November 27, 2009

Could Serena be fined $1 Million for outburst?

Reuters - Serena Williams may cop the largest fine in tennis history when the world champion is penalised for her US Open meltdown. Industry sources last night indicated the International Tennis Federation's grand slam committee was close to consensus on the Williams case, almost 12 weeks after the US Open incident.

Williams was cited for committing a major offence, an infraction which carries possible suspension from January's Australian Open. Williams allegedly threatened to kill a lineswoman in New York, saying: "If I could, I would take this f ... ing ball and shove it down your f ... ing throat". The winner of 11 majors, Williams almost certainly will contest the 2010 Australian Open, where she is the defending champion.

But she is likely to receive a fine which far outstrips the $US100,000 Lleyton Hewitt was docked in 2002 for missing a Cincinnati interview. ITF grand slam administrator Bill Babcock has finished his inquiries, taking evidence and submissions from Williams and the officials involved on the day. His findings will be discussed at the ATP World Tour finals at O2 Arena tomorrow by the four members of the grand slam committee. Geoff Pollard (Australian Open), Jean Gachassin (French), Tim Phillips (Wimbledon) and Lucy Garvin (US), who will consider Babcock's recommendations, can overturn, or vary, his verdict.

One option for officials in the Williams case is to ban her from next season's US Open or strip her of the $US342,825 prizemoney and the 900 rankings points. There is talk of a $1 million fine, and a good behaviour bond. Williams was fined the maximum on-site penalty of $US10,000 in New York for unsportsmanlike behaviour. Her outburst was triggered by a suspect foot fault call in a tense semi-final against Belgian Kim Clijsters. Williams has apologised several times for the incident.

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