What’s Up With … Austrian Bad Boys?

As I put up my ‘Outrageous Moments in Tennis’ series or read about anecdotal stories of bad behavior on court, I noticed a trend. Austrian players.

What’s up with that? Is it improving? Let’s look a the evidence:

Thomas Muster

Offenses: Muster is famously in his own words a tough cookie and was all business on court and he was not afraid to play some mind games. Agassi recalls Muster trying to dislodge his ‘hair piece’ at the net handshake in 1994. Agassi had it out for Muster after that. Other infamous encounters were against Mark Woodforde, when he called him something I won’t repeat here and more humorously taking Felix Mantilla’s banana from him and eating it.

Horst Skoff (RIP)

Offenses: Ivan Lendl called him the biggest jerk in tennis at one point, so that says a lot, but I will be sensitive to his memory and never met the guy of course. However, clearly he liked to get under the skin of his opponents I will say that, including Muster.

Daniel Koellerer

Offenses: Oh where to begin with this one! When another player is either choking you on change-overs (see Stefan Koubek) or doing a little dance after beating you (see Oscar Hernandez), you definitely have some questions to answer. This guy must be the most hated player on tour and guess what, he’s Austrian. As of 5/31/2011 he was kicked out of sanctioned tennis for good, so quite the career.


Stefan Koubek

Offenses: Technically not bad boy, but Stefan makes my list for actually choking Koellerer aforementioned and he was also disqualified from a tournament in Metz in 2007, for using foul language with tournament director Thomas Karlberg.

Jurgen Melzer

Offenses: We’re getting less bad by now, but Jurgen has his moments. Well-liked off court he has had his temper tantrums and talked a little trash recently about Ferrer. Not a good idea when you’re about to play him on clay.

Alexander Peya

Offenses: None to speak of yet, there’s still time

Martin Fischer

Offenses: None to speak of yet, there’s still time

Andreas Haider-Maurer 

Offenses: None to speak of yet, there’s still time

So it seems like if the young Austrian players can keep their heads, then Austrian tennis may shake it’s bad boy image. Some would call that boring, but I think you can be entertaining without being a jerk.

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