LONDON (Reuters) - Former Australian Open junior champion Brydan Klein has been banned for six months for racially abusing an opponent, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) said on Thursday.
The 19-year-old Australian was initially fined $13,920 and suspended by Tennis Australia after a volley of abuse aimed at South African Raven Klaasan when they played in the qualifying rounds of an ATP event in Eastbourne, England last month.
After further investigation, the ATP said that the 186th-ranked Klein, who issued a public apology after the incident, had been given a six-month ban from all ATP World Tour and Challenger Tour events and also fined a further $10,000.
An ATP statement said: “Under the ATP Code of Conduct, Klein was found to have committed the Player Major Offense, Aggravated Behavior.
“The incident was deemed to have been ‘behaviour that is flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a tournament or is singularly egregious.’”
Media reports in Australia said Klein, who won the junior grand slam event at Melbourne Park in 2007, had called Klaasan a “kaffir” and spat at his coach and another player.
Tennis Australia immediately suspended Klein from the Australian Institute of Sport and cut off his funding grants and reserved the right to impose their own penalties.
“The determination said the use of the slur was “repugnant, and is upsetting and entirely unacceptable for this to be used in a sporting event such as the ATP World Tour where equality amongst sportsmen is a predicate to fair competition and, indeed, paramount to the success of the Tour and of the Sport,” the statement continued.
The ATP said Klein had the option of appealing the decision, and if he enrolled onto a racial sensitivity training course within the first four months of the suspension, the remaining two months’ suspension and additional fine would be waived.
“The remaining two months of the suspension will be reclassified as a final probationary period, allowing him to return to the Tour,” the statement said.
The penalty is effective from July 20 unless he appeals the decision.
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