John McEnroe wasted little time Monday picking up where he left off in the Australian Open. He screamed obscenities at a photographer at the airport.
McEnroe, who became the first player to be thrown out of a Grand Slam event, arrived at Los AngelesInternational Airport with his family and was angered by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut, who attempted to take his picture.
Back in Melbourne, Australia, a death threat had been made against Gerry Armstrong, the British umpire who disqualified McEnroe Sunday.
Armstrong said he had shrugged off the threat, which was made by telephone, and planned to return to umpiring immediately.
Armstrong defaulted McEnroe from his fourth-round match against Sweden's Mikael Pernfors for abusive behavior.
In Los Angeles, McEnroe lashed out at Ut, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1973.
"He stuck his finger in my face, swore at me and told me to get out of his way," Ut said. "At first, I thought he was going to kill me. He kept yelling at me, swearing at me. He was very angry at me, and so was his wife. I've never had anybody angrier at me when I was trying to do my job."
Ut took several pictures and said he never answered McEnroe. Ut said he was the only photographer at the airport to photograph McEnroe, who was accompanied by his wife, actress Tatum O'Neal, and their two sons. The couple live in nearby Malibu.
McEnroe had brushed silently past reporters at the airport in Melbourne as he left Australia.
McEnroe threw his racket and a tantrum Sunday while leading his fourth-round match against Pernfors, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5, 2-4, and was defaulted by the umpire.
The action, which led to $6,500 in fines against McEnroe, made him the first player ejected for misconduct in any Grand Slam event since pros and amateurs began playing together at the start of the open era 21 years ago.
The threat to the umpire was telephoned to the home of a women's player liaison officer on Sunday night, tournament spokesman Sharyn Hanly said.
Armstrong is a professional umpire with the ATP Tour.
He appeared unruffled as he returned to the National Tennis Center for the first time since disqualifying McEnroe under the instructions of Grand Slam supervisor Ken Farrar.
"What is there to react to," Armstrong said. "I just have to go out and do a match. Everybody has been very supportive."
Tournament director Colin Stubs said security at the tennis center would not be increased because of the threat.
"The only comment I have is that we are very happy with security. I believe it's adequate for a tennis tournament of this nature," he said.