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Nalbandian injures judge, loses final

The English grass court season got off to an unsavoury start when David Nalbandian was disqualified in the final at Queen’s Club. The Argentinian had kicked an advertising board in frustration and carelessly injured a line-judge.

Nalbandian won the first set against the Croatian Marin Cilic. In the second set, Nalbandian lost his serve to trail 4-3. Instinctively he kicked out at the hoarding. The shoddy plywood collapsed and injured the line judge Andrew McDougall.

"When I hit the fence, I didn't want to do it as bad as it was," Nalbandian said, obviously unused to the standards of British workmanship. "But that's the way it is. Sometimes you cannot control that few seconds and I made a mistake."

Despite the crowd shouting for the players to continue, supervisor Tom Barnes made the decision to default Nalbandian for unsportsmanlike conduct. "Once I saw the injury, it was not a judgment call," Barnes said. "I didn't have any other option."

Nalbandian had to forfeit his fee, which would have been a minimum of £36,144 for a runner-up. He could be fined up to an additional $10,000 for the incident, although it is thought unlikely that there will be any further action taken against the player.

It was a shambolic and farcical end to a tournament that had already been plagued by bad weather and the unexpected first-round exit of defending champion Andy Murray. Cilic, the champion in unusual circumstances, said it was a new scenario for him. "I don't think it's going to happen in the next 100 years, for sure," he said.

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