WIMBLEDON '95: Record pounds 10,000 fine for Tarango

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The Independent Online
Jeff Tarango has been fined pounds 10,000 - the heftiest sum ever imposed by the All England Club for on-court offences - and he knows that it could be the least of the punishments he faces after walking out on his third- round match against Alexander Mronz on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Californian's allegations of favouritism, directed at the French umpire, Bruno Rebeuh, in which he accused Marc Rosset, the Swiss Olympic champion, of being a beneficiary, are the subject of a wider investigation. Tarango is almost certain to be charged with "aggravated behaviour" by the Grand Slam authorities, which could lead to suspension from one or more of the four major tournaments for up to three years and an additional fine of up to pounds 65,000.

The ATP Tour, which is studying a transcript of Tarango's post-match interview, has the power to suspend players or officials for up to a year if they are found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute.

Tarango's fine yesterday relegated John McEnroe to second place in the table of Wimbledon fines for on-court offences. The New Yorker was penalised pounds 6,500 in 1991 for verbal abuse. Verbal abuse was only one of the offences for which Tarango has been fined, costing him pounds 6,500 for calling Rebeuh "the most corrupt offical in the game". He was also fined pounds 250 for unsportsmanlike conduct (telling the crowd to "shut up"), and pounds 3,250 for failing to complete the match, resulting in the default.

The pounds 10,000 will be deducted from Tarango's prize-money of pounds 17,660 from singles and doubles and donated to the Grand Slam Development Fund.

Rebeuh's report included a description of the post-match incident in which he was attacked by Tarango's wife, Benedicte. "On my way back to the referee's office with Mr Stefan Fransson [Grand Slam supervisor], Mrs Tarango walked up behind me, pinched and twisted my arm and then slapped my face twice and said: 'Anyway, I will see you again...' "

In a statement yesterday, Tarango said: "My wife and I had to stand alone and defend ourselves against overwhelming pressures. Her resilience through all of this has been incredible. We both feel that what have done was what we were forced to do in desperate moments. We are taking a stance on this issue and, as a result, paying a huge price.

"I have been assured that a proper investigation will follow, where all the evidence of the case will be brought to the Grand Slam Committee's attention. So far I feel the investigation has been, and hopefully will continue to be, conducted fairly.

"I would also like to add that I am very sorry that Marc Rosset's name came out in this, and I am sure he has no involvement, and I would also like to add that he is a truly great player."

n The world No 1, Pete Sampras, whose support Tar-ango had claimed, said last night: "I didn't really agree with what he did, walking off the court. That's something you just don't do in the third round of Wimbledon... He just overreacted and lost his cool and now he is really paying the price."