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Australian tennis player banned for racial abuse

sports Updated: Jul 09, 2009 17:58 IST

IANS
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Teenaged Australian tennis player Brydan Klein has been banned for six months by the Association of Tennis Professional (ATP) for racially abusing an opponent last month.

The ban follows Klein being fined $14,000 by ATP, and his suspension from the Australian Institute of Sport. The 19-year-old former Australian Open Junior Champion called South African Raven Klaasen a "f---ing kaffir" during a tournament in Eastbourne, according to reports in Australian media.

An ATP statement said: "Under the ATP Code of Conduct, Klein was found to have committed the Player Major Offense, Aggravated Behaviour.

"The incident was deemed to have been 'behaviour that is flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a tournament or is singularly egregious'."

Klein, who apologised after his outburst, had been suspended from the ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour. He was fined a further $10,000 following the investigation.

"The determination said the use of the slur was 'repugnant', and is particularly upsetting and entirely unacceptable for this to be used in a sporting event such as the ATP World Tour," the statement continued.

Klein, a West Australian, could appeal against the penalty. He could also have the length of the suspension reduced if he completes a racial sensitivity training course approved by the ATP within the first four months of the suspension. The remaining two months' suspension would effectively be waived by becoming a probationary period and the additional fine could be waived.

The penalty is effective from July 20 unless Klein appeals against the decision. Tennis West president Dean Williams said he was sad but not surprised because of Klein's track record.

"His behaviour since he was a junior has been absolutely shocking. We have seen it in Perth, disgraceful behaviour, now we have seen it on the world scene," Williams said.

"That is possibly, the most derogatory shocking terminology to another human being that you could possibly do. It is the worst."

"They are fed up with him. It is obviously going to jolt him. I am very aware they had to apply a harsh penalty because they had to send a message to young players that they will not tolerate this behaviour. Unfortunately, it is rife amongst the juniors."

Williams said he hoped it would not jeopardise Klein's career. "He will either pick up his game and go to anger management or a psychologist. He is young enough to come back," Williams said.

In a statement after the incident, Klein said he deeply regretted his actions during the match against Klaasen in the last round of qualifying for the AEGON International June 14.

"I am very sorry for the offence this has caused.

"After the match I called my opponent Raven and apologised for what had happened and also apologised for any offence caused to his support team."

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