Vasek Pospisil opened a big can of worms during his match against Mackenzie McDonald at the Miami Open on Wednesday. At the end of the first set Pospisil launched a shocking verbal attack against ATP Chief Andrea Gaudenzi, using the choicest expletives to criticize the Italian.
Pospisil was visibly unsettled and anxious for most of the match, and never more so than in the opening set. The bizarre behavior began with McDonald serving at 4-3 up. As the American served at game point, Pospisil unleashed his pent-up frustration on the ball, bludgeoning it outside the court.
Pospisil then proceeded to take out his anger on the towel box, smashing it with his racquet. Chair umpire Arnaud Gabas intervened at this point, but Pospisil shot him down with a “What? I can’t do that?”
The conversation seemingly upset Vasek Pospisil even more as he broke into a rampage, smashing his racket to smithereens. The Canadian’s racquet fury naturally earned him a quick warning from Gabas.
Pospisil visibly tanked the next game, hitting casual errors and double-faulting to hand McDonald a couple of set points. At that point the Canadian's colorful language came to the fore once again, this time leaving Arnaud Gabas with no choice but to inflict a point penalty upon him.
After dropping the opening set in those unceremonious circumstances, Pospisil went to his seat - where he was questioned about his behavior by the chair umpire. Pospisil then stunningly revealed that he was at the receiving end of a 90-minute dressing down from Andrea Gaudenzi the day before.
"What’s happening today? An hour and a half yesterday, the chair of the ATP f****** screaming at me in a player meeting, for trying to unite the players," Pospisil said.
"For an hour and a half," he added. "The leader of the ATP. Get him out here, F****** asshole."
When asked by Arnaud Gabas to keep his political misgivings outside the court, Vasek Pospisil looked on the verge of breaking down. The Canadian then claimed he had no intention of playing in or supporting the ATP tour.
Pospisil capped off his trade with an open threat to the ATP and Gaudenzi.
"Why am I supporting this f***** (tour)," Pospisil continued. “You want to default me, I'll gladly sue this whole organization."
Pospisil managed to regain his focus in the second set, winning it 6-4, but ultimately lost the decider 6-3 and with it the match.
The root of the problems between Andrea Gaudenzi and Vasek Pospisil
While the story is still under development, there have been strong rumors that Andrea Gaudenzi lambasted Vasek Pospisil for his role in the creation of the PTPA along with Novak Djokovic. There have also been suggestions that many players are unhappy with the ongoing bubble system in tennis along with the poor pay structure, and that Pospisil bore the brunt of the ATP chief's ire for voicing those concerns.
The Miami Open has seen a mammoth reduction in prize money (approximately around 66%) due to the pandemic, and several other tournaments have gone the same route. Understandably, the PTPA - led by Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil - would want the financial interests of the lower-ranked players safeguarded in such cases.
But it appears that Andrea Gaudenzi was having none of that PTPA intervention. The Italian reportedly labeled Vasek Pospisil 'uneducated' and 'ignorant' in front of other players attending the meeting, which caused the Canadian a lot of anguish.
Vasek Pospisil later took to Twitter to apologize for his actions. The 30-year-old claimed he was 'deeply unnerved' by what happened in the player meeting the previous day, but acknowledged that he shouldn't have let his emotions get the better of him on the court.
The ATP is yet to comment on the matter, but it would be interesting to see what a certain Novak Djokovic has to say about this entire Gaudenzi-Pospisil episode.