Mcenroe Gets 2-month Suspension For Outburst At U.s. Open Umpire

Posted: September 07, 1987

NEW YORK — John McEnroe was fined $17,500 and suspended for two months yesterday for his verbal outbursts during his third-round victory in the U.S. Open.

The Men's International Pro Tennis Council levied three fines totaling $7,500 on McEnroe as a result of his behavior during his win over Slobodan Zivojinovic. A further assessment of $10,000 is automatic to any player who incurs $7,500 in fines during a 12-month period. In addition, because this is the second time within a year McEnroe has reached the $7,500 limit, he was suspended for two months.

McEnroe's agent, Peter Lawler, said the player would appeal the penalties, which cannot go into effect until the appeal is reviewed by the council. McEnroe was not available for comment.

McEnroe, who will play ninth-seeded Andres Gomez in the fourth round today, has 10 days to file the appeal after the Open ends Sunday. If he loses, the two-month suspension will begin the Monday after the decision is reached.

A suspension almost certainly would hinder McEnroe's comeback from a long layoff last year. It also probably would prevent him from playing in the Masters, the season-ending championship in December. Even if the suspension ended before the Masters, he would not have the opportunity to earn the necessary points to qualify for the event.

The latest McEnroe incident occurred as the result of a non-call on a shot by Zivojinovic that McEnroe felt was long. If the ball had been called out, McEnroe would have led by two sets.

That touched off a tirade by McEnroe against chair umpire Richard Ings of Australia, costing him a warning, a point penalty and a game penalty. One more

infraction would have brought automatic default. McEnroe lost the set on the game penalty but won the match, 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-3.

After viewing tapes of the incident, talking with Ings and discussing it with four supervisors, Ken Farrar of the council fined McEnroe $500 for the first instance of abusing the umpire, $5,000 for verbal abuse of the umpire and $2,000 for verbal abuse of a CBS soundman. McEnroe had been fined $350 for ball abuse during his first-round match.

"He was probably lucky he didn't get defaulted," Farrar said, explaining that Ings had not been aware of the full extent of McEnroe's behavior. "The verbiage came so fast and quickly, plus the crowd noise, he didn't catch all of it. He heard enough to know he was abused. In retrospect, he probably would have defaulted him."

Farrar, in his eighth year as a supervisor, said the verbal attack was about as bad as any he had heard.

Although the more offensive remarks by McEnroe were not heard on network television because they occurred during commercial breaks, those viewers with satellite dishes could have heard it all, since they received the raw network feed.

McEnroe went over the $7,500 fine limit earlier this year at the World Team Cup competition in West Germany, where he was fined $4,000.

Last year, McEnroe served a 42-day suspension after being fined $3,000 at the Paris indoor championships in November.

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