Mischa Zverev fined record $45,000 for poor performance | Sport


Citing a viral illness, Zverev retired after 48 minutes while trailing Korean Hyeon Chung

Germany’s Mischa Zverev was fined $45,000 at the Australian Open for poor performance.

Germany’s Mischa Zverev was fined $45,000 at the Australian Open for poor performance.
Photograph: Dita Alangkara/AP

German Mischa Zverev has been slapped with a grand slam-record $US45,000 ($A56,165) fine for an unprofessional first-round performance at the Australian Open.

Citing a viral illness, Zverev retired 48 minutes into the match while trailing Korean Hyeon Chung 6-2 4-1 at Melbourne Park last Tuesday night.

The world No35 is the first victim of a new rule introduced to combat the spate of first-round retirements that have plagued the majors in recent years.

In a black eye for tennis, seven players failed to see out their opening matches at Wimbledon last year, including the respective opponents of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in back-to-back matches on the sport’s most famous centre court.

While not only disappointing ticket holders, television networks were short-changed of hours of premium match play.

The new rule enables players unfit to compete at grand slams to collect half their prize money while offering a lower-ranked rival the chance to take a prized place in the main draw.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley says the fact four players opted to withdraw before the season-opening slam kicked off, with Zverev being the only first-round retirement, provided proof the new rule has had the desired result.

Zverev’s fine represents almost all of his $A60,000 prize money for losing in the first round.

It also puts Bernard Tomic’s US15,000 ($A18,720) fine for saying he was “a little bit bored” during his first-round loss to Zverev at Wimbledon last year in the shade.

Zverev’s punishment also comes a year after the crafty serve-volleyer recorded the biggest win of his career, upsetting then-world No1 Andy Murray in the third round before falling to Federer in the quarter-finals.

The 30-year-old is expected to join his fourth-ranked brother Alexander in leading Germany into Davis Cup battle against Australia in next month’s first-round tie in Brisbane.

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