Serena fined for outburst as probe launched

Serena Williams has been fined $10,500 for her angry outburst at a line judge that ended a US Open semi-final.

updated: September 14, 2009 18:26 IST
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New York:

Serena Williams has been fined 10,500 dollars for her angry outburst at a line judge that ended a US Open semi-final and the incident is being investigated by the Grand Slam Committee.

US Open tournament referee Brian Earley said in a statement Sunday that Williams has been levied the maximum possible fine for unsportsmanlike conduct, 10,000 dollars, plus a 500-dollar fine for racquet abuse.

"The Grand Slam Rule Book also allows for an investigation to be conducted by the Grand Slam Committee administrator to determine if the behavoir of Ms. Williams warrants consideration as a Major Offence, for which additional penalties can be imposed," Earley said.

"This investigation has now begun."

The fine is a mere pittance, even at maximum strength, since Williams received 375,000-dollar for her semi-final run at Flushing Meadows, her matches among the top drawing cards for ticket buyers and television viewers.

US Open officials were reviewing videotapes Sunday of Williams confronting a line judge in the bizarre ending to her loss to Belgium's Kim Clijsters.

Both Williams and match umpire Louise Engzell were interviewed by Earley before they left for home Saturday night.

US television commentator Pam Shriver called for 11-time Grand Slam champion Williams to apologize for threatening the woman who called a foot fault upon the reigning champion to give Clijsters two match points.

Williams reacted by walked toward the woman who made the call, waving her racquet before her, and launching into a profanity-tinged tirade that led to an unsportsmanlike conduct violation.

Because Williams had already received a warning after smashing her racquet following the last point of the first set, the penalty point she was assessed handed Clijsters a berth in Sunday's final.

Williams had no update on her Twitter page, which had featured a flurry of messaging before the match-ending meltdown, and nothing on her website blog about it except for a journalistic account of the incident.

That entry, however, sparked 280 responses in 17 hours since the match ended, ranging from outrage to support.

Williams will return to Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday afternoon to join her sister Venus in the US Open women's doubles final against top seeds Cara Black of Zimbabwe and American Liezel Huber.

Grand Slam events fall under the purview of the International Tennis Federation, not the ATP and WTA tours, with the four major tournaments collaborating to form the Slam committee.