5. Serena Williams
Just to prove that it’s not only men who have tempers, here’s the volatile tennis star. Serena, who was trained as a tennis player almost from birth, has been known to lose her cool on several occasions, including the 2004 US Open, where a poor decision from the umpire led to opponent Jennifer Capriati winning the match.
5 years later, Williams was back at the US Open, this time playing Kim Clijsters. She lost a set and slammed her racquet down on the court, for which she was given a warning. After a foot fault, 2 points were awarded to Clijsters at which point Williams started yelling profanities at the lineswoman, at one point saying “”I didn’t say I would kill you. Are you serious?”. Following the incident, she refused to apologize for two days and was fined a massive amount, as well as being put on probation for 2 years. She narrowly escaped breaking her probation after another torrent of abuse towards an umpire during the 2011 US Open. With great talent comes great temper…
4. Diego Maradona
Considered by many to be the best player ever, Argentinian Maradona is possibly also the most controversial player ever. Known for his “hand of God” handball that led to a goal in the 1986 World Cup match against England, he was also known for his firey manners off the pitch. Even as a coach, he still got into trouble for his outbursts – he was banned from soccer for two months in 2008 after a tirade filled with expletives followed a loss to Uruguay. You can even buy t-shirts with his chosen phrase on it (“They can suck it and carry on sucking it”). Brilliant on the pitch, outrageous off it but the one thing Maradona has never been is boring.
3. Fred Lorz
Now, here’s a piece of bad sportmanship that’s worthy of Dick Dastardly himself. One of the first ever Olympics (1904) saw a spectacular cheat by marathon runner Fred Lorz. At the 9-mile mark, he hopped into his manager’s car and cruised all the way to 20 miles before getting back out and claiming the victory. Some accounts say he only left the car after it broke down, but one thing is clear – no-one believed that he had run the whole thing, when he looked much fresher than the half-dead, strychnine-laced Thomas Hicks who was the first legitimate runner to cross the line. It was, at least, sporting to admit defeat.
2. Luis Suarez
Yet another soccer player who hit the headlines recently for incredibly bad conduct. The Uruguayan was representing Liverpool in a home match against Chelsea, when he got into an altercation with defender Branislav Ivanovic…and bit him. He was banned for 10 games and fined, but the bite has shocked the sporting world.
Suarez also got into trouble in 2011 when he racially abused Patrice Evra, of Manchester United. He argued with him, calling him “negro” in an exchange which “damaged the image of English football around the world”. He’s one to watch out for, and not just because of his ball skills…
1. John McEnroe
Nicknamed “SuperBrat” by one newspaper, McEnroe is possibly the worst-tempered sportsman ever. He frequently clashed with officials and umpires. His most notable explosion came during Wimbledon 1981, when he first used the phrase “you cannot be serious” after an umpire’s decision. He also called Ted James “the pits of the world”. He was fined, and also denied membership of the All England Club, which traditionally grants honorary membership to all champions.
The controversy didn’t end there. Four years later, he launched another attack on an umpire, saying “Answer my question! The question, jerk!” then slamming his racquet into a juice cart. After that he was suspended for 21 days, having already been fined so much over his behavior he couldn’t be fined any more. He retired in 1992, although he still plays occasionally and seems to have mellowed a bit – sometimes he even makes fun of himself. But don’t get on the wrong side of him….