PARIS (AFP) - Volatile Russian Mikhail Youzhny smashed the same racquet nine times on Monday, sending splinters spiralling into the air and ball boys running for cover in a stunning French Open meltdown.
He boiled over after he slipped a set and 0-3 down to Tommy Haas in the last-16 match at Roland Garros with the random act of violence becoming an instant YouTube hit.
"You try and do all you can to help yourself. I tried it this way, but it doesn't help really," said 29-year-old Youzhny, who slumped to a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 defeat by the German on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
Youzhny is notorious on tour for his hair-trigger temper.
At Miami in 2008, playing Spain's Nicolas Almagro, he smashed his racquet on his head so violently that blood poured onto the court.
He insisted that his racquet sponsor, Head, will not be concerned about the damage. "I have been with Head for 20 years. You want me to go to another company and break their racquets?" he said.