Tennis player Damir Dzumhur has denied levelling a death threat at a chair umpire in the midst of a furious walk-out in Acapulco on Sunday.
The Bosnian was defaulted from his second-round qualifying match when he walked off the court in anger over a line call.
Watch the bizarre episode unfold in the video above
Dzumhur, who reached a career-high ranking of world No.23 in 2018, lost his cool when a forehand from his Dutch opponent Botic van de Zandschulp was called in by the line judge.
The 28-year-old Dzumhur was serving at 5-5, 40-40 in the opening set at the time.
Looking in disbelief Dzumhur dropped his racquet and approached the chair umpire for an overrule but to no avail. He subsequently lost the service game to trail 5-6.
The call seemed to have infuriated Dzumhur as he continued remonstrating with the chair umpire during the change of ends and received a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“You have no idea,” Dzumhur could be heard saying.
He returned to the court and won the first point on his opponent’s serve with a crosscourt forehand winner but then again seemed to say something to the umpire, earning a point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The world No.125 then walked off the court, threw his racquet on his bag and touched fists with van de Zandschulp and signalling his intention to stop the match.
“I have told him at the changeover that I can and that I will sue him because he directly influenced my loss,” Dzumhur said, via Tennis Majors.
“He gave me a warning for saying that. I do not know how anyone has the right to give me a warning for those words. I got up, but I was already very upset.
“I won the first point of the next game and then I have made another comment, I cannot remember exactly what at this point; but the umpire told me ‘it is enough’. I answered that it was not enough and that I will decide when it is enough.
“Then he gave me the second warning, meaning a point penalty. In my head I felt that the huge injustice is being done to me, I could not control myself any more since I was extremely nervous about the whole situation. I reiterate – I have left the court, I was not disqualified.”
Dzumhur’s decision to quit extended his ATP losing streak to 13 matches, having not won a match at a top-level tournament or grand slam since September 2019.
Footage showed the tournament supervisor had a discussion with Dzumhur, who continued to speak angrily with the chair umpire as his opponent walked away.
Tennis fans on social media claimed the vision showed Dzumhur scream ‘I will kill you!’ at the umpire during the exchange, also telling the official to step down from his chair and “come here”.
He denied levelling a death threat but said that he did tell the supervisor he wanted to hit the umpire.
“I honestly do not know where some websites have found the information about me threatening that I would kill anyone,” Dzumhur was quoted as saying.
“It is true that I have said to the supervisor that I felt the need to hit the umpire because of what he has done to me. Supervisor suggested that it was not such a great idea, that I could further damage myself
“I have answered that I do not care since I was nervous, but I did manage to regroup myself and leave the court.
“I have not threatened that I would kill anyone, I do not know where that came from, especially since there is video footage of the whole thing.”
Dzumhur also apologised to his family for “behaving emotionally” and “for not showing strength” when things are not going his way.
– with AAP