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Women tennis players fined for swearing six times at this year's championships


This year’s Wimbledon tournament has seen a sharp increase in the number of women players being fined for ‘audible obscenities’.

By day six of the tournament, the number of women reprimanded for swearing was already double that of those penalised during the entirety of the Championships last year.

This comes as British tennis star Heather Watson branded a Wimbledon line judge ‘pathetic’ after he ‘snitched’ on her for cursing.

Watson claimed she was being punished for being British and that foreign players get away with swearing in ‘different languages constantly’.

She was docked a point and yesterday received a fine for the code violation during her defeat in the women’s doubles quarter final after the linesman alleged she had said ‘f***ing stupid’. 

British tennis star Heather Watson branded a Wimbledon line judge 'pathetic' after he 'snitched' on her for cursing

British tennis star Heather Watson branded a Wimbledon line judge ‘pathetic’ after he ‘snitched’ on her for cursing

But the British number two and her German partner Tatjana Maria argued with French umpire Kader Nouni, insisting she did not swear and even canvassed the crowd for their opinion.

After the match, the furious 26-year-old said: ‘I just think it’s really pathetic. It’s like there is no point in it.

‘It’s literally like a snitch running to the front of the class saying, ‘I heard her say this!’ I think it is so stupid. It is. I can’t even explain.’

Her comments come after a number of other players also hit out at ‘snitching’ lines judges this year including Nick Kyrgios who told one to do his job and not ‘rat on people’.

A fuming Watson went on to suggest that English speaking players were being penalised at SW19 while foreign players were ‘constantly’ getting away with cursing in their mother tongues.

‘You have got people in all different languages swearing constantly all the time. I just said ‘stupid’, nobody heard anything else and I just think it is really bad,’ she said.

‘I think it is a poor choice from him (the linesman). It’s just unfair. In that situation you’re not telling people off when they are swearing in Czech or Spanish or whatever.’

The figures for fines at the Championships available (up to day six) so far appear to back up Watson’s comments.

The British number two and her German partner Tatjana Maria argued with French umpire Kader Nouni

The British number two and her German partner Tatjana Maria argued with French umpire Kader Nouni

Watson claimed she was being punished for being British and that foreign players get away with swearing in 'different languages constantly'

Watson claimed she was being punished for being British and that foreign players get away with swearing in ‘different languages constantly’

Of the total fines for audible obscenities – including the $2,000 (£1500) handed to Watson yesterday – $11,000 (£8,321) were levied against players from English speaking countries.

This is more than double than the $5,000 (£3,782) handed to those from other nations. 

In 2016 no women were fined for swearing while in 2017 three females received penalties for the violation.

This year by the first Saturday, six women had already received penalties – with the addition of Watson this week we could be on course for one of the most foul-mouthed Wimbledon’s in recent years.

Watson received her penalty at a crucial moment in the third set of the doubles match on Tuesday night against Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova, of the Czech Republic.

Leading 2-1 in the decisive set and with the score at 40-30 on their opponents’ serve, the line judge approached the chair umpire and alerted him to something that Watson had said.

But the Briton insisted she had only said ‘stupid’: ‘Is he [the line judge] joking?’ she asked the umpire before added: ‘Did you hear what they [the crowd] all said?

‘They all heard me say stupid? I didn’t even say it, he’s pathetic,’ the Brit claimed.

Heather Watson (serving) and Tatjana Maria during the doubles on day nine of the Wimbledon Championships

Heather Watson (serving) and Tatjana Maria during the doubles on day nine of the Wimbledon Championships

It followed an earlier warning for slamming a ball to the ground after losing the second set, so the pair were given a point penalty that handed the game to their opponents who won 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.

German star Alexander Zverev also hit out at ‘snitching’ by slamming a linesman for reporting his mutterings to the chair umpire in his third round defeat to Latvian Ernests Gulbis.

During a changeover in the Saturday match, Zverev went up to umpire Carlos Ramos and questioned: ‘Since when can a line judge give me a warning?’

The 21-year-old, who was given a code violation, later said: ‘He (the linesman) wants to feel important in a big stadium here at Wimbledon.’

The day before controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios blasted a linesman in his second round match against Robin Haase for reporting him for an audible obscenity to the umpire James Keothavong

Kyrgios challenged Keothavong to tell the linesman to do his job and not ‘rat on people’.

Yesterday the Referees Office confirmed that Watson had been fined $2,000 (£1511) for an ‘audible obscenity’ violation.

German star Alexander Zverev also hit out at 'snitching' by slamming a linesman for reporting his mutterings to the chair umpire in his third round defeat to Latvian Ernests Gulbis

German star Alexander Zverev also hit out at ‘snitching’ by slamming a linesman for reporting his mutterings to the chair umpire in his third round defeat to Latvian Ernests Gulbis

It is not the first time the fiery Brit has been reprimanded for bad behaviour at the Championships and currently holds the record for the third largest fine at Wimbledon ever.

In 2016 she was fined $12,000 (£9,000 at the time) for smashing her racquet against the court during her first round defeat to Annika Beck.

The year before BBC commentators were forced to apologise for her ‘colourful’ language during her first round match after microphones picked up her cursing.

An AELTC spokesperson said: ‘All competitors are required to conduct themselves in a professional manner and abide by the Code of Conduct guidelines set forth in the Grand Slam Rulebook. Breaches of this code are monitored by the Referees’ Office and Grand Slam supervisors and fines administered accordingly.’

They added that officials at The Championships were able to monitor violations by foreign language speakers as judges officiate at tennis tournaments around the world and ‘as such are familiar with words that would constitute an audible obscenity in various foreign languages’. 



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