Safin facing fine

Saturday, 19 January, 2002,

Russia's Marat Safin is set to be heavily fined after he swore at an Australian Open umpire.

Safin lost his cool when he was given a code violation for hitting a line judge with a ball.

The former US Open champion clashed with umpire after the official handed him a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct during his 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over Mikhail Youzhny.

The ninth seed said he absent-mindedly hit a ball towards the ball boys at the back of the court and had no intention of hitting the judge.

He lost his temper when official Norm Chryst - with whom he has clashed before - doled out the warning.

"I'm so disappointed this kind of thing happens to me with same chair umpire... (previously) he took a game from me for nothing," he said at a news conference after the match.

"Today I had nothing against him, nothing against the linesman.

"I was trying to try to give ball to ballboy... he said 'why did you have to hit the linesman with ball, why did you have to do this?'

"Everybody can make a mistake. The chair umpire has to use his brains sometimes."

Safin became increasingly agitated when the umpire refused to remove his sunglasses during the confrontation.

"I'm talking to him nicely and he's talking to me... and he's talking to me like 'I'm the king of the court' and it's not right.

"I cannot talk to the person with sunglasses... he should talk to me with respect like I am talking to him."

The Russian said that he will do all he can to fight any fine he receives.

A spokesman for the International Tennis Federation said no action would be taken until video tapes of the incident had been reviewed.