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July 26, 2021

Wimbledon: Hanescu storms off court after incident

LONDON – Romania’s Victor Hanescu stormed out of his Wimbledon third-round match after appearing to spit at the crowd in chaotic scenes on Friday.

Four fans were also arrested in an unrelated incident on Day Five of the tournament.

Hanescu, seeded 31, was trailing Daniel Brands 3-0 in the fifth and final set when he walked up to umpire Kim Craven and retired after being involved in an altercation with fans who were cheering loudly for his German opponent on Court 18.

“Someone said something in the crowd. We don’t know what it was. He then appears to go and spit in the direction of those people,” a Wimbledon spokesman quoted by Reuters told reporters about the incident.

“It was 0-2 at the time. He then has a service game in which it looks as though he deliberately served double faults. “He also swore in the direction of the same people. A combination of the spitting and swearing gives him a code violation for unsportsmanlike behavior and then he retires from the match,” added the spokesman. “He tried to shake the umpire by the hand, the umpire doesn’t accept the shake and then he shakes his opponent by the hand and that’s the end of the match.” Police also said four youths were arrested from the same court, site of the marathon 11-hour match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut earlier in the week, but added the two incidents were unrelated.

“At approximately 2050 (local time) police were called to the tennis championships, four men were arrested under section five of the public order act (for disorderly behavior) and they were taken to a south London police station and enquiries continue,” said police. Under grand slam rules, Hanescu faces a fine of up to $10,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct for the incident although Wimbledon officials said they would take their time to gather evidence since the Romanian is no longer in the tournament.

Hanescu, who is no longer involved in any events at the All England Club (AELTC), issued an apology.

“I would like to apologise to the fans, the AELTC and everyone else for my behaviour last night at the end of my match against Daniel Brands,” he said in a statement, quoted by uk.eurosport.yahoo.com.

“There were people in the crowd that had been insulting me since the beginning of the match. I was winning, had four match points in the third set but unfortunately I could not close it out.

“Then I got a leg injury at the end of the fourth set. I lost my control briefly in the fifth set after another insult from someone in the crowd. I should have never done that but I am human and I made a mistake.”

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