Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov lost the Istanbul claycourt final on Sunday after a series of violent racquet-smashing tantrums resulted in a championship-ending game penalty.
Second seed Dimitrov was leading Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman by a set and 5-2 before he completely lost control of himself and eventually the match.
Schwartzman, the world number 87, went on to claim a 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-0 win for his first title.
But it was 24-year-old Dimitrov’s antics that grabbed the headlines as he lost 11 of the last 12 games.
Bidding for a fifth career crown and playing in his eighth final, the Bulgarian became increasingly frustrated with his inability to close out the match, smashing racquet after racquet into the Istanbul clay.
Once he went into a third meltdown courtside at 0-5, 40-40 in the decider, it resulted in a game penalty and forfeit of the match.
“I let myself down, I let my team down, I let my family down with that behaviour,” said Dimitrov, the world number 29 told reporters.
“I started cramping at 5-2 in the second set. It was very unfortunate that I couldn’t close out the match. I have to give credit to Diego.”