Venus Williams was fined $3,000 by French Open organizers after she missed a mandatory post-match press conference Monday.
The absence by Venus Williams came after she was defeated by fellow American Sloane Stephens. Venus Williams was seeded 15th at Roland Garros and lost 7-6 (7/5) 6-1 to Stephens on Monday.
Instead of interviewing or interacting with the press, Venus Williams issued a short statement regarding her loss.
“When you arrive at any tournament you hope you will have a chance to work your way into the event, but I didn’t have that opportunity. She just played better than me today.”
A full hour after the loss, reporters were informed that Venus Williams had made the choice to skip press conference. She had been informed by officials that she could face a fine if she did not attend.
Venus Williams has now failed to reach the quarter-finals in Paris since 2006, and the loss was her second opening defeat in three years at Roland Garros.
Williams, the seven-time major champion, was the oldest woman at age 34 in this year’s women’s draw for the Paris tournament. It also was the fifth time in the last 13 Grand Slam tournaments she’s entered that Williams was eliminated in the first round.
This is the second fine of this nature that Venus Williams has been penalized with in her career. In 2010, Venus and sister Serena were each fined $4,000 when they did not attend a press conference following a loss in a doubles match at Wimbledon.
Records provided by the International Tennis Federation to USA Today show that fines for players who have chosen to miss out on press conferences have been as high as $10,000.
However, most players face a fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 for the offense of skipping a press conference. Over the past 25 years, 17 fines have been issued to players at the Grand Slams.
Roland Garros, the tournament Venus Williams was participating in, has a reputation for fining players the most of any of the four major tournaments. In the year 2000, Andre Agassi received a $10,000 fine at Roland Garros, and Marat Safin was given the same fine the following year.
Other tennis players who have been fined by Grand Slams for not showing up for media obligations: Victoria Azarenka (French Open 2010; $4,000) Mats Wilander, Goran Ivanisevic, and Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
So far this season, Venus Williams is 20-6 and has one tournament win. She completed the clay season with an overall record of 2-3 and received a €24,000 for the loss.
Venus Williams is not set to appear in another tournament until Wimbledon, which kicks off on June 29.