American doubles star Mike Bryan was fined $10,000 on Sunday after using his tennis racket to make a shooting motion at a line judge at the U.S. Open.
Bryan, 41, turned his racket around and pretended to aim the handle after the official made a call. A video replay review revealed that an opponent’s ball called in by the line judge was actually out.
Bryan’s gesture occurred in a second-round match that began late Saturday as police, medical personnel, victims and their families were dealing with the fallout of a mass shooting in Odessa, Texas, that killed at least seven people.
Umpire Mariana Alves issued a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct, ESPN reported.
“What did I do? Just tell me what I did, real quick,” an irritated Bryan badgered Alves.
“The gesture that you did,” she replied. “You did it to the line umpire and did it to me. You [held] your racket like it was a gun. I don’t think that’s appropriate.”
The penalty is the highest fine to date for the men’s event at this year’s U.S. Open, according to ESPN.
U.S. Tennis Association spokesperson Brendan McIntyre said Bryan’s gesture “warranted that amount.”
Bryan issued a statement Sunday in which he apologized for the gesture.
“I apologize for any offense I may have caused,” he said, according to The New York Times. “We won the point and the gesture was meant to be playful. 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.”
Bryan — a six-time U.S. Open men’s doubles champion — and his twin brother, Bob, won the match involving the contested call.
Bob Bryan on Sunday tweeted a message of “thoughts and prayers” to the people affected by the Texas shooting.
REAL LIFE. REAL NEWS. REAL VOICES.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.