Sample some cheap, greasy tennis beef from today’s Barcelona Open quarterfinal. Down 2-4 in a second-set tiebreak, Grigor Dimitrov delivered a first serve to Pablo Carreño Busta. There was no word from the linespeople or umpire. Nor was there any peep from Carreño Busta; he hit the ball back and walked away in assumed defeat. There was no reason for the point not to proceed normally. Dimitrov had an easy putaway. He put it into the net.
A mistake like that can leave you digging around for excuses. Dimitrov chose to argue to the umpire that the point was dead before he even struck the ball: “The ball was out, he stopped,” as if the second claim somehow supports the first. Giving up on a point is not a signal to your opponent that you are challenging a call; using your voice to challenge a call is the signal that you are challenging a call. (Neither here nor there, but the serve does appear to be out—watch a third ball mark appear in the clay right between two previous ones.)
And so the beef was ground. After losing the tiebreak and the match, a tetchy Dimitrov scolded Carreño Busta, telling him that “as a man,” he should have owned up to stopping the point, something Carreño Busta did not actually do. “I’ll remember this,” said Dimitrov with as much menace as a professional tennis player can muster, something like gluing devil horns on a bunny rabbit. “Don’t talk to me.”
This was rough treatment of Carreño Busta, a mild-mannered player who (unless the broadcast is really, really missing some telling sound or sign) did nothing wrong in this instance. Overall: a low-grade beef with fatty notes reminiscent of last October’s Tsonga-Dzumhur beef, yet another idiotic instance of one player getting mad at a another player for ... giving up on a point?
At least this time the umpire did not get involved. Shoutout to Carlos Bernardes for keeping his hands clean of rank beef juice.
Correction (2:53 p.m. ET): This article previously stated that Grigor Dimitrov was taking a second serve. It was a first serve after a let, so Dimitrov was not arguing in hopes of being awarded a double fault.