Wimbledon chief warns players on respect after Verdasco incident

  • Posted: Oct 10, 2018

A Wimbledon chief has called for greater “mutual respect” after a video clip showed Fernando Verdasco gesturing at a ball boy to hurry up with a towel during last month’s Shenzhen Open.

Mick Desmond, commercial and media director of the All England Club, added he was “not afraid” to fine players.

“There’s an etiquette. The ball boys and ball girls of Wimbledon are all volunteers,” Desmond told BBC Sport.

But he suggested an idea to introduce towel rails was unlikely to be adopted.

British tennis coach Judy Murray suggested a rule change after the footage of the world number 28 emerged in September, showing him motioning for the ball boy to get his towel to him more quickly between points.

“Well, you never say never,” said Desmond. “But I don’t think so. I think there’s still a sense to make sure a match stays at speed – but there needs to be a mutual respect between the two entities.

“We expect any individual at Wimbledon – whether it’s a player, whether it’s a ball boy or whether it’s a cleaner to have mutual respect for each other.”

He said the All England club, which stages Wimbledon, would talk to the ATP and the WTA – the organisers of the men’s and women’s tours – about player behaviour.

“Wimbledon is not afraid to fine the players whatever their standing,” Desmond added.

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