It was an ugly scene at the ATP Challenger event in Orleans, France when Corentin Moutet and Adrian Andreev came to blows after their match.
Top seed Moutet was upset by Bulgarian wildcard Andreev 2-6 7-6 7-6 in a hard-fought Round of 16 clash. But when they approached the net afterwards, Andreev slapped Moutet’s hand and reluctantly shook it.
Andreev then bumped his shoulder into the Frenchman’s chest on purpose and the tension quickly escalated.
In response, Moutet shoved Andreev hard and the pair looked ready to fight each other. They banged arms and Andreev brushed Moutet with his racket.
The umpire raced down from his chair to separate the two players and diffuse the situation.
On Instagram afterwards, Moutet defended his actions.
“I wish to make no apologies for what happened late in the game,” he wrote.
“When a player says ‘f–k you’, twice while looking at me in the eye, I can’t help but make him understand in my own way that is not done.”
The World No. 64 also criticized the French crowd for applauding Andreev and even claimed his opponent wanted to resume hostilities off court.
“You (the crowd) applauded the player at the end of the match,” Moutet said. “Maybe, for you these are acceptable things. For me, no. In any case, he threatened me and asked me to wait at the exit of the court, which I obviously did.
“I had trouble finding him for 10 minutes. Indeed, he was hidden on the other side by 6 security people. I heard your threats so when you get out of the room where they hid you, I’ll be happy to see you carry them out. So, I’m waiting impatiently, we can talk calmly.”
It’s not the first time Moutet has been caught up in controversy on the court this year.
At the Adelaide International in January, the 23-year-old was disqualified for wearing at the chair umpire after he lost the second set of his second-round match against Laslo Dere.