Brawling U.S. Open fans receive 2-year ban
The tennis hooligans who got into a brawl at the U.S. Open were banned from the tournament until September 2012, officials said Friday.
The fight in the upper deck of Arthur Ashe Stadium occurred during Thursday’s match between No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia and unseeded Philipp Petzschner of Germany.
The fisticuffs began just after 9 p.m. ET, when a female fan complained to a man in his early 20s about his repeated swearing during the first set.
“I don’t give a (expletive) what anyone wants,” the young man told the woman. “I’ve got a lot of money on the game … Sit the (expletive) down.”
At one point, the woman slapped the young man across the face.
Moments later, the woman’s father approached the rowdy younger man and tried to strangle him, according to an amateur video shot by another fan and posted on YouTube.
The younger man then pushed the woman’s father off him, causing him to tumble down three rows of seats.
The woman ran at the younger man, who shoved her before other fans jumped into the fray. Security guards eventually arrived to break up the fracas.
Djokovic and Petzschner were distracted by the altercation, looking up toward the seats. Play was briefly halted while the brawlers were escorted out of the stadium in handcuffs. They were not charged with any crime.
United States Tennis Association policy states that a fan who gets tossed from a match receives an automatic two-year ban. If they defy the trespass notice, they could be arrested.
After winning in straight sets, Djokovic quipped that during the fight, “I hoped there was no Serbian up there.”
He added, “I hope the fans enjoyed the match and not the fight.”
Djokovic went on to beat Petzschner 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). He will next take on James Blake in the third round.