It took the Grand Slam Committee more than two months to decide on a punishment for Serena Williams after her foul-mouthed outburst at a line judge during this summer's US Open. Yesterday, the committee announced that, unless she transgresses again, the American will not be suspended and will be fined the equivalent of just 1.3 per cent of the prize money she has earned this year.
Williams was ordered to pay $82,500 (about £50,000), which will be doubled if she is found guilty of another "Grand Slam Major Offence" in the next two years, in which case she will also be banned from a future US Open. This year alone the world No 1 has banked a women's record $6.55m (£4m) in prize money, not counting her earnings from endorsements and other commercial activities. Her career prize money earnings stand at $28.51m (£17.37m).
The Grand Slam Committee, representing Wimbledon and the US, French and Australian Opens, investigated the case after officials at Flushing Meadows imposed their maximum on-site fine of $10,000 – which will be deducted from the $82,500 penalty – during the tournament in September. In a tirade laced with expletives, Williams had threatened to "shove" a ball down the throat of a line judge who had foot-faulted her near the end of her singles semi-final against Kim Clijsters.
Williams lost the match and was fined but was allowed to continue playing doubles at the tournament.