Behaviour was wilder in my day, says Wimbledon referee

2019-07-12 18:13
Serena Williams
Serena Williams of the United States plays a shot in her Ladies Singles fourth round match against Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain during Day Seven of The Championships - Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 08, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

London - Wimbledon referee Andrew Jarrett insisted on Friday that on-court behaviour was much worse in his playing days despite record fines being handed out at this year's tournament.

In the first week at the All England Club, a total of $106 000 was levied in fines, the bulk of which was incurred by Australia's Bernard Tomic ($58 000) for tanking his opening round match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Serena Williams was handed a $10 000 fine for damaging a practice court with her racquet while Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus was hit with the same amount for "unsportsmanlike behaviour".

Italian wild man Fabio Fognini was fined $3 000 for saying he wanted to see "a bomb dropped" on the tournament.

However, Jarrett, 61, a former tour player in the 1970s and 1980s - the era of John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Ilie Nastase - believes standards of behaviour have improved.

"I would humbly claim that my generation was the worst behaved. We were shocking back in the late 70s and early 80s," said Jarrett, who is stepping down as Wimbledon referee after 14 years in the job.

"I think the code of conduct has been beneficial to the development of the sport and achieved a level of professionalism.

"Otherwise, tennis could have gone in a different direction."

Jarrett will be succeeded in 2020 by Gerry Armstrong, who was a chair umpire for over 40 years.

Armstrong officiated in eight Wimbledon singles and once defaulted McEnroe at the Australian Open.

Jarrett admitted there were many testing times on his Wimbledon watch, but he will leave on good terms with all players even if they may have objected to decisions he had to make.

"I once played a very fierce Davis Cup tie in Spain and a guy I hardly knew went for me at the net and the ball hit me right in the chest," he recalled.

"In the heat of battle, I called him a rude name with the only Spanish word I knew. There was a bit of to-do.

"But a few years later we had a beer together and laughed about the whole thing.

"You know that things flare up but as you get older, you realise you are bigger than that."

Read more on:    wimbledon  |  tennis


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