© Ella Ling

Serena Williams

Exclusive: the worst offenders in women's tennis


Threatening to “shove” a tennis ball down a line-judge’s throat, calling an umpire “a hater, a loser and unattractive inside”, illegal mid-match coaching, swearing, more verbal abuse, racket abuse… Analysis by The Tennis Space, with figures supplied by the International Tennis Federation, has revealed the worst offenders in women’s tennis, based on fines incurred at the grand slams over the past six years. With 104,500 US dollars in fines, Serena Williams has incurred more than double the rest of the top 10 combined, who, between the nine of them, have had 41,750 US dollars slashed from their prize-money.

1. Serena Williams, 104,500 US dollars.
Twice she has used threatening language at her home grand slam. Playing Kim Clijsters in the semi-finals of the 2009 US Open, Williams was not amused by the lineswoman who had called her for a foot-fault. “I swear to God, I’m f—— going to take this f—— ball and shove it down your f——throat, you hear that? I swear to God.” Serena’s immediate punishment was a point penalty at match point down, and she later received a 10,000-dollar fine for unsporting behaviour, and then a further 85,000-dollar punishment after this was judged to be a ‘major offence’.
During the 2011 US Open final against Sam Stosur, Williams raged at the umpire after she received a code violation for ‘intentional hindrance’ after screaming out “C’mon” during the rally. This is what Williams had to say to the official during the changeover: “Don’t even look at me. If I see you in the corridor, don’t even walk past me because you’re out of control, out of control. You’re totally out of control, you’re a hater and you’re just unattractive inside. Who would do such a thing? Wow. You’re a loser.” She was fined 2,000 dollars for verbal abuse.
Serena’s other ‘crimes’ include, a 1,000-dollar fine for swearing and a 500-dollar punishment for racket abuse at the 2008 Australian Open, 500 dollars for swearing at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships, 1,000 for an audible obscenity at the 2009 Australian Open, 500 for racket abuse at the 2009 US Open, and 4,000 for skipping a press conference at Wimbledon in the summer of 2010. 
2. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 13,000 US dollars.
It is not just her eccentric dress sense which demands attention. Her largest fine was for 7,500 dollars, which came for her unsporting behaviour after a first-round defeat at the 2011 Australian Open. After trashing a racket at the 2006 US Open, she was fined 500 dollars, and her prize-money was reduced by 5,000 dollars at the 2010 French Open for verbal abuse. Apart from Serena Williams, she is the only woman who would have made the men’s top 10 of worst offenders. 
3. Victoria Azarenka, 7,000 US dollars.
The largest of her fines was the 4,000 dollars she had to pay for skipping a press conference at the 2010 French Open. Swearing at the 2010 Australian Open cost her 1,500 dollars, and she was fined the same amount for cussing at the 2011 US Open. 
4. Sania Mirza, 4,250 US dollars.
All of the Indian’s fines have been for her language. She was fined 750 dollars for swearing at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships, 2,000 for verbal abuse at the 2011 French Open, and 1,500 for swearing at the All England Club in 2011. 
5. Anabel Medina Garrigues, 3,500 US dollars.
As well as a 2,000-dollars fine for coaching at the 2007 Australian Open, she has also been punished for swearing at the 2007 US Open (500 dollars) and unsporting behaviour at the 2008 French Open (1,000 dollars). 
6=. Dominika Cibulkova, 3,000 US dollars.
Both of the Slovakian’s fines – at the 2010 US Open and the 2011 Australian Open – were for illegal mid-match coaching. She was fined 1,000 dollars and then 2,000 for the next offence. 
6=. Anastasia Rodionova, 3,000 US dollars.
The Australian, not one of the most popular players on the tour, was fined 500 dollars for unsporting behaviour at the 2006 Australian Open. Swearing has also got into her trouble – expletives cost her 1,000 dollars at the 2010 US Open, and 1,500 dollars at the 2011 US Open. 
6=. Francesca Schiavone, 3,000 US dollars .
Both of the former French Open champion’s came at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships – 2,000 dollars were deducted from her prize-money cheque for illegal coaching, and she lost a further 1,000 dollars for colourful language. 
9. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 2,500 US dollars.
Her vice is illegal coaching. It cost her 500 dollars at the 2007 Australian Open, and 2,000 dollars at the 2011 US Open. 
10. Andrea Petkovic, 2,500 US dollars.
She was a little unlucky at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, when she retreated to a corner of the court and said something in German. Unfortunately, the linejudge standing by her was German, too. “Now I’m going to swear in Serbian, and I will never get a warning because nobody understands what I’m saying,” she said. Petkovic, who was fined 1,000 dollars for profanities at the 2010 US Open, was docked 1,500 dollars at the All England Club.