French tennis player Hugo Gaston was slapped with a staggering $155,000 fine for an unsportsmanlike act in his clash against Borna Coric in the second round of the Madrid Open.
On serve and facing a break point for Coric to snatch the first set, Gaston pulled off an underarm serve but was sent to the left corner of the court by a thumping return from his rival.
Gaston lobbed the ball up and as he was walking back to the middle, he pulled a ball out of his pocket and dropped it onto the court before Coric could smash the ball.
The Frenchman had hoped his sneaky act would catch the umpire unaware and force the point to be replayed.
But instead of having another chance of holding serve, Gaston has instead been slapped with a total fine from the ATP Tour that is more than what he’s collected in prize money this year.
However, the 22-year-old’s appeal slashed the fine in half but he must meet certain requirements imposed by the ATP Tour, one of which is he cannot incur another unsportsmanlike conduct violation during a probationary period.
Gaston has already been slapped with four unsportsmanlike conduct violations this season.
His fine is also more than he has earned in prize money so far in 2023 having raked in approximately $120,000.
Gaston is ranked 108th in the world but will have a chance to boost that when he competes at the French Open having received a wildcard entry.
He made it as far as the third round at the 2022 edition of the tournament, one round shy of his best-ever finish which happened in 2020.