A curious thing happened on the way to the semifinals. David Ferrer's historically sportsmanlike behavior gave way to a rather diva-like incident during his Australian Open quarterfinal showdown with Tomas Berdych, a match the Czech took over the Spaniard by a count of 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Down two sets to none, but leading Berdych 4-2 in the third stanza, Ferrer went to place his towel on a chair behind the line judge nearest him and, displeased that the man didn't move as he walked toward him, shoved the judge, causing him to stumble a few steps to his right. Here's a look at the incident:
A chorus of boos swiftly rained down on Ferrer, who shrugged his shoulders in response, muttered something to the official, and walked away. "It was a nervous moment, but nothing," Ferrer said after losing for the third time in his past five outings against Berdych. "I said, 'Excuse me' to him after that. Nothing special."
Australian Open officials have not yet reviewed the incident but expect to do so in the near future. Physical abuse of an official carries a maximum monetary penalty of $20,000. Read more here.
Verdict: Ad-out for Ferrer. This was certainly something. He had plenty of room to take a step to his own right and put down the towel, but he chose not to do so. And there's precedent for the act: He did something similar to a line judge at the 2012 U.S. Open during a match against Lleyton Hewitt. Bottom line: This is not conduct becoming the world's No. 3-ranked star. This is downright shabby, sore losing.
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