Serena hit with record fine for outburst

WORLD No1 Serena Williams has been hit with a record fine and a suspended three-year ban for her verbal tirade at a line judge during the US Open.<br /><br />The American has been ordered by the International Tennis Federation to pay &pound;53,000 and warned she will be barred from the Grand Slam for three years if she commits another major offence in the next 24 months. <br /><br />The fine is higher than any other imposed for a Grand Slam incident, although only constitutes a quarter of the &pound;212,000 prize money Williams earned for reaching the semi-finals. <br /><br />Eleven-time Grand Slam winner Williams launched a furious four-letter outburst at a line judge who called a foot fault against her in the last-four defeat to Kim Clijsters in September.<br /><br />The foot fault call came as she trailed 6-4, 6-5 and 15-30, handing Clijsters a match point. But so ferocious was Williams&rsquo; reaction that the umpire penalised her a point, thus awarding victory and a place in the final to the Belgian, the eventual winner. Williams, 28, initially showed little contrition but later issued an apology to the line judge, Clijsters and tennis officials.<br /><br />The previous largest fine of &pound;38,000, and a ban from two Grand Slams, was handed out to Jeff Tarango for his outburst at an umpire at Wimbledon in 1995.