Melbourne: Marcos Baghdatis was fined for an extraordinary racquet-smashing tantrum but in a sport known for its meltdowns, fellow players greeted the outburst calmly.
Trailing by two sets to love in yesterday`s second round clash with Switzerland`s Stanislas Wawrinka, the Cypriot stunned spectators by breaking not one, not two, not three but four racquets as he briefly lost the plot.
The 26-year-old, taken to heart by Australians during his run to the final in 2006, didn`t even bother to take two of his racquets out of their plastic wrappers.
As footage of the tirade went viral, Baghdatis, beaten in four sets, was fined USD 800 by the tournament referee for "abuse of racquets and equipment".
Sporadic bad on-court behaviour is nothing new in a sport that experienced the spectacular hissy-fits of US player John McEnroe, who became defined as much by his bad-boy antics as his stunning tennis.
Five-time Australian Open winner Serena Williams escaped with a USD 2,000 fine for an angry outburst at the chair umpire during last year`s US Open final -- her second such incident at the event in two years.
Williams said that she used to be a racquet-breaker, but realised now that there were better ways to let out frustrations.
"I sometimes break them in practice, just not in a match any more," she said.
"But it`s definitely not the best way to release your anger," she added. "I think the older you get, you realise there`s more different ways."
Men`s number one Novak Djokovic admitted racquet-pummelling can help relieve the pressure in a sport where players are alone on court and can receive no help from their coaches.