Tennis star fined entire year’s earnings for throwing ball on court mid-match

Hago Gaston has reportedly been slapped with a £116,000 ($144,000) fine after he was caught throwing a ball out of his pocket during his Madrid Open match against Borna Coric. The French player has earned just £94,200 ($117,361) since the start of the season. He was previously warned for the same action last season.

Gaston crashed out of the recent Madrid Open 6-3 6-3 to Borna Coric in the second round. While facing a set point on his serve at 3-5 down, he was seen taking a ball out of his pocket and throwing it on the floor while his opponent was going in for a smash winner to take the set.

Many believe the 22-year-old did so in an attempt to have the point replayed as a let so he could stay alive in the opening set. After throwing the ball out of his pocket, he can be seen waving his arm to indicate that the ball had dropped but Coric was awarded the set and both players returned to their benches.

According to L’Equipe, the world No 108 has now been handed a hefty fine for the action, which exceeds the amount of prize money so far this year. While it has not yet been confirmed by his coach Younes El Aynaoui, the ATP is said to have billed Gaston £144k.

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It comes after the ATP warned Gaston over a similar gesture last season. The 22-year-old will have the right to appeal the fine, but he will be able to pick up some extra prize money at the upcoming French Open after receiving a wildcard.

Gaston will pocket £60k (€69k) just for playing his opening-round match in the main draw at the Grand Slam. The Frenchman has been given such a large fine following a revision of the ATP rules, after the men’s tour determined that some previous punishments had been too lenient.

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At Masters 1000 events, players are now liable to receive fines of up to £48k ($60k) under the reviewed rules. Regarding unsportsmanlike situations, ATP rulebook for 2023 also states: “The maximum fine will increase by 100 per cent for each consecutive violation during the same calendar year.

 “In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall be penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule. In circumstances that are flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a tournament, or are singularly egregious, the ATP Supervisor may refer the matter to the ATP Fines Committee who shall conduct an investigation to determine whether the player Major Offense of Aggravated Behavior or Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game has occurred. Prize money earned at that event shall be held by ATP until the ATP Fines Committee has concluded their investigation and made a determination.”

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