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You can't be serious: McEnroe involved in mid-match altercation

Chris Chase
Busted Racquet

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John McEnroe as peacemaker? That seemed to be the case last night as McEnroe's World TeamTennis squad, the New York Sportimes, was involved in a dramatic, mid-match altercation with the Washington Kastles during a WTT match in D.C.

Here's an eyewitness account of how it went down in men's doubles event between the Kastles' Leander Paes and Scott Oudsema and the Sportimes' John McEnroe and Robert Kendrick.

Kastlers player Leander Paes (a five-time Grand Slam doubles winner) came to net and hit an overhead slam that struck Kendrick in the chin. It looked to be a routine incident. But Kendrick took offense and yelled stuff like, "what, no apology?" as Paes walked away. On the very next serve, Kendrick intentionally nailed Paes. Immediately, the Sportime's coach (Chuck Adams) rose from the bench and started saying "it's just part of the game." Adams and McEnroe then crossed the net to the other side of the court to exchange words with Paes. It should be noted that, of the people on the court, McEnroe seemed to be the one playing peacemaker.

During this, Kastles player Olga Puchkova (who was once engaged to Alex Ovechkin, maybe) said something in the direction of Kendrick. He replied by calling her a word that rhymes with "witch". Puchkova got off the bench in reaction and was assessed a warning. To protest this, Puchkova's double's partner Rennae Stubbs tried to explain what provoked Puchkova, but as she approached the umpire, she was assessed with a point penalty for abuse of officials. That gave the Sportimes a 1-0 lead in the subsequent tiebreak. McEnroe didn't want to take the point and offered to start at 0-0, but they kept the penalty.

Kastles coach Murphy Jensen was furious with the official, claiming that he had lost control of the match. It wasn't said, but it seemed like he was suggesting that perhaps the official was intimidated by McEnroe's presence.

Jensen and the Kastles had every reason to be upset. Even though Kendrick seemed to be the instigator in all respects (both with the serve and his comment), it was the Kastles who received the pivotal point penalty.

The team has written on its official Twitter feed that owner Mark Ein has requested a full investigation. (I'm requesting a full investigation into whether anyone said "you can't be serious" to McEnroe during this dispute. That needed to happen.)

The Sportimes ended up winning the match in a supertiebreak.

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