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.
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.
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.
I find the fine for Tatishvili a bit harsh considering she’s coming back from injury, is not so great when she’s not even injured and considering the level of Sakkari...— thomas (@thomashwktt) June 2, 2019
Didn't see the match, from reports, took 10 mins for #Sakkari to brk for 2-0, had to save 3 breaks to consolidate for 3-0; needed (5) match points to close it out. Doesn't sound like #Tatishvili wasn't giving enough effort, more like #Sakkari was too match tough. #Harsh 😐 #RG19— ULTM8SerenaWilliamsf (@ultm8swfans) June 3, 2019
Tatishvili lasted 55 minutes v Sakkari. loses her prize money from 1st round, even though completing the match. Other matches have lasted less time this week. I was surprised to see her name in draw but downfall probably coming back at Slam level and not a few weeks before. 🙈— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) June 3, 2019
I have conflicted feelings regarding Anna Tatishvili losing her R1 paycheck for not playing up to professional standards.....I agree that she showed up for the paycheck and I agree it was basically a wasted spot in the draw. But she also played Sakkari in R1. #RG19— Francis (@smelllikesugar) June 2, 2019
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.
"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.”