There are a number of ways for tennis players to react to missing a volley on match point. Marc Polmans landed on one that got him disqualified from the match.
The Australian national was bounced from a qualifier at the Shanghai Masters on Monday after slamming a ball at the net in frustration and accidentally hitting chair umpire Ben Anderson in the face. Polmans’ opponent Stefano Napolitano advanced to the main draw in his place.
At the time of the fateful point, Polmans had been leading 7-6 (7-3), 6-6 (6-5). He was one point away from winning a second-set tiebreaker for a straight-sets victory, but missed a volley at his ankles to even the tiebreaker score at 6-6.
Frustrated, Polmans hit the ball up and to his left, the absolute worst direction to do so:
🚨 DISQUALIFICATION 🚨
Marc Polmans missed a volley on match point at 7-6(3), 6-6 (6-5) and then accidentally hit the umpire.
Stefano Napolitano advances to the main draw in Shanghai as a result.pic.twitter.com/9izXBA1BOl
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) October 3, 2023
Per The Times, Anderson was OK, but left the stadium with an ice pack on his nose and cheek. Polmans was immediately disqualified, after being up a set and still only two points from winning.
It’s unclear if Polmans will face additional consequences for the incident. The 26-year-old is ranked No. 140 in the world by the ATP, with three career titles on the ATP Challenger Tour.
Either way, the development will be costly for Polmans, as he would have received $18,660 just by qualifying for the first round in Shanghai, no small amount of money for a player who has spent his entire career outside the ATP top 100 in singles. His first-round opponent would have been another qualifier as well, with a win giving him $30,855 in prize money. He also would have received some crucial rankings points.
Instead, he gets nothing.
This sort of thing is hardly unprecedented in tennis, a sport where frustration is common and easily taken out on the ball. The most infamous example in recent history would be when world No. 1 Novak Djokovic was kicked out of the 2020 US Open after hitting a line judge with a ball. There was also the time Alexander Zverev smashed his racket against the umpire’s chair and got disqualified.
A more similar incident occurred at the Davis Cup in 2017, when Canada’s Denis Shapovalov drilled the chair umpire after losing a point and got his entire team disqualified from the tournament. The umpire wasn’t as fortunate as Anderson, as he required surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone in his left eye.