McEnroe defaults after classic tantrum

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND (TICKER) —It was vintage John McEnroe at the Hall of Fame Champions Cup on Thursday. Unfortunately, it wasn’t his play, rather his outrageous behavior.

McEnroe defaulted his match to MaliVai Washington at the over-30 tournament, after pitching an enormous fit and drawing violations for audible, unsportsmanlike conduct and abuse of official code violations.

McEnroe had won the first set, 6-3, but was down 4-2 in the second when the incident began.

The legendary lefty argued a line call and was hit with a code violation for an audible obscenity by chair umpire Ray Brodeur. The rage continued and McEnroe was issued consecutive abuse of official code violations.

As McEnroe erupted, the crowd began to yell for play to continue. McEnroe made a visible obscene gesture that resulted in a fourth code violation from Brodeur and an immediate default .

According to the Outback Champions Series Code of Conduct, match defaults are a four-step process, with the first violation resulting in a warning. The second violation results in a point penalty, a third violation - a game penalty and a fourth violation - a match default.

“I guess 1992 in New Haven was the last time I played John. Has anything changed?” Washington said. “I guess he has one of those explosive personalities, you could say. There are a lot of things I can deal with, disputed line calls, stoppage in play. I have an issue when my opponent starts berating people, fans, and umpires.”

McEnroe was unavailable for comment. He is scheduled to play Karel Novacek on Friday in this round-robin tournament.

“All players must abide by the same rules,” Series co-founder and supervisor Jon Venison said. “Umpires tend to be intimated by John which generally means they are more lenient with him. He crossed the line today.”

Updated Friday, Aug 15, 2008