Although we might like to think that tennis players are the epitome of professionalism and good behaviour...sadly that isn't always the case. Throughout the history of our sport we have seen smashed rackets, arguments with the crowd, lack of effort and a fair dosage of "you cannot be serious". So you might be thinking that at an event as prestigious as Wimbledon, surely this this behaviour wouldn't happen? You would be wrong, so very wrong...in fact the All England Club dish out fines for bad behaviour like there is no tomorrow!
In this article we will look at some of the largest fines ever given at SW19.
We start off on the lower end of the scale with Fabio Fognini's "BOMB" outburst in 2019. The 32-year-old Italian was already under threat of a ban from two major tournaments for using misogynistic language to a female umpire at the US Open in 2017, but in this case he was heard to say “I wish a bomb would explode on this club,” and fined £1,600 by Wimbledon officials. As All England Club chief executive Richard Lewis said to AFP, “It was one of these heat of the moment comments. It was a very unfortunate comment and Fabio was good enough to apologise straight away.”
Next up is tennis' great entertainer, Nick Krygios. In 2019, the Australian was fined £6,500 for a series of 'unsportsmanlike conduct' against Jordan Thompson and then Rafael Nadal for a heated exchange with the umpire Damien Dumusois. Kyrgios, who believed Nadal was taking too long in between service points was extremely unhappy that Rafa was being given special treatment by consistently breaking the 25 second between points rule. In one exchange Kyrgios let loose on the umpire saying: “Wow, you’ve got so much power up there,” The Australian then went on to say, “You’re no one. You think you’re important. You have no idea what’s going on. You’re a disgrace.”
Serena Williams was fined a hefty £8,000 for damaging a practice court at Wimbledon in 2019 before the event even got started. The incident was unreported and it was well into the tournament before the fine was issued. No one knows how Serena took the news as she hasn't commented on the incident, but given how competitively the players train before play starts, it is easy to see how a player can become frustrated at any pre-tournament mistakes.
Romanian Victor Hanescu is certainly not fan favourite at SW19. Back in 2010 before forfeiting his third round match against Daniel Brands, Hanescu scuppered four match points in the third set and foot-faulted twice in the fifth. The Romanian who was clearly immensely frustrated, swore loudly, allegedly spit in the direction of the crowd and then was believed to make deliberate double faults in the fifth set. Hanescu announced after the match that he was provoked by the spectators, but that didn't stop him getting a double fine for unsportsmanlike behaviour and not giving his “best effort.”
Back in 2017, Russian Daniil Medvedev was handed was handed three individual fines totalling £15,000 for throwing coins at the umpire’s chair and hurling abuse twice at the umpire Mariana Alvez. In what seemed a surreal incident, the crowds didn't quite know how to react...before the chorus of boo's came of-course! Not sure if the All England Club let you pay fines in coins Daniil?
American Jeff Tarango was fined £35,000 for verbally abusing chair umpire Bruno Rebeuh and telling the crowd to "shut up" before grabbing his bag and leaving the court four games into the second set.
His behaviour prompted the International Tennis Federation’s Grand Slam Committee to suspended him from two Grand Slam tournaments, finding him “guilty of aggravated behaviour and conduct contrary to the integrity of the game.”
In 2019 Australian Bernard Tomic suffered a loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga that took only 58 minutes...this became the shortest Wimbledon men’s match in 15 years. Although it might appear on the surface that Tsonga must have blown away his opposition away with a million winners and aces...in fact the result was down to a distinct lack of effort from Tomic. The Australian's performance (which went down 6-2, 6-1, 6-4) was labelled “appalling” and “embarrassing” on social media, and the 26-year-old was fined 45,000 pounds for his dismal efforts. Despite the heavy criticism, Tomic isn’t prepared to accept the fine, saying he was unwell during the game, which affected his performance.
So there you have it, although it seems crazy that these professionals are willing to give away so much money... you can rest easy knowing that all fines Wimbledon receive go to the Grand Slam Development Fund, which pays for tennis scholarships in developing countries.