NEWPORT, Rhode Island -- John McEnroe defaulted in his opening match at a Champions Cup tennis event after an extended argument with the chair umpire ended with the player making an obscene gesture toward the crowd.
McEnroe, famous for his volatile on-court temper and brushes with officials, contested a call in his opening match against MaliVai Washington when umpire Ray Brodeur warned him for an audible obscenity.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion continued arguing with Brodeur and was issued two additional code violations. As the row continued, fans at the Tennis Hall of Fame began to yell at McEnroe to continue playing, at which point he responded with an obscene gesture that resulted in him forfeiting the match.
"He crossed the line," Joe Venison, the Champions Series co-founder and supervisor, said in an e-mailed statement today. "All players must abide by the same rules."
McEnroe will continue in the eight-player round-robin tennis event, with a match against Karel Novacek tomorrow.
McEnroe agreed to the first three code violations and denied making a gesture toward the fans, which the umpire was certain he saw, Venison said.
"There are a lot of things I can deal with, disputed line calls, stoppage in play," Washington said. "I have an issue when my opponent starts berating people, fans, and umpires."
McEnroe, a member of the Tennis Hall of Fame, competes in the Champions Series in addition to working as a television commentator at Grand Slam events.
The series is an international tennis circuit for champion tennis players over 30.