Today in Sports History: January 21

By Jonah Sharf

On January 21, 1990, John McEnroe became the first tennis player to be disqualified from a Grand Slam tournament for misconduct since 1963, in the fourth round of the Australian Open. McEnroe was disqualified due to the newly enacted three-step rule towards disqualification, which goes first a warning, then a point penalty, then a default, rather than the four-step rule that existed the year before — warning, point penalty, game penalty, default. McEnroe earned a warning when he stopped in front of a lineswoman and glared at her because he believed she made a questionable call, giving him a conduct code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct. Later on, he missed a shot he thought he should have made, and slammed his racket on the on the ground, cracking the head, and he received another violation for racket abuse. After being called for this, he began to swear at the chair umpire, calling for the chief of supervisors to come, and after a profanity-filled conversation, he was given a third and final violation, disqualifying him from the tournament. While McEnroe was known for his fiery temper throughout his career, this was the only time he was DQ’d from a Grand Slam event.


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