Canadian tennis star Vasek Pospisil has apologized for a furious, expletive-ridden on-court rant at the Miami Open during which he threatened legal action against tournament organizers after he was censured by officials.
Pospisil, 30, was taking on American Mackenzie McDonald on Wednesday but soon made clear his discontent with proceedings towards the end of the first set after he furiously smashed a ball out of the court. He subsequently destroyed his racket and unleashed a torrent of abuse towards chair umpire Arnaud Gabas.
His infraction resulted in Pospisil copping a verbal abuse penalty point which ultimately caused him to lose the opening set by a score of 6-3.
During a break in the match, world number 67 Pospisil took aim at Gabas and aimed a barrage of insults in his direction.
I underestimated the toll those emotions took on me until I stepped onto the court today. Again, I am sorry for my on-court behavior and the language I used. #players [2/2]
— Vasek Pospisil (@VasekPospisil) March 25, 2021
“For an hour-and-a-half yesterday, the chair of the ATP was f***ing screaming at me in a player meeting for trying to unite the players,” he shouted.
“For an hour-and-a-half. The leader of the ATP. Get him out here. F***ing a**hole. Why am I supporting this?“
Pospisil ultimately lost the match 3-6, 6-4, 3-6. Afterwards – and after calmer heads had presumably prevailed – the Canadian took to social media to issue a an apology for his on-court rant.
That you mean well for the players does not mean the ATP is wrong and you are right. There must be common grounds. Find common ground and let your emotions don’t get the better.
— Samuel (@itsSamuel_) March 25, 2021
Young tennis players. We must learn from these cases of talents wasted due to lack of mental stability. I hope that tennis does not continue to produce this type of controversial, crazy and bad players in the game.
— Leonardo (@corralcor) March 25, 2021
For those that have followed your career, they know that this is an exception for you. But, we all have our breaking point. Last night I saw passion and frustration for the sport and career you love. Keep being you. 💪🏻
— Jennifer (@Holdensmum) March 25, 2021
“I want to sincerely apologize for my behavior on the court in Miami earlier today,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I disrespected the game I love and for that I am truly sorry. By way of explanation, I felt deeply unnerved during a meeting between players and ATP executives last night, and I underestimated the toll those emotions took on me until I stepped onto the court today.
“Again, I am sorry for my on-court behavior and the language I used.”
Pospisil’s antipathy towards the ATP might be explained in part by his resignation last year from his long-term position on the ATP Player Council Board, after which he joined Novak Djokovic and American player John Isner to form a breakaway group called the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA).
An initial statement from the PTPA upon its formation in August 2020 said that they had hoped to work hand-in-hand with the ATP Player Council in a bid to safeguard players’ rights – but judging by Posipsil’s heated rant this week, that may be easier said than done.
Tennis fans have since chimed in on Pospisil’s tantrum, with one warning him to “not let his emotions get the best of [him]” and another saying that this could be a warning sign of another player whose potential could be lost to off-court infractions.
A third was more understanding, saying that Posipsil has rarely displayed behavior such as this in the past and that every person has their own “breaking point“.