There was no victory, either, as the Argentine lost in straight sets to Janko Tipsarevic on Monday in the opening round at Wimbledon, his first match since being disqualified for injuring a line judge during the Queen’s Club final by kicking an advertisement board against his shin.
Nalbandian controlled his emotions Monday, but still went out 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-2 against the eighth-seeded Serb. The 2002 Wimbledon runner-up wasn’t happy with some of the chair umpire’s calls, but said he felt good support from the crowd despite the incident at Queen’s.
Both players were given the customary round of applause as they entered Court 1 for the first match of the day.
“I think everybody understood (it) wasn’t a good thing that I did, but was very unlucky as well,” Nalbandian said. “I felt very good with the crowd today.”
While this loss was all about his level of tennis, the incident last weekend at the grass-court warm-up event still played a part in Nalbandian’s early exit. Because of his disqualification, the Argentine forfeited the ranking points he was set to receive, which took away his chances of being a seeded player at Wimbledon and facing an easier opponent in the first round.
However, the 40th-ranked Nalbandian said his poor results in the first half of the season had more to do with his tough draw.
“I’ve been playing for six months,” he said. “If I’m not seeded, is not only (because of) one week.”
Marin Cilic of Croatia was awarded the Queen’s title after Nalbandian kicked out at an area near the line judge in anger after dropping his serve. A piece of the barrier hit the line judge, causing bleeding on his left shin.
Nalbandian was given financial sanctions of nearly $70,000 in lost prize money and fines, and the ATP said Sunday that he was docked 150 ranking points for unsportsmanlike conduct. However, the tour said he will not face any further sanctions because he did not intend to injure the linesman.
“That’s the way in these kinds of matches,” he said. “You have to play better in the important moments. I didn’t.”
Nalbandian said he has spoken to London police about the incident at Queen’s after they received a complaint of assault, but that he wasn’t sure whether the investigation will continue.
“I don’t know what they’re going to do,” he said. “I just do my declaration and that’s it. That’s it.”