After almost 10 weeks, the Grand Slam Committee has determined a penalty for Serena Williams’ obscenity-laced tirade at this year’s U.S. Open.
Administrator Bill Babcock will announce today that Serena has been fined $82,500. She could also be suspended from that tournament if she has another “major offense” within the next two years, and is facing a “probationary period” at Grand Slam tournaments in 2010 and 2011.
The Committee met in London this past weekend to discuss the World No 1’s outburst to a lineswoman who foot-faulted her at a critical juncture of the semifinal of the U.S. Open versus Kim Clijsters.
Speculation has been swirling for the past few months that Williams may be suspended from one of the Slams, which would have seriously damaged her credibility, earnings, and jeopardize her ranking. One recent report claimed that her fine could be as high as $1M.
Instead, they have come down on the side of a financial penalty, which amounts to less than half the prize money she received as a semifinalist at the U.S. Open and a warning about her behavior.
If she has another incident at a major championship in that time, the fine would increase to $175,000 and she would be barred from the following U.S. Open.
Babcock said that the previous highest fine for a Grand Slam offense was for $48,000 and doled out to Jeff Tarango in 1995.
Tarango had described Bruno Rebeuh, the French umpire, as being “one of the most corrupt officials in the game” at the All England Club.
When he was handed a point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, Tarango walked off and refused to play on, and was suspended from playing the following year’s Wimbledon Championships.
It is the only other time the committee has had to review a case of “aggravated behavior”.
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