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Serena fined, investigation opened

Serena Williams’ profanity-laced, finger-pointing tirade at a US Open linesperson drew a $10,000 fine on Sunday, and more punishment could follow from a broader investigation.

sports Updated: Sep 15, 2009 01:10 IST

Serena Williams’ profanity-laced, finger-pointing tirade at a US Open linesperson drew a $10,000 (Rs 4,86,677) fine on Sunday, and more punishment could follow from a broader investigation into what the head of the tournament called her “threatening manner.” The fine — not quite three per cent of the $350,000 (Rs 1,70,34,498) in prize money Williams earned by reaching the semifinals — is the maximum on-site penalty that can be issued for unsportsmanlike conduct at a Grand Slam tournament.

“The average individual would look at that and say, ‘A $10,000 fine for what she did? What are you guys, crazy?’ The answer is: the process isn’t over,” tournament director Jim Curley said.

Bill Babcock, the top administrator for Grand Slam tournaments, will review what happened Saturday night, when Williams yelled at a linesperson who called a foot fault with the defending champion two points away from losing to Kim Clijsters in the semifinals.

If Babcock determines Williams committed a “major offense,” she could be fined all of her prize money from the tournament. Williams also was docked $500 (Rs Rs 24,342) for smashing her racket after the first set of the match. Because she was issued a warning then, her later actions resulted in the loss of a point.

The foot fault resulted in a double-fault, which moved Clijsters one point from victory. Williams then was penalized a point for her outburst; because it happened to come on match point, it ended the semifinal with Clijsters ahead 6-4, 7-5.

Clijsters won the final Sunday by beating Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 6-3.

Serena apologises

Serena Williams apologised on Monday for the abusive and threatening tirade she launched at a line judge in a semi-final loss to Kim Clijsters at the US Open on Saturday.

One day after issuing a statement in which she pointedly did not offer apologies to the line judge, the 11-time Grand Slam champion offered up an amendment to her comments with another statement, this one an apology to many.

“I want to amend my press statement of yesterday and want to make it clear as possible — I want to sincerely apologize first to the lineswoman, Kim Clijsters, the US Tennis Association and mostly tennis fans everywhere for my inappropriate outburst,” Williams said.

“I’m a woman of great pride, faith and integrity and I admit when I’m wrong. I need to make it clear to all young people that I handled myself inappropriately and it’s not the way to act — win or lose, good call or bad call in any sport, in any manner.