Angriest Tennis Players — A Graph of Flaring Tempers

Ranking the Rage

In scaling volatility among pros, one must start with two names: John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg. McEnroe is the epitome of anger. His tantrums are legendary and (because of modern technology that makes arguing calls obsolete) will never be topped. His long-time rival, Bjorn Borg, was the epitome of cool, and thus, no player can achieve a calmness score below him.
On the graph above, McEnroe and Borg are at opposite ends. The frequency of tantrums are represented by the size of the dots, while the overall explosiveness is represented by color, with red being the hottest. For the frequency and explosiveness of his tantrums, McEnroe is the standard bearer.
Marat Safin may hold the all-time record for most broken rackets. This Russian was once quite good. Even when he stopped being good, he kept on being angry. If you like broken rackets and bad music, you’ll enjoy this highlight reel:
Andy Roddick is the modern heir of American anger on the men’s side. While he can usually make it through a match without a freakout, when he does go off it can be quite memorable. Nobody is more condescending to chair umpires than Andy:
One of the most underrated tantrum throwers has to be Lleyton Hewitt. That dude’s got some rage. Thunder from down under if you will, minus the stripping. Hewitt once accused a Black linesman of favoring James Blake because he was Black, but he got mad at White linesmen too sometimes, as evidenced here:
Andy Murray is not particularly explosive, but he spends a considerable amount of time on the court pissed off. Sometimes he stews entire matches, mumbling and scowling, watch him give this ballboy an eff you:
Last, but certainly not least is Serena Williams. When she gets pissed, she tops the scales here, just absolutely loses it. Even John McEnroe can’t top this rage. Or in Serena’s words: “@#$%@#$@#$ up your @##$@#$%#$% you @#$@$%@#%$# little @##$23$%!!!!!!!!!!” Serena’s like anybody else, she puts her pants on one leg at a time… but once her pants are on, she threatens to kill linesmen.
James Littlejohn is the author of the The Pusher, which he does not hesitate to call the greatest tennis novel he has ever written.
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