American doubles tennis player Mike Bryan has been fined $10,000 for using his racket to make a shooting gesture at a line judge at the US Open tournament.
Bryan, playing alongside his twin brother Bob during a second-round match in New York, placed the head of his racket on his shoulder and pretended to aim the handle at the official after successfully challenging an incorrect call.
He then pointed his finger at the chair umpire, Mariana Alves, and the line judge, and shook his head.
Alves issued a code violation against Bryan for unsportsmanlike conduct during Saturday’s match, calling the gesture inappropriate.
The US Tennis Association handed the six-time US Open champion a $10,000 penalty on Sunday, the highest fine received by a male player so far at this year’s tournament.
“The gesture warranted that amount,” USTA spokesman Brendan McIntyre said.
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) September 1, 2019
The Bryan brothers, winners of 16 Grand Slam doubles titles as a team and former world number one, went on to win the match 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 against Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain and Argentina’s Federico Delbonis.
The match was played hours after a man in West Texas shot seven people to death and injured 22 others.
It was the 25th mass killing in the US this year, matching the number in all of 2018, according to The AP/USATODAY/Northeastern University mass murder database.
Bryan later issued an apology and admitted his mistake.
“I apologise for any offence I may have caused. We won the point and the gesture was meant to be playful,” Bryan said in a statement cited by the New York Times.
“But given the recent news and political climate, I understand how my gesture could be viewed as insensitive. I promise that I will never do anything like this again.”
Six of the deadliest mass shootings in the US have taken place in the last five years.
Critics of the US gun policy have called for more stringent laws regarding the procurement of weapons.
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies