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Dzumhur : “I couldn’t take the injustice anymore”

Damir Dzumhur claims that he was not disqualified against Botic van de Zandschulp in Acapulco, and that he made the decision to leave the court because he was treated unjustly. He also denies allegations that he threatened to kill the umpire.

Damir Džumhur © Panoramic

It has been a long day at the office for the former world No 23 Damir Džumhur. Trailing 6-5 in the first set against Botic van de Zandschulp in the second round of qualifying in Acapulco, Sunday, the Bosnian didn’t finish the match.

In his own words, he chose to leave the court because of perceived bad calls by the chair umpire, though it will officially be recorded as a default because he threw in the towel after losing his temper and receiving a warning and point penalty. The ATP explains to Tennis Majors :

“Dzumhur received two code violations for unsportsmanlike Conduct (warning, point penalty) and his failure to complete the match resulted in an immediate default. This is in the section “Failure to compete a match” in the ATP Rule Book.”

In that manner, Džumhur continued a poor run of form since 2021 started; he lost in the first round of Australian Open as a lucky loser, and then went on to lose in the first round of qualifying in Montpellier. 

“It is important for me to emphasize that I was not disqualified, I have chosen to leave the court voluntarily”, said Džumhur, now ranked 125th in the world, to a panel of local journalists in his native language, although the ATP website states that Van de Zandschulp won by default. 

The video footage here confirms apparently what Dzumhur is saying.

Džumhur continues his account :

“Simply, I could not bear that someone treats me very badly, that he can do whatever he wants; the umpire directly influenced the match with his bad calls. The last straw was the ball at 5-5 and 40-40; it was clear that the ball was out, but he did not react and I have lost that game.”

While admitting that he was angry, 28-year old from Sarajevo denies that he threatened to kill the umpire, Joshua Brace from the USA :

“I honestly do not know where some websites have found the information about me threatening that I would kill anyone. 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.”

Džumhur regrets not being able to hold his temper

Džumhur lost the game at 5-5 and, at 5-6 before his opponent served for the set, he continued his argument with the umpire during the changeover.

“I have told him at the changeover that I can and that I will sue him because he directly influenced my loss. 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 anymore since I was extremely nervous about the whole situation. I reiterate – I have left the court, I was not disqualified.”

Džumhur has been prone to emotional outbursts on the court in the past. He regrets not being able to hold his temper, but feels that he was wronged.

“I am really sorry that I was not able to control my emotions, because I let someone to affect me so much and for him to make me so upset. Because of my family, I am sorry that I have not shown that I am stronger than everything that has happened, but I was treated unfairly and the damage to me was done, I stick to that.”

Damir Dzumhur’s default in Acapulco will cost him a lot of money : a $6,500 fine and loss of prize money of $5,280. “Following the penalties issued on-site, a further investigation will be initiated under the Player Major Offense provision under ATP Rules”, ATP confirms.

This story recalls the famous incident at Wimbledon in 1995 when American Jeff Tarango “defaulted himself” by leaving the court before what became a post-match disqualification and subsequent suspension. It also echoes Nick Kyrgios’ continuing abuses against the umpire during Cincinnati loss against Karen Khachanov in 2019.

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