ATP fines Gaston $190 million for intentionally dropping balls

Former world No. 58 Hugo Gaston (France/currently No. 108) has been fined a hefty $144,000 (approximately $190,000) by the ATP for committing an unsportsmanlike conduct violation during a match, France’s L’Equipe magazine reported.

The fine stems from an incident that occurred during the second round of the ATP1000 Madrid Open singles event on April 29. Playing against Borna Choric (Croatia) in the second round, Gaston faced a break and set point at 40-AD in the ninth service game of the first set after conceding one break. Gaston under-served to exploit a loophole in her opponent’s game, and Choric returned with a backhand winner. Gaston was busy buying time with a high lob.

Just as Choric was about to hit a smash, Gaston pulled a ball out of his pocket and deliberately dropped it into the court, calling for a retrieve. The incident was clearly shown on TENNIS TV. Just before Choric’s smash, Gaston can be seen deliberately dropping the ball into the court with his right hand.

However, the umpire disagreed with Gaston and awarded the point to Choric. Gaston dropped the first set 3-6 and the match 0-2 안전놀이터.

The 2023 edition of the ATP Rulebook states that “Unsportsmanlike conduct in ATP1000 events is punishable by a fine of up to $60,000. However, if the same offense occurs within the same season, the fine will be added at a rate of 100 percent.”

According to the Associated Press, Gaston has been a repeat offender since the start of the 2023 season, and the intentional fall would be his fourth unsportsmanlike conduct offense of the season.

In an official statement on May 22, the ATP said, “On appeal, the fine will be reduced by half if Gaston meets certain conditions, including not committing any new offenses for one year.”

It will be interesting to see if Gaston, who acted against the spirit of fair play, will try to pull another stunt in the future, or if he will take this opportunity to show true remorse.

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