He just wanted to strip the place. Completely unprepared, the tennis ball shot towards the helper. A few centimeters lower and he would have landed right in the face. So the man who was just doing his job in number 14 of the facility in Paris was lucky that Andrey Rublev’s frustrated blow only swept the cap off his head.

By the end of the first set, which the Russian lost in the tie-break, Rublev lost his temper. He vented his anger uncontrollably on the ball, which bounced off his bench in the direction of the helper. Had he met this one, his journey at this year’s French Open would have ended early. A disqualification would have been the only logical consequence.

Rublev got away with a warning and then won his first round match against South Korean Soonwoo Kwon relatively safely in four sets 6: 7 (5: 7), 6: 3, 6: 2, 6: 4. However, the dominant theme remained the freak out of the seventh in the world rankings. Also because hitting the ball was not enough. Instead, Rublev threw a water bottle with full force onto the floor and at the latest now earned the boos of the French audience.

After the game, Rublev apologized for his behavior. “I lost my mind for a moment and of course I regret what I did,” said the Russian, who meets Argentina’s Federico Delbonis in the second round. “It’s unacceptable to hit the ball like I did.”

Rublev joins a whole series of freaks on the ATP tour in recent months. World number one Novak Djokovic was disqualified at the US Open 2020 for shooting down a linesman. The German Alexander Zverev also recently caused a stir. He banged on the umpire’s chair at the tournament in Acapulco in February.