Victor Hanescu was full of contrition when he offered an apology for his regrettable decision to spit at the Wimbledon crowd on Court 18 and then tank his match against Germany’s Daniel Brands that earned him a $US15,000 fine. The 28 year-old Romanian, seeded 31 in the men’s singles, was found guilty of both unsportsmanlike conduct after swearing and spitting in the direction of hecklers in the crowd and not using ‘best efforts’ at the conclusion of his 6-7,6-7, 7-6,6-3 3-0 demise against Brands when he repeatedly and intentionally foot faulted and served double faults. Hanescu had his fine deducted from the $47,071 prize money he earned from winning two previous rounds.
“I lost my control briefly in the fifth set after another insult from someone in the crowd,” said Hanescu in a statement issued by the ATP World Tour. “I should never have done that but I am human and I made a mistake. I would like to apologize to the fans, the All England Lawn Tennis Club and everyone else for my behavior.”
Hanescu insisted provocation from the crowd caused him to resort to such behavior: “There were people in the crowd that had been insulting me since the beginning of the match. I was winning, had four match points in the third set, but unfortunately I could not close it out. Then I got a leg injury at the end of the fourth set.
Wimbledon referee Andrew Jarrett called for video tape of the incident from the BBC and studied it at length with Chief of Grand Slam Supervisors Stefan Fransen before making the decision. Should Hanescu so decide, any player has the right of appeal within 10 days to the Grand Slam Administrator, Bill Babcock.
Four spectators were arrested under the Public Order Act after Hanescu complained to police officers. Scotland Yard said on Saturday that the four arrested men, three aged 30 and one aged 29, had been bailed to return on August 16 pending further enquiries by officers.