Nalbandian serves ace for athlete’s rights

Athletes all across the sporting universe have taken it upon themselves to fight for their rights over the years.

Being professionals who are employed by organisations that run their respective sports like cut-throat businesses, it’s a necessity that they stand up and make their voices heard when they feel that change in the workplace is required.

From the cold, dark days of thankless slog in the amateur era to the platinum-painted foot massage of current professional times, the players deserve the plaudits as the ones pushing the barrow for a better lifestyle.


A lot has changed from the 2 shilling a season / 15 hour factory days of yore.

Players now enjoy benefits such as exorbitant contracts with inch-specific riders, rights to seeing family and partners on tours as well as fat chunks of eye-boggling partnership deals made by their employers, plus their ability of squeezing as many dollars out of their own corporate capabilities.

Player power is rife. Shrinking violets at the negotiation table they’re not, and so they shouldn’t be.

Sometimes, it doesn’t even reach the ‘table and suits’ mediation level.

On special occasions, the message is sensationally broadcasted from the arena of play when the dam walls of protest burst on the back of the smallest crack.

Last night, David Nalbandian joined the long list of sports stars that have taken an extra step on behalf of fellow employees in the fight for athlete’s rights.

For far too long, sporting officialdom has possessed the ability to enrage a competitor to within 2 inches of permanent baldness by continually applying the rules of the game and refusing to accept a competitor’s logic to a possible reconsideration.

How often do you witness a combatant so cruelly at the end of their tether, trying in vain to explain their point of view on a minor rulebook infringement only to be told to turn around and go back to the baseline like a good submissive?

The rights to recourse for those seeking to question are wrongly next to stuff-all.

It’s low and downright unhealthy for modern sport that the official can hold such power and be the unchallenged boss-dog.

Nalbandian blazed a spicy South American-style trail with a warning shot across the bows of adjudication last night by inadvertently kicking a line official in the final of the Queens Club tournament in London, resulting in a messy gash to the leg for the man in the chair.

The blood of modern reform symbolically trickled down the leg of the linesman, the wound radically ugly like so many discussions between player and official from the past, the generically branded tube sock soaked with historical significance.

Nalbandian was simply saying ‘I’ve had enough and so have my cohorts’ through the language of the swinging tennis shoe.

It’s been a long time coming, and this linesman was the straw to the weak and pony-tailed camel’s back of the Argentine.

Such was the amount of one-way interaction between player and official in the final that it took the minor incident of  Nalbandian dropping serve in the seventh game of the second set to ignite his passion to right this discrepancy of no right to appeal.

Nalbandian was then defaulted, bringing further attention to the incident and only advancing his plight for this tennis terrorism to be buried forever.

Queen’s claret that will change tennis forever.

His opponent Marin Cilic couldn’t believe his triple-treat luck, receiving the cheque, victor’s hardware and most importantly, the knowledge that he will be a beneficiary somewhere down the track now that this power-imbalance is getting the exposure it deserves.

And as if to confirm that Nalbandian was fair dinkum about getting this off the ground, he further defended his position remorselessly at the post-match presentation in front of delirious fans and the crestfallen powers-that-be.

A truer act of ballsy ground-breaking you will go very far to find.

This whole incident will simply inflate his standing among his counterparts as the protagonist against dictator-style umpires and fan-force a small spotfire into an inferno for player’s longed-for access to better pleading prerogatives.

To his tennis peers, he will be lauded as a hero in history and the man who finally put his foot on the throat of Darth Vader-style umpiring in tennis.

How Serena Williams could only wish this happened earlier so she could’ve shoved that tennis ball where she promised in the 2009 US Open final.

And you know John McEnroe just cracked some champagne somewhere too.

Leave a comment


  1. Fantastic dummy spit. Nalbandian has reminded us of a time when umpires on the tennis court actually feared for the well-being. With the likes of Conners and, most notably, Mcenroe having the patentent on tantrums, Umpires the world over became accustomed to sweating on every call they made, hoping it not lead to an angry wave of the raquet and torrent of foul mouthed abuse from the players. Since those times, the men’s circuit has been relatively tame. The odd shout or raquet throw has been done with little venom and hasn’t exactly caused any sudden loss of bowel control on behalf of the on court umpires. This incident has just re-set the correct order of things.

    • Bloody oath, not enough broken equipment for my liking. And personally, I don’t mind the occasional golly at the change of ends if it raises the standard of play.

  2. The Senior

     /  June 19, 2012

    The injured linesman,by the look of him,would have had trouble seeing as far as the base line.

    If my memory is correct,at a match in England(could have been Wimbledon) McEnroe approached a lineswoman who was asleep and gave an almighty yell in her ear.

    She awoke,and you can be assured that shits were certainly trumps.

    Should be more of it.


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Contemporary rugby league surrealism and hot takes on Shane Warne

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