Australian Open: Venus Williams Handed Record Fine After Konta Defeat

U.S. player Venus Williams in her first round match against the U.K.’s Johanna Konta during day two of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, January 19. Williams lost and skipped her post-match media requirements. Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Venus Williams was soundly dumped out of the Australian Open yesterday by Briton Johanna Konta. Then she was given another reason to scowl.

Venus, the sister of Serena, who remains in the hunt to defend the Grand Slam she won at Melbourne Park in 2015, skipped her obligatory media commitments following the Konta defeat.

The Australian Open organizers fined her $5,000, the largest sum ever demanded of a female tennis player who has refused to face the press. Marat Safin, the combustible Russian former world No. 1, was fined $10,000 at the 2001 French Open for the same offense. Safin repeated the trick four years later at the same tournament and was fined the same amount.

Williams can count herself a little fortunate, despite the record fine, because the maximum penalty for shirking press duties is $20,000. She was fined $3,000 last year for avoiding the press after losing to fellow American Sloane Stephens during the 2015 French Open.

But Williams earned $34,500, dwarfing the $5,000 fine, simply by making an appearance in the first round against Konta, the world No. 47.

Konta, the British No. 1, faces Sasai Zheng of China on Thursday in the second round.