DONCASTER’S top tennis umpire is today at the centre of a police inquiry after being injured when a player lost his temper during a major tournament.
Scotland Scotland Yard detectives are investigating a complaint of assault after line judge Andrew McDougall, aged 54, suffered a cut leg when tennis player David Nalbandian kicked an advertising hoarding into him during the Aegon Championships at the Queen’s Club in London on Sunday.
Mr McDougall, who lives in Bessacarr, was keeping a low profile yesterday and was not making any public comment about what happened.
But the incident has shocked members of Doncaster Lawn Tennis Club in Saxton Avenue, where he is a player and umpire, as well as colleagues at the Doncaster firm he manages, Electrofix, in St Sepulchre Gate West.
Club coach Liz Beaton said: “We were all watching it on TV at the clubhouse because Andrew is often on at the big tournaments.
“When it happened everyone was shocked and shouted ‘it’s Andrew’. After that people were texting and phoning each other about it because everybody in South Yorkshire tennis knows him.
“It doesn’t matter what people think of Nalbandian, he has breached the rules and etiquette of tennis. I have never seen anything like that before
“Andrew is a good person and reacted very well to what happened.”
Dorothy Ford, a member of the club for 50 years, said: “I was watching it and had just left the room and when I came back it was over. I saw the replays of the incident and I don’t think it was very good at all.
“You can’t make excuses for people who behave like that and disqualifying him was the right thing to do. I haven’t seen that sort of thing before.
“Andrew’s parents were also Wimbledon umpires many years ago and you wouldn’t get that sort of behaviour in their time.
“Andrew has also been doing this for years and he remained very clam. I don’t think this will put him off umpiring.”
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident at the Aegon Championships on Sunday.
“A complaint has been made and the Metropolitan Police Service is now investigating. The allegation is of assault.”
Mr McDougall was left with a bloodied shin following the outburst during the final which led to Argentinian Nalbandian being disqualified and the trophy being awarded to his opponent, Croatian Marin Cilic.
Isobel Hossack, Doncaster club secretary, said: “It’s the first time that I’ve seen such an incident on a tennis court at a major tournament. I don’t think even John McEnroe at his worst ever injured an official. It looked quite a painful injury but fortunately Andrew, who plays for the club in the Sheffield and District Men’s League, should be completely recovered for the start of the Wimbledon Championships which get under way on Monday. Andrew has officiated at the Championships for a number of years and is regularly selected to work on the two show courts.”
A spokesman for Electrofix said he had “gone to ground” and did not want to make any public statement about the matter.
Argentine Nalbandian apologised, but was deemed guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct and had his £36,500 prize money withdrawn and could also be fined £6,400.
Forfeiting the match will also cost him world ranking points which will mean he will not be seeded at Wimbledon next week.