Argentine David Nalbandian was disqualified from the Aegon Championships final after injuring a line judge by kicking an advertising board into his shin.
David Nalbandian, 30, was leading Marin Cilic 7-6 (7-3) 3-4 when he smashed a panel in front of Andrew McDougall’s seat, causing his leg to bleed heavily.
Chair umpire Fergus Murphy awarded Marin Cilic the match, while ATP supervisor Tom Barnes confirmed the decision.
“I am very sorry, sometimes you get frustrated on court,” said David Nalbandian.
With the officials discussing what course of action to take, sections of the 6,000-capacity crowd booed and chanted “play on”.
But the match was abandoned and David Nalbandian was left to explain his behaviour.
“Sometimes I make a mistake I agree with,” he said.
“It’s a tough moment to end a final like that but sometimes we feel so much pressure from the ATP playing so many tournaments.
“Today I’ve made a mistake. Sometimes I agree and I do but everyone makes mistakes. I don’t feel it had to end like that – especially in a final.
“There are a lot of rules and sometimes they don’t do anything. The rule book is very big and I can tell you the ATP do a lot to the players and nothing happens.”
After edging the first set on a tie-break, David Nalbandian’s serve was broken in the opening game of the second.
He managed to level at 3-3 but immediately handed the advantage back by putting a forehand wide on the stretch.
The world number 39 continued his run before angrily booting the board, which broke apart and badly gashed Andrew McDougall’s left leg.
Tournament official Chris Kermode said: “We were in the middle of a wonderful final and David Nalbandian ran across and in frustration kicked a panel underneath the line judge.
“The panel went into his leg and cut it – he’s quite seriously injured. The match has ended with a code violation.
“David is struggling to come to terms with it. He clearly regrets what happened – but these things happen.
“It is sold out and the spectators are watching some great tennis, so to have the match end this way is quite disappointing.
“But there’s not a lot we can do about it. We are under the governance of ATP rules. You’d like to think you can bend the rules but if you allow it [the match to continue] it sets a precedent.”
Rule 8.04 of the ATP rule book states a player guilty of aggravated behaviour can expect to be fined “up to $25,000 or the amount of prize money won at the tournament, whichever is greater”.
Given that the runners-up prize money at Queen’s is 44,945 Euros ($56,803), David Nalbandian stands to lose more.
He was appearing in his first grass court final since Wimbledon in 2002.
Marin Cilic becomes the first Croatian to win a title on grass since Goran Ivanisevic triumphed at the All England Club in 2001.
“It was very bitter,” said the sixth seed.
“It’s definitely not the way I wanted to win. To end like this is not easy.
“The match was getting hot and it’s tough to see the final finish like this. I can’t change it, but I’m really sorry for the fans that it finished like this.”