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Serena may face slam ban after line judge outburst

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:46

Serena Williams could be banned from competing at two grand slam tournaments, including next year’s US Open, if the ITF deem her expletive-laced angry rant at a line judge during her US Open semi-final defeat to Kim Clijsters worthy of further punishment.

The world governing body is currently reviewing the “major offence”, which remains the enduring image from a dramatic fortnight’s tennis in New York, and considering its course of action according to a report in The Times.

In the final game of an emotionally charged, high-quality semi-final match, the world No.2 was called for a second serve foot-fault, which brought up match point for the Belgian.

Williams then approached the line judge who had called the fault, threatening and brandishing her racket at the official, who informed the the umpire.

Having already received a code violation earlier in the match for smashing a racket, Serena received a point penalty and the match was over. (For those of you who spent September under a rock, here it is again.)

Should the offence be deemed serious enough to warrant sanction, Williams could be forced to return her prize-money earned in New York or face suspension from one or two grand slams.

The suspension option may seem harsh but it has been used before. At Wimbledon in 1995, Jeff Tarango told umpire Bruno Rebeuh that he was corrupt and defaulted his third-round match. The American was fined and suspended from two majors in 1996, including Wimbledon.

ITF grand slam administrator Bill Babcock confirmed that an investigation is open. Notice of a grand slam major offence investigation has been given and there will be an opportunity for all the parties to present their views of the incident.

Babcock has reviewed the video evidence, listened to accounts from the officials involved, including tournament referee Brian Earley and WTA Tour supervisor Donna Kelso, and Serena now has two weeks to mount her defence ahead of his decision.

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