I watched some of Juan Martin del Potro’s 2nd round match at the 2011 French Open with interest, as a win over Kavcic, a Slovenian player, would set up a meeting with Novak Djokovic. With two sets in hand, and serving down 0-1 on the third, Del Potro ran up for a Kavcic drop shot, hit a drop shot back, which Kavcic read. Kavcic hit the ball right at Del Potro at about 20 km per hour and it hit him, but with little effect as there was no pace and Kavcic immediately apologized in a genuine manner. However, Del Po was having none of it and proceeded to stare down Kavcic for a solid twenty seconds and then went over to complain to the chair umpire (about what I have no idea).
Juan Martin, you are a professional tennis player, right? It is certainly within the rules and ethics of tennis to hit the ball at the other player, especially when that player gives little choice by standing right in front of you and he has the reach of a 6’6″ guy. On top of that, Kavcic apologized, something he didn’t have to do. Del Potro needs to buck up and accept that other players, even lower ranked ones, do not have to treat him like a diva. You are a gladiator on a field of battle. If you cannot handle the vicissitudes of such battle, then bow out. Millions of dollars are at stake and so long as you are within the rules of engagement, put your attitude away and play tennis. Such baby-ish behavior is what gives tennis the reputation of being a sissy-sport of weaker men and women than contact sports where you have to shrug off direct blows to your body constantly. Spare us the ridicule of our athletic peers Mr. Del Potro, and put your diva attitude away and play tennis.