Published On: Mon, May 22nd, 2023
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Tennis ace fined entire year’s earnings for throwing ball on court before sanction reduced | Tennis | Sport

Hago Gaston was reportedly slapped with a £125,000 (€144,000) fine after he was caught throwing a ball out of his pocket during his Madrid Open match against Borna Coric. The French player has earned just £94,200 ($117,361) since the start of the season. He was previously warned for the same action last season. After appealing, the ATP agreed to halve the fine to £63k (€72k) if Gaston did not receive another sanction in the next 12 months.

Gaston crashed out of the recent Madrid Open 6-3 6-3 to Borna Coric in the second round. While facing a set point on his serve at 3-5 down, he was seen taking a ball out of his pocket and throwing it on the floor while his opponent was going in for a smash winner to take the set.

Many believe the 22-year-old did so in an attempt to have the point replayed as a let so he could stay alive in the opening set. After throwing the ball out of his pocket, he can be seen waving his arm to indicate that the ball had dropped but Coric was awarded the set and both players returned to their benches.

According to L’Equipe, the world No 108 was originally handed a hefty fine for the action, which exceeded the amount of prize money so far this year. While it has not yet been confirmed by his coach Younes El Aynaoui, the ATP was said to have billed Gaston £125k before conceding following an appeal.

It comes after the ATP warned Gaston over a similar gesture last season, while he also received three other unsportsmanlike conduct infractions this year. The 22-year-old successfully appealed the fine and the ATP agreed to halve it under the condition that he wouldn’t receive further warnings this year. 

In a statement, the ATP said: “Following an incident during his second round in Madrid, Hugo Gaston was fined €144,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct. Under ATP 2023 regulations, fines increase by 100% for each new offence during the same season. This was Gaston’s fourth unsportsmanlike conduct offence in the 2023 season. Following an appeal, the fine was reduced to €72,000, a reduction subject to certain conditions including no further offence by Gaston.”

The Frenchman had been given such a large fine following a revision of the ATP rules, after the men’s tour determined that some previous punishments had been too lenient. At Masters 1000 events, players are now liable to receive fines of up to £48k ($60k) under the reviewed rules.

Regarding unsportsmanlike situations, ATP rulebook for 2023 also states: “The maximum fine will increase by 100 per cent for each consecutive violation during the same calendar year.

“In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall be penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule. In circumstances that are flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a tournament, or are singularly egregious, the ATP Supervisor may refer the matter to the ATP Fines Committee who shall conduct an investigation to determine whether the player Major Offense of Aggravated Behavior or Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game has occurred. Prize money earned at that event shall be held by ATP until the ATP Fines Committee has concluded their investigation and made a determination.”

Gaston will also be able to pick up some extra prize money at the upcoming French Open after receiving a wildcard. He will pocket £60k (€69k) just for playing his opening-round match in the main draw at the Grand Slam.

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