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Record fine – but no ban – on the cards for Serena

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:51

Serena Williams could be in line for the largest fine in tennis history as the ITF edge closer to announcing further punishment for her expletive-ridden rant at the US Open.

Fox Sports yesterday reported that that Grand Slam administrator Bill Babcock has completed his investigation into the episode and made his recommendations to the Grand Slam committee, who will now make the final decision.

And ‘industry sources’ indicated that the world No.1 is in line for an unprecedented fine – with some speculating that the figure could be as high as $1 million – though it seems increasingly unlikely that she will receive a suspension from the Australian Open, where she is the defending champion.

Nearly three months have gone by since the infamous episode, which saw Williams receive a point penalty on match point of her semi-final with eventual champion Kim Clijsters after confronting a line judge for calling a foot fault.

Williams was fined the maximum on-site penalty of $10,000 in New York for unsportsmanlike behaviour, and a further $500 for smashing her racket earlier in the match, which had drawn a first code violation to leave her facing a point penalty later in the match.

But Williams, who has apologised for the episode, was cited under the sport’s code of conduct for committing a major offence that warranted further action.

Now that Babcock has completed his investigation the Chairpersons of the four Grand Slams – Geoff Pollard (Australian Open), Jean Gachassin (Roland Garros), Tim Phillips (Wimbledon) and Lucy Garvin (US Open) – have met this week at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals to reach a verdict.

The group has the power to overturn or vary Babcock’s recommendations, which could potentially see Williams banned from next season’s US Open or stripped her of the $372,000 singles prize money and 900 rankings points, along with a good behaviour bond.

Officials are expected to announce their decision after next week’s Davis Cup final in Barcelona.

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