Aussie tennis player Marc Polmans has been removed from a tournament after angrily smashing a ball which slammed into the face of the chair umpire.
Polmans was immediately disqualified from the Shanghai Masters tournament after the incident.
Ranked 140 in the world, Polmans lost his temper after miss-hitting a backhand drop shot in his game against Italian Stefano Napolitano.
He was on the verge of a victory at 7-6(3), 6-6 (6-5) and had only moments before squandered a match point.
A win would have gained him an entry to the main draw of the ATP 1000 event.
The Aussie, who has become a cult hero dubbed “The Hat” for wearing an old-school legionnaire hat, was apparently attempting to hit the ball out of the court.
Instead, the ball slammed directly into the face of Scottish umpire Ben Anderson.
Under the rules, an action that threatens the safety of officials can result in immediate disqualification.
The Aussie will be denied any prize money, despite earlier winning his first match in three sets against Russian Alibek Kachmazov.
Fellow Aussie tennis player John Millman wrote in reaction to the incident: “Really hope the umpire is okay.
“They should be safe working in their environment. No excuses for this.
“No one would feel worse than Marc about this. He’s possibly the nicest person I know.”
Another compatriot Nick Kyrgios wrote: “Interested to see what the fine will be all things considered (15 thousand pounds) for the bottle shake at Queens.”
His comment was a reference to an infamous incident in which Kyrgios shook a water bottle in a lewd manner and copped a fine.
According to ATP rules, players are not allowed to hit a ball in anger.
The code of conduct states: “Players shall not violently, dangerously or with anger hit, kick or throw a tennis ball within the precinct except in the reasonable pursuit of a point during a match (including warm-up).
“For the purposes of this rule abuse of balls is defined as intentionally hitting a ball out of the enclosure of the court, hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences.”
World number one Novak Djokovic was famously defaulted during the fourth round of the 2020 US Open after slamming a ball into a lineswoman’s throat.