Nick Kyrgios has been slapped with the second largest fine of the Australian Open to date after swearing in his first-round victory against Pablo Correno Busta on Monday. Kyrgios was hit was a $US3000 ($A4380) fine on Wednesday for audible obscenity during his straight-sets win against the Spaniard.
While Kyrgios has a suspended $25,000 fine and 28-day ban hanging over his head, the strict guidelines around verbal and physical abuse are only applicable at ATP events, not grand slams. The suspended sanctions were put in place after his now infamous “Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend” sledge at Stan Wawrinka in August last year.
However, the biggest fine of the tournament has been handed to former world No.1 Venus Williams, who copped a $US5000 fine for not fronting a mandatory post-match media conference on Tuesday. Williams was not in the mood for talking following her shock straight-sets defeat to the Sydney-born Johanna Konta, who now represents Great Britain.
Australian Open officials announced the sanction against the 35-year-old, who went down 6-4, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena, on Wednesday. While her sister Serena attended her post-match commitments, she did call a premature end to the conference, saying: “I’m calling it, I’m out” as she left the room.
Venus, the tournament’s No.8 seed, was given the largest fine a female competitor has been given for brushing the media conference, and the second highest since former Australian Open champion Marat Safin was fined $10,000 at the French Open in 2001.
Serena was asked on Wednesday about why Venus did not front the media. “I don’t know. If you want to, you can ask her,” a laughing Williams said sarcastically. “Yeah, I don’t know. I wasn’t here.”
Australia’s women have struggled at this year’s Open, but Konta – who represented Australia from 2008 to 2012 before joining Great Britain – has no plans to return.
“No. Unfortunately, my home is Great Britain,” she said. “It has been for a long time now, over a decade. Yeah, no, that’s where my heart is.”
Don’t follow Daddy
He is likely to be remembered as the greatest in the history of the sport, but Roger Federer admits he does not want his children following in his footsteps.
Federer waltzed into the third round of the Australian Open for the 16th consecutive time on Wednesday morning, but the former world No.1 does not harbour a desire to keep coming back to Rod Laver Arena for much longer.
His six-year-old twin daughters Charlene and Myla have begun playing tennis, but their father is hopeful they do not make a career out of the sport.
“I will support them all the way whatever they want to do, but I don’t see myself doing that right now,” Federer said about the prospect of following his children around the tennis tour for the next few decades.
“I’d rather support them in another sport. Go see them be a super skier. That would be exciting. To go watch tennis matches, I don’t know. [Laughter]. As much as I love it now, I’m just not sure what my excitement level will be in 20 years’ time from now. You never know.”
Sweet smell of success
The scent of Rod Laver Arena sent Victoria Azarenka on a walk down memory lane, reminding her of her success in 2012, when she waltzed back on to centre court on Tuesday night. “I have no idea what it smells like. It takes me a little bit down the memory lane. It just, you know, makes me excited. So I would say it’s less of a smell as much as memories, you know, and the feelings that I get.”
Huge rise in gambling
The allegations of corruption in tennis have done little to hinder interest in gambling on the Australian Open. Tournament partners William Hill, the first betting agency to sponsor a grand slam, have recorded a significant rise in gambling on last year. There has been a 93 per cent increase in turnover compared to the first two days of last year’s tournament. There has also been a 258 per cent increase in turnover on live betting, with total bets up almost 150 per cent.
Serena not so serene
If you listened to some of the questions being asked of Serena Williams in her press conference, you could understand why she looked so disinterested following her second-round victory. There has been no escaping her shock loss to Roberta Vinci at last year’s US Open, nor is there any escaping questions about it four months later. Asked if she has watched the match since, a frustrated Williams said: “Yeah, I watch it every day. Every night to get ready”. She might not have ended her own press conference this time around, but she at least provided warning that her patience was wearing thin saying: “I’m coming apart, though. Do we have any more questions?”