Dimitrov could face Aussie Open ban
Originally published on: 05/12/10 15:55
Teenage sensation Gregor Dimitrov might be banned from next year’s Australian Open after the Bulgarian attacked an umpire at a Challenger event in Helsinki.
According to a Finnish newspaper, a frustrated Dimitrov let out his anger at umpire Daniel Infanger following his semi-final defeat to Ricardas Berankis. Away from the court the 19-year-old was reported to have sworn and then pushed Infanger in the chest before being restrained.
The ATP have charged Dimitrov €2,000 for the offense but it is possible that the organising body could yet impose a more severe punishment once the incident has been further examined, which could result in him being banned from the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne.
“The immunity of the umpire is a sacred thing in sports. You can disagree with calls but this was way out of line,” said President of the Finnish umpire’s association Antti Aine after witnessing the incident.
Peter McNamara, who began working with the talented teenager in June, has defended his charge.
“I’ve written letters of apology to everyone involved and I’ve made sure Grigor has done the same,” said the 55-year-old Australian.
There has been much spoken about the precocious 19-year-old, who had a glittering junior career, reaching world No.1 and capturing both the Wimbledon and the US Open singles titles.
His playing style has also had many compare him to a young Roger Federer, who himself had a particularly fiery character on a tennis court in his early years.
Making his ATP World Tour debut in 2008, Dimitrov has made huge strides this year, picking up three Challenger tour titles to lift him to a career high 106, which makes the Bulgarian the highest ranked teenager on the ATP Tour.
The ranking also puts him in a position which will guarantee him a place into his first automatic entry into a Grand Slam main draw, so a ban would be a big blow to a year he’ll be hoping to make an impact at the top of the game.