I haven’t seriously watched a tennis match on television since John McEnroe retired; the last time. Widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time, McEnroe is probably remembered best for for his on-court temperament (or the lack thereof), which caused him a little trouble with umpires and tennis authorities. There was just something special about watching John chew some arrogant tennis ump’s ass out. McEnroe is why guys like me watched tennis, and his retirement is why we quit, but theres hope for us just over the horizon.

Over 150 people were ejected form Melbourne Park in Melbourne Australia earlier today when Serbian and Croatian spectators went at each other during several brawls that took place during a Grand Slam tennis tournament. An outbreak of violence during the tournament seemed inevitable because many young men showed up wearing the national colors of their former Croatian and Serbian governments, and insults were being hurled back and forth early on.

Playing the blame game, Tom Starcevic, secretary of the Croatian Community Association in Victoria, said witnesses told him that Serbs provoked the dispute by chanting “Die, Croat, die”, while Toma Banjanin, president of the Serbian Cultural Club, blamed Croatian supporters for provoking the incident, accusing them of “mixing politics with sport.” The fact of the matter is that both sides showed up ready for a fight

Croatian and Serbian immigrants in Australia number in the hundreds of thousands, and although police and private security for the venue had been tightened for the match between Croatian Marin Cilic and Serbia’s Ilia Bozoljac, nothing short of canceling the match would have prevented the two sides from eventually clashing.

I’ve always thought of tennis tournaments as being a snooty sort of event, but if hooliganism and thuggery are going to become regular occurrence at tennis events, I’ll be willing to buy ring side court side tickets.