Tennis Players,” it’s important to remember that behind their fiery outbursts, these players hold a profound love for the game. 

Tennis is a ride full of ups and downs, and these athletes have allowed us to peek into the intense emotions that come with competing at the highest level.

In the end, even though they may be known for their anger, they should also be recognized and appreciated for their deep passion, unwavering determination, and significant contributions to the sport.

Also, check out Top 10 Spanish Tennis Players of All Time

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