Tempers rage at tennis tournament
By Anthony Thomas
Accusations of assault have been levied on Mustang rookie tennis player Moe Nemati after an altercation with an opponent during play at the squad's season opening tournament in Hamilton.
The controversy exploded during a match between Nemati and Queen's player Kirin Keshav when both players began disputing over Nemati's match-winning shot in a second set tie-breaker. Playing without an official and calling their own lines, Nemati claimed Keshav became verbally abusive.
"He said to me, 'you know Moe you can have the fucking point but I'll kick your ass later,'" Nemati alleged.
At that point Nemati said he lost control, jumping the net and shoving his former teammate of the junior Canadian team. Keshav did not return the physical aggression.
"The thing that burnt me the most is that when I shoved him, he just put his hand up and looked at me and said yes, I just won the match," Nemati said.
After tempers were cooled, tournament officials ruled Nemati would lose the match by default and be suspended for the remainder of the tournament leaving him to watch from a distance.
No disciplinary action was taken against Keshav and he was permitted to continue the tournament.
In the parking lot after the tournament, Keshav allegedly once again verbally threatened other members of the Western team, said men's tennis coach, Anthony Glavanic.
Glavanic was on the court at the time and felt Nemati was antagonized and referred to the first-year student as a very emotional player.
"He should not have done it," Glavanic said of Nemati's actions. He added the loss of the initial match was appropriate but the next match suspension was "questionable."
As for Keshav, Glavanic was surprised at the London native's actions.
"I've known him since he was a kid," he said. "I've always known him as a great kid. I guess he just pulled out all the stops to win and has become a skinny man with a big mouth.
"He deserves to have his eye put out."
Nemati has until nine o'clock this morning to file a personal letter of apology to Western's athletic department.
"I know what I did was wrong," Nemati said. "Any way you look at it I'm guilty. I didn't think, I just lost it."
Queen's coach John McFarlane's stance on the issue was much different.
"The Western player jumped over the net and physically assaulted our player," he said. "This was a rare incident and it should not be acceptable in any university athletics."
He went on to comment that the Ontario University Athletic Association has a zero tolerance policy on violence.
"It's not up to me to make that judgment. I'll leave that to Western and the tournament convenor Eric Bojesen," said McFarlane, when asked what Nemati's punishment should be.
Keshav was unable to comment on the situation under strict orders from McFarlane.
Darwin Semotiuk, Western's chair of athletics, stated the school has not yet made a formal decision if further punishment will follow on the altercation. Such a decision will be made jointly between the OUA and Western.
"We are in the stage of gathering information with the principals involved," he said. "We hope to deal with this quickly but not until all of the information is in front of us."
"The incident warranted a formal report to the technical committee," the tournament convenor and York men's tennis coach Eric Bojesen said. According to Bojesen the Western player was suspended but his specific recommendations are confidential to the parties involved.
The Western athletic department has received a copy of his report and Bojesen said it's up to them to deal with it.