Every morning during Wimbledon, we'll take a look back at a memorable match that occurred on that calendar day at the All England Club.
July 1, 1995: Jeff Tarango walks out of third-round match, charging chair umpire Bruno Rebeuh with corruption
In one of the most infamous meltdowns in Grand Slam history, Jeff Tarango unleashed a tirade against chair umpire Bruno Rebeuh, then walked off Court 13, defaulting his third-round match with 117th-ranked German Alexander Mronz while trailing 7-6 (6), 3-1.
Serving down break point in the fourth game of the second set, Tarango hit an apparent ace. The serve was called out; Rebeuh overruled and called it good, but instead of awarding the point to Tarango, he ordered the point be replayed. As Tarango briefly argued the call, the crowd, which may have harbored a grudge against Tarango—he successfully argued that Tim Henman deserved a default after the Briton accidentally struck a ball girl during a doubles match days earlier—began to jeer. In response, Tarango said “Oh shut up,” prompting Rebeuh to issue a code violation warning, which enraged Tarango.
“No, this is it. I’m not playing,” Tarango said. “You are the most corrupt official in the game and you can’t do that. No way!”
The craziness escalated into controversy. Tarango charged Rebeuh with favoring some players, claiming he told two women “he was trying to pick up” that he had made rulings in favor of Marc Rosset, and counted the Swiss player as a personal friend. Shortly before dropping that bombshell, Tarango looked astonished when his then wife, Benedicte, appeared during the middle of his press conference to admit she had slapped Rebeuh after her husband walked off the court.
Asked by the media if she thought her slap shot was bad move, Benedicte Tarango replied: “I don’t think it’s bad, I think it’s good. This guy can do whatever he wants because he’s on the chair. Players have nobody to defend them in any situation.”
Tarango was fined, though that fine was later rescinded, and was banned from the 1996 Wimbledon.