Tennis star cops $74,000 fine over controversial act at French Open

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

American tennis player Anna Tatishvili has been fined $74,000 for performing “below professional standards” during a first round loss at the French Open.

The Georgian-born American was playing her first match on the WTA tour since October 2017, thrashed 6-1, 6-0 by Maria Sakkari in just 55 minutes.

The 29-year-old is on the comeback trail after a third ankle surgery in late 2018.

Maria Sakkari blew Anna Tatishvili off the court. Image: French Open

She last played at a grand slam at the Australian Open in January 2017, but was able to enter the French Open through her protected ranking.

However officials deemed that Tatishvili had contravened new rules aimed to discourage injured or ill players entering grand slams to collect the prize money.

New rules were introduced at grand slams last year to prevent players taking to the court with no realistic chance of finishing a first-round match.

Maria Sakkari shakes hands with Anna Tatishvili. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

The new regulations state that players can receive half the prize money if they travel to the event and pull out before the match.

The decision to strip her prize money has caused some controversy, with many pointing out that some matches have lasted less time than Tatishvili’s, as well as the fact that Sakkari is World No.30.

Not the first instance

British player Katie Boulter reportedly angered her rivals after belatedly showing up at the French Open just to pocket $37,000.

The 22-year-old has not played since Britain’s Fed Cup victory over Kazakhstan last month, where she aggravated a back problem, and had been ruled out of the whole clay season.

But her name surprisingly appeared in the Roland Garros draw before the tournament.

One day before it started, Boulter rushed from London to Paris in order to withdraw and claim half the first-round prize money.

Katie Boulter caused controversy. Image: Getty

"Boulter left Court 12 at maximum speed – surprisingly fast, in fact, for a woman who is understood to be suffering from a spinal stress fracture," wrote Simon Briggs in the Telegraph.

"She swept past reporters with a hasty 'sorry!' instead of stopping to explain why she had allowed her name to appear in the French Open draw.

"It was the latest awkward moment in what has been a poorly handled weekend ... But if she was so determined to squeeze the maximum prize money out of her ranking – which is what this visit was about – she would have been better advised to be more open about it."

Boulter could have avoided the hubbub by withdrawing before the draw, but she was instead pictured attending the Chelsea Flower Show later on.

Kevin Mitchell wrote in the Guardian: “Either through embarrassment or expediency, (Boulter) chose to reserve her views for social media rather than endure the scrutiny of a press conference.”