THREE nights ago, on a tennis court in Renfrew, my opponent chose to end a tie-break with a serve and volley. He won the point. And the match. And my mind raged because he serves and volleys as often as I take Maria Sharapova out to dinner. This was, I figured at the time, about humiliation. I wanted to take the furry green ball he had dropped six feet in front of me and force it past his smug, smiling cheeks down towards his adenoids.

That hasn’t been the only times I’ve courted violent thoughts. I’ve thrown Medusa stares, I’ve intimidated, squealed and issued obscenities that would shock deaf squaddies.

I once sent my racquet in the direction of Court Three, a real challenge given I was on Court One at the time.

As for moods? I’ve refused handshakes, dismissed conversation attempts and once I couldn’t face a dinner party having been beaten by a 14-year-old in a club championship. JM Barrie once wrote: “What a polite game tennis is. The chief word in it seems to be ‘sorry’, and admiration of each other’s play crosses the net as frequently as the ball.” Barrie’s head wasn’t in Renfrew when he wrote this. Or Wimbledon today.

This latest visit to SW19 has revealed more anger, petulance and bratsmanship than ever, with officials already handing out a record amount of fines. It’s all thanks to having tables kicked (Nick Kyrgios), racquets thrown (Serena Williams), refusniking (Bernard Tomac). And huffy Fabio Fognini was fined after he wished “A bomb would explode at Wimbledon” on being moved to Court 14, where he lost in straight sets.

But can we accept bad behaviour, the like of which if carried out off court could see the offender in court? We seem to. Didn’t we love McEnroe’s tantrums? Didn’t we grin in 2012 when Marcos Baghdatis smashed four racquets in under a minute. We certainly smiled when Goran Ivanisevich broke three racquets at Brighton, and had to tell the umpire he had none left.

We’re entirely happy with the abuse of umpires, the likes of Serena Williams’ tirade at the 2009 US Open, which cost her a point and the match. And when Jeff Tarango walked out of Wimbledon in 1995 after a bad call, then a fine. (Tarango’s wife had an equally fiery Italian temper; she slapped the umpire hard on the face the next time she saw him.)

We can accept and smile when the Wimbledon grass is battered into submission by Wilsons, Heads and Babolats. And didn’t we gloat when Tim Henman once lost the plot (and the match) when he skelped a ball girl on the head with an angrily unleashed forehand. (At least it revealed aggression.)

We’re even happy to see players beat on themselves, to see Andy Murray bash the back of his knuckles to produce pain and adrenaline. And some will remember the 2008 Miami Open when Mikhail Youzhny lost a silly point and in anger hit his own head with the racquet until a serious amount of blood was drawn.

Yet, why do we encourage this madness? Perhaps it’s because we know tennis to be like no other sport (regarded as the No 1 discipline which requires both physical and mental strength –No 2 is boxing).

Virginia Wade hit the sweetspot of observation when she wrote: “Seemingly it’s just an athletic matter of hitting the ball consistently well within the boundaries of the court? Ha. That analysis is just as specious as thinking that the difficulty in portraying King Lear on stage is learning all the lines.”

Wade is right. The difference between a winning shot down the line and going out could be a couple of millimetres of a tilt of the racket, a nanosecond of mistiming.

The resulting mental interference – a sense of anxiety, uncertainty, or anger – then has a disproportionate effect.

In short, tennis can wreck minds. It can be entirely absorbing, wonderful and therapeutic, but it can make you behave badly.

Former Lawn Tennis Association sports psychologist Craig Mahoney offers another another reason why tennis players’ mental strings can break. Team sports offer back-up. Tennis (doubles apart) is played alone. “In tennis you are dealing with your own mentality and ability to cope with the situations and that won’t always be secure.”

But should we forgive always those who transgress? Mmm. Jo Konta’s post-match meltdown was understandable, given a semi was at stake.

Yet, she shouldn’t have berated the journalist who asked her a fair question about choking. It’s been hard to buy into Serena Williams’ sympathy-signalling in relation to her US Open umpire attack. And Nick Kyrgios? This is the man who during a match in 2015 tossed a comment about Stan Wawrinka’s girlfriend right in the Swiss player’s face. Kyrgios is both nasty and a clown.

As for the rest, we can forgive the tantrums and the petulance because tennis is simply allowing the Mr and Mrs Hyde in all of us to find short-term release. To swear, smash and trash, well, it’s human.

But that doesn’t mean we should never anticipate a serve and volley.