Vasek Pospisil lost to Mackenzie McDonald in the first round of the Miami Open on Wednesday. He also lost his cool in an explosive rant against ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi, a moment that is sure to raise questions about what's transpired behind closed doors at the combined 1000-level tournament.
With Pospisil serving in the first set at 3-5, 15-40, chair umpire Arnaud Gabas issued a code violation for verbal abuse. Pospisil had already received a warning for racquet abuse, so the set ended with the resulting point penalty. From there, the Canadian began explaining why he was so agitated, when Gabas inquired what was going on.
“What’s happening today? An hour and half yesterday, the chair of the ATP [expletive] screaming at me in a player meeting, for trying to unite the players,” Pospisil said. “For an hour and a half. The leader of the ATP.”
“Get him out here. … [expletive] asshole.”
Gabas implored the 30-year-old to stop during the set break, as McDonald glanced over on occasion.
“That’s enough. If you need to say something to him, then do it outside this court, please,” Gabas said.
Pospisil asked himself, “Why am I supporting this [expletive]…”, before telling Gabas, “If you wanna default me, I’ll gladly sue this organization.”
The ATP’s 2020 Comeback Player of the Year channeled his frustration into winning the second set, though McDonald would have the final word in advancing, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. The two were squaring off for the first time.
This wasn't Gabas' first brush with a heated Canadian player. At a 2017 Davis Cup tie in Ottawa, Denis Shapovalov accidentally struck the Frenchman in the left eye when he smacked a ball in frustration. Shapovalov was defaulted and Gabas underwent successful surgery on his orbital bone after flying home.
Pospisil, who co-founded the PTPA alongside Novak Djokovic, shared last November on the TENNIS.com Podcast that the organization’s goal was for players to be “represented in a proper way where we actually have the ability to impact major decisions that are made that affect our livelihoods.”
Having resigned from his position from the ATP Player’s Council following the PTPA’s launch, the former Wimbledon doubles champion disclosed complaints from his peers about the tour’s operation were rampant.
“I joined the council and I realized that it was a very broken system,” he stated.
It was later revealed Wednesday evening that Pospisil would not be speaking with press. But Pospisil went on to apologize for his actions on social media:
I underestimated the toll those emotions took on me until I stepped onto the court today. Again, I am sorry for my on-court behavior and the language I used. #players [2/2]— Vasek Pospisil (@VasekPospisil) March 25, 2021