Why Do Tennis Players Smash Their Rackets? (& Consequences) (2023)

When you watch tennis, you can see that a lot is going on in the player’s heads. You will see joy, doubt, confusion, anger, frustration, and everything between. When things are on the negative side of the emotions, things can get rough. Many times, this will mean outbursts such as smashing a tennis racket.

So, why do tennis players smash their rackets? Tennis players smash their rackets because of anger or frustration. These emotions can be towards themselves for failing an important play, the opponent too skilled to beat or disliked, or the umpire for making an unpleasant judgment.

That being said, the emotions causing the players to break their rackets in tennis are always associated with negativity such as frustration or anger. Nobody will break their racket if they are happy and winning the game.

Now, there are generally three targets frustration and anger can be pointed to. These are yourself, the opponent, and the umpire. Let’s learn more about these and why they can cause the player to lose control and smash or break the racket or behave aggressively.


  • Three Reasons Why Tennis Players Smash Their Rackets
    • 1. Frustration Towards Themselves
    • 2. Anger Towards the Opponent
    • 3. Anger Towards the Umpire
  • What Happens When You Break a Racket In Tennis?
  • What Happens If Your Racket Gets Accidentally Broken In Tennis?
  • Which Tennis Player Has Broken the Most Rackets?
    • Marat Safin
    • Serena Williams
  • My Favorite Tennis Equipment

Three Reasons Why Tennis Players Smash Their Rackets

Out of these three people, you can target anger and frustration; yourself is probably the worst feeling as there is nobody to blame other than yourself. At least that’s how I feel, so let’s start there.

1. Frustration Towards Themselves

The most common and understandable reason to smash a tennis racket is frustration towards yourself. It’s only natural to beat yourself up and get discouraged when you can’t gain the upper hand.


In tennis, this always starts with little steps. For example, after a couple of missed swings, you can start talking trash about yourself in a small voice. When the match proceeds and the failures continue, it can ultimately result in an outburst of emotions.

When you are at a point where you can’t control yourself, it often will lead to physical outbursts as well, which in this case, is smashing the tennis racket on the field. Nearly always, the smash is accompanied by curse words and gestures.

In tennis doubles, the frustration can also be targeted at a teammate. However, this kind of frustration rarely ends up with an aggressive racket smashing as it would be the ultimate disrespect and would make it very uncomfortable for the teammate. Nobody wants that.

2. Anger Towards the Opponent

Anger towards an opponent is also a big chunk of tennis racket smashes. If you have ever watched a professional tennis match, the atmosphere is quite tense compared to virtually any other sport. The crowd is silent, and the bounce of a ping pong ball echoes on the field.

This can lead to a lot of tension and stress, which can cause an outburst when things go south, especially when you and/or your opponent won’t like each other one bit. This can lead to unsportsmanlike behavior such as gestures or even violent behavior, leading to serious punishments.

3. Anger Towards the Umpire

When the game is fierce, and the points are tied, it can bring up emotions to the surface. Naturally, each player strives for victory, but when an umpire makes an unfair judgment, it can cause inappropriate behavior towards the umpire even when it isn’t.

Umpires can make the wrong decisions, which will often get sorted out by the chair umpire or a discussion between many umpires. This takes a bit of time, giving the player time to cool off.

However, in most cases, the player shouts to the umpire because they are about to lose a point, which isn’t wanted.


Sports can do weird things to the mind, which can be seen in other sports. For example, soccer players famously fake injuries, ice hockey players will straight upbeat each other, and football players will occasionally headbutt others without a helmet to challenge the other team players.

What Happens When You Break a Racket In Tennis?

All things considered, the players can’t just rampage on the field where there are children, astonished fans, awkward opponents or teammates, and angry umpires. There must be consequences, so what are they?

When you intentionally break a tennis racket, you usually will be given a warning. However, further punishments include lost points, expensive behavior fees, and disqualification from the game. Rackets smashed due to frustration towards yourself are more understandable than the opponent or umpire.

It also depends on the umpire what will happen to the racket smasher. Generally, when you smash a racket due to frustration on yourself and break the racket with one or couple of hits on the ground, the umpires look the other way or give a warning at most.

However, if the aggressive behavior continues, the player will lose a point, game, or even a set depending on the behavior severity and the umpire’s judgment. In extreme cases, the player will be disqualified, awarding an automatic victory to the other player that could behave.

Racket abuse will also mean considerable fines, including the cost of that broken racket on the sponsors or player itself. The fees are quite considerable. In the ATP, the racket abuse fine will be $500. However, in the ATF, the fine can be up to $2500, which is something to think about before smashing a racket.

Another thing you should know about the fines is that the racket won’t need to break to be punished with a considerable fine. The ATP rules state this as follows;

”Players shall not violently, dangerously or with anger hit, kick or throw a racquet or other equipment within the precincts of the tournament site. For purposes of this rule, abuse of racquets or equipment is defi ned as intentionally, dangerously and violently destroying or damaging racquets or equipment or intentionally and violently hitting the net, court, umpire’s chair or other fi xture during a match out of anger or frustration”.
”Violation of this section shall subject a player to a fine up to $500 for each violation. In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall be penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule”.

(Video) Tennis Racquet Stiffness & Flex: A Clear Explanation

That being said, it’s better not to smash rackets don’t the field, at least regularly.

Oh, and racket abuse isn’t the only punishable act player can make on the field. For example, verbal abuse, visual abuse, ball violation, and even the lack of effort can be punishable.

What Happens If Your Racket Gets Accidentally Broken In Tennis?

Tennis rackets are equipment like any other, so they will break sooner or later. What happens when your racket breaks unintentionally during a tennis game?

Generally, when a racket gets broken during a tennis game for natural causes, the point is replayed after a replacement racket has been acquired. However, if a racket gets broken by smashing out of anger, warnings, fines, lost points, and even a disqualification can be given.

So, if the racket breaks during a game because it’s the racket’s time to break, the game is paused, and the player leaves to court to get a replacement.

The most common reasons tennis rackets break during a game are wrong contact points with the frame or a string snap because of improper string tension or worn-out strings.

Related: What To Do With Old Tennis Rackets? (5 Great Ideas)

Which Tennis Player Has Broken the Most Rackets?

Marat Safin

Marat Safin is the undisputed champion of racket smashing in tennis. The short-tempered player has seen smashing the racket many hundreds of times. The former World No.1 Russian tennis player didn’t know the exact amount of broken rackets in his career.

(Video) Does a rough surface REALLY make a difference?

However, his sponsor, the HEAD company, sent him a snowboard as a retiring gift with 1055 carved on it, which he revealed in an interview with ESPN. That’s the exact amount of racket he broke in his career.

Check out the collection of Safin’s racket smashes accompanied by some joyful electronic music.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams is the most famous woman tennis player in today’s world. In addition, she is the top-ranked player on the WTA rankings, only behind Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova, making Serena the world’s third most successful woman tennis player of all time.

However, Serena Williams is the No.1 tennis player in racket smashing when looking at the women league. She has given us many thrilling racket-smashing occasions such as the ones below.

Read also:

My Favorite Tennis Equipment

Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.


  • Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
  • Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
  • Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
  • Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.

Are you interested in how this website was made and want to make your own? Start Here


Why do tennis players smash their rackets? ›

Players will actually often use a racket smash as a release of tension after a very tense part of a match. It is not uncommon to see players bounce back and perform better after they have destroyed a racket, as they will have had a sudden release of nervous energy.

What happens if you smash your racket in tennis? ›

On top of the financial punishment, players also get punished with the loss of a point, game, or even set during the match. The first racket breaking generally results in a warning (no points lost), and the subsequent occurrences result in a point loss, game loss, set loss, and finally disqualification.

Which tennis player has smashed the most rackets? ›

The all-time racket smasher has to be the rather endearing Russian character Marat Safin, who smashed his racket 48 times in 1999. Over his 12-year career he broke some 700 rackets. But even Safin had his limitations.

Why do tennis players touch their rackets? ›

They give you grip, they maintain friction and they give you stability. They make you feel light, they help you with speed, and they could be all the difference in you reaching the tennis ball to hit that incredible volley shot.

Do male tennis players get fined for breaking racket? ›

ATP and WTA players are subject to fines for damaging their opponent's equipment, up to $500 per occurrence. There is a limit of how many rackets you can lose in 365 days, no matter the severity of the damage done. If you break another player's racket, they will have to pay you for it–even if it wasn't your intention.

What is a smash called in tennis? ›

A smash in tennis is a shot that is hit above the hitter's head with a serve-like motion. It is also referred to as an overhead.

Why is racket abuse a penalty? ›

Racket abuse during a tennis match is the term used to describe a player that throws one's racket due to anger or frustration during a tennis match. Such actions are usually sanctioned with a penalty. A racket abuse violation can cost a player as high as $500 as fine for every occurrence.

Why do tennis players get so angry? ›

When we can't hit our serve the way we want to or can't hit it consistently or hit that easy volley into the net when it should have been a winner, we get angry. We are angry at ourselves, sometimes within reason and other times we simply hold ourselves to unfair and unrealistic expectations.

Has Roger Federer smashed his racket? ›

During a match at the Miami Open, Federer, losing to Djokovic and frustrated by his play in windy conditions, did something even more uncharacteristic than crying: He smashed his racket into shreds, drawing unthinkable boos from the crowd.

Did Nadal ever smashed a racquet? ›

Thanks for the A2A, Nadal has never smashed a racquet before.

What is the most common mistake in tennis? ›

Basically, hitting the ball too late is one of the most common mistakes in tennis. It leads to a significant decrease in the quality of your groundstrokes. This can be seen in the lack control. Instead of being able to place the balls in the right place, they fly uncontrolled over the net.

Which tennis player is accused of abuse? ›

In October, the ATP announced it had opened an investigation into domestic abuse allegations made by Zverev's ex-girlfriend, Olga Sharypova.

Why do girls scream in tennis? ›

In women's tennis, a player's grunts/shrieks/yells are the same pitch, volume, and duration from the first point of the match to the last. They're the same if it's the second shot of the rally or the 22nd. That's not natural grunting. That's purposeful, ritualized yelling.

Why do tennis players always moan? ›

It Keeps Player In Rhythm

A player must do a lot of different things right to keep up with their opponent. It might not seem like that big of a deal, but moaning and grunting during the point help with that. It allows the player to remember when to exhale, and how to set up for a possible return shot.

Why do tennis players cover their mouths when talking? ›

Doubles tennis players cover their mouths in order to keep their opponents from figuring out their strategy. Even though the opponents are on the other side of the court, they could possibly read lips – or a coach nearby could eavesdrop on the strategy and alert his or her player.

Why do tennis players go on the bike after a match? ›

First, a player needs to warm down after a long match, riding a stationary bike or walking briskly for 10 minutes helps remove the lactic acid that has built up in the muscles.

Do tennis players take bathroom breaks? ›

The guidelines for the men's game will limit bathroom breaks to one per match, lasting no longer than three minutes from the time the player enters the facility. Players on the ATP and women's WTA tours have regularly been accused of using bathroom breaks as tactical weapons at crucial junctures in matches.

What is tennis with a wall called? ›

Squash tennis is played in various four-walled courts. The front wall (against which the ball is served) features a telltale (usually clad in tin) at the bottom couple feet from the floor, a service line about 6 feet (1.8 m) from the floor, and an out-of-bounds line around 16 feet (4.9 m) from the floor.

Is smash the same as Spike? ›

The spike is a stronger version of a meteor smash.

Can you jump smash in tennis? ›

However, the jump-smash is a challenging shot - you need strong athletic ability and a lot of racket skill. It's no easy feat. It's important to build up the point before you play an overhead. It's about your whole game, the best use of all the shots combined, building up to that decisive moment: the smash.

What is racket abuse? ›

racket abuse (uncountable) (tennis) the throwing of one's racket in anger, during play, which may result in a penalty.

Who has been fined the most in tennis? ›

In his career, Kyrgios has received $800,000 Australian dollars ($544,000USD) in fines, making him far and away the most-fined player in world tennis history.

What can tennis players be fined for? ›

The New York Times compiled a list of fines received by gender between 1998 and 2018 at the four major tennis grand slam tournaments.
Selected period code violation summary.
Unsportsmanlike conduct28767
Ball abuse5035
Verbal abuse6216
11 more rows

What does tennis do to a girl's body? ›

Female tennis players have a higher rate of hip and lower-leg injuries, while male athletes report a higher rate of thigh and trunk injuries. Young girls have a higher prevalence of back, shoulder, and bilateral wrist pain, compared to young boys.

Who is the loudest tennis player? ›

On the current tour, Maria Sharapova is believed to grunt the loudest, often clearing past 100 decibels on court. Monica Seles and Jimmy Connors have been labelled as the original creators of the "tennis grunt". Seles used to regularly reach 90 decibels.

What is the mental side of tennis? ›

While it is hard to precisely quantify how mental tennis is, many argue that the sport is 80% mental and 20% physical. Achieving success as a tennis player, regardless of your level, is directly correlated with your ability to deal with the pressure of competitive tennis.

Has Andy Murray broken a racket? ›

I've broken a few rackets in my career, but I'm more of a shouter.

Did Djokovic get fined for smashing his racquet? ›

Once the incident was assessed, Djokovic was fined.

Which tennis player has anger issues? ›

John McEnroe Wimbledon 1981

During his third round match at the 1981 Wimbledon championships, John McEnroe produced arguably the most famous angry outburst in sporting history. This moment transcended tennis and has become one of the most iconic sporting catchphrases ever.

Why does Djokovic break his racket? ›

Djokovic was automatically defaulted from the match per the tournament rules. At that point, his emotions boiled over and he hammered away at the court, destroying his racquet and drawing a code violation warning. Medvedev went on to hold serve and then broke a still steaming Djokovic in the next game for a 3-2 lead.

Why does Djokovic smash his racket? ›

After losing the first set 6-4, Djokovic was looking to make a comeback to tie up the match when he hit a routine forehand out of bounds. In response to the mistake, Djokovic melted down and smashed up his racket in anger at his performance while the U.S. Open crowd cheered along with the proceedings.

Did Nadal ever smashed a racquet? ›

Thanks for the A2A, Nadal has never smashed a racquet before.

Has Roger Federer smashed his racket? ›

During a match at the Miami Open, Federer, losing to Djokovic and frustrated by his play in windy conditions, did something even more uncharacteristic than crying: He smashed his racket into shreds, drawing unthinkable boos from the crowd.

Did Djokovic get fined for smashing his racquet? ›

Once the incident was assessed, Djokovic was fined.

Did Djokovic throw his racket at Olympics? ›

He first tossed his racket five rows deep into the seats, then later slammed his racket into the net when Carreno Busta broke his serve.

Why is Djokovic being kicked out? ›

The Australian government cancelled Djokovic's visa because of issues surrounding his stance against COVID vaccination. That was four days after the Serbian star had an earlier decision to cancel his visa overturned by a court on procedural grounds.

Has Djokovic ever smashed his racquet? ›

After losing a point to Spain's Pablo Carreño Busta, Djokovic got very angry and chucked his racket—for real this time—into the empty stands. Later on in the set, after losing another point, Djokovic destroyed his new racket by pounding it against one of the posts that hold up the net.

Why is Djokovic so mentally tough? ›

He grew up in the 1990s in Serbia when there was a lot of war, crisis and sanctions, which him and his entire family had to face. This gave Djokovic the mental strength and 'never give up spirit' which he exhibits today on and off the court.

What is the controversy over Djokovic? ›

Today, after arriving on Australian soil with permission to play in the tournament thanks to a controversial vaccine exemption, Djokovic's journey was cut short due to a visa snafu that saw him face lengthy questioning from authorities at the border.

Why does Nadal drink pickle juice? ›

“The pickle juice is used to prevent cramping for the players. It adds sodium to your system and hopefully stabilises it,” he said.

Why is Nadal taping his fingers? ›

The tapes on his fingers have an easy explanation: blisters. Plenty of players tape up their fingers to prevent blisters. As for his “weird mannerisms”, almost all players have at least some of them, especially during their serve routine.

How much is Nadal's racket worth? ›

Nadal: Rafael Nadal uses the Babolat Pure Aero racquet to power his way through tournaments. Off the shelf, this racquet costs $230.

Has Andy Murray broken a racket? ›

I've broken a few rackets in my career, but I'm more of a shouter.

Which tennis player has anger issues? ›

John McEnroe Wimbledon 1981

During his third round match at the 1981 Wimbledon championships, John McEnroe produced arguably the most famous angry outburst in sporting history. This moment transcended tennis and has become one of the most iconic sporting catchphrases ever.

What happens if you smash a racket at Wimbledon? ›

Abuse of Racket Violations by Professional Tennis Players

Misconducts such as racket abuse can also lead to player disqualification and game penalties. Fabio Fognini was penalized for smashing his racket into the court during the 2014 Wimbledon Championship.


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