Awww diddums: Mark Allen and four of the best sporting tantrums

Following Mark Allen’s epic snooker walk off we run down some of the best examples of sports stars going into full-on meltdown....


You have to feel for Mark Allen. We’ve all been there, especially playing a sport as downright annoying as snooker. Some days things just don’t work the way they should and rather than call the pockets out on their clear conspiracy against you, you simply decide you can’t be arsed any more.

The only major difference was that Allen was playing in World Grand Prix when he walked out rather than a Thursday night in Riley’s a few pints worse for wear.

Don’t get stroppy – get the latest sports odds on

He may be known for having a bit of a temper, but Allen’s decision to concede the frame with 11 reds left on the table must be his personal best.

However, it’s not the greatest sporting tantrum by a long chalk. Here are some of the all-time greats at their petulant, throwing the toys out of the pram best.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 25: David Nalbandian of Argentina reacts during his gentlemen’s first round singles match against Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia on day one of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

David Nalbandian

Tennis is famed for its stuffy, reserved atmosphere, especially at Queen’s Club where the members reluctantly let a tournament happen each year but would really rather the players held a luncheon in the dining hall instead.

So when Argentine nearly-man and top drawer nutter Nalbandian lost his temper during the final against Marin Cilic in 2012 there were gasps and tuts of disapproval. What followed was an attack on the line judge that even the greatest of criminal geniuses couldn’t have masterminded.

Nalbandian kicked an advertising hoarding in true Temuri Ketsbaia at Newcastle-style only to see the board go into the line judge’s shin, cutting him badly.

Cilic was awarded the match, despite some chants of ‘play on’ which one can only imagine were from fans hoping for even more acts of ultra-violence should Nalbandian lose more key points.

Sergio Garcia

We’re living in a golden age of tantrums with Garcia’s Saudi International hissy fit coming just a week ago.

Garcia responded to a poor round in the way a competitive dad might on a Crazy Golf course.

He started slagging off the surface and then went a step further and began hacking lumps out of no fewer than five greens in anger.

Fellow player Brooks Koepka described Garcia as having ‘behaved like a child’ and the Spaniard has now apologised unreservedly, but you can’t help but feel that if golf wants to increase its viewership the more vandalism that takes place the better.

Of course, it may have all been a bold statement on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and whether validating the regime through soft power is appropriate.

11 Mar 2000: Paolo Di Canio of West Ham United during the FA Carling Premiership match against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in Sheffield, England. Wednesday won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Stu Forster /Allsport

Paolo Di Canio

For pure playground theatre, it’s hard to top Paolo Di Canio’s pantomime quality assault on Paul Alcock in 1998.

Full-time live wire and part-time fascist Di Canio was never far from controversy, but his ability to escalate a seemingly dull pushing match into a full-on brawl was second to none.

Playing against Arsenal for Sheffield Wednesday, Di Canio got involved in some half-hearted pushing and turned it into something special.

Initially, he shoved Patrick Vieira, then took a karate kick at Martin Keown, which we can all sympathise with, but it was his reaction to being red-carded that would live on in notoriety – a solid shove on the ref.

As Alcock staggered and fell to the ground, Di Canio’s Wednesday career went with it, but surely we can all agree it was worth it?

Serena Williams

Serena Williams isn’t fond of losing. She doesn’t tend to do it often, but when she does she is rubbish at it.

There have been a fair few Serena outbursts over the years on the rare occasions she finds herself defeated, but the classic has to be a match point meltdown in a game against Kim Clijsters.

Having been penalised for a dodgy foot fault when facing match point, Williams caused such a scene that she forfeited the point and therefore the match effectively, by threatening the offending line judge with her racket and the possibility of being served at 120 mph.

Williams threatened to ‘shove this f******g ball down your f******g throat’, so at least that was a small mercy – there are worse places that ball could have ended up.

Let the umpire know what think with

What do you think?