What is the penalty for racquet abuse in tennis?

A racquet abuse, popularly known as racquet smash in tennis is the violation of a code of conduct by a tennis player. It infringes with a decorum that a player is expected to have and is a direct insult to the code of conduct.

The 2023 ATP rulebook states that “Players shall not violently, dangerously or with anger hit, kick or throw a  racquet or other equipment within the precincts of the tournament site.” It further adds that the definition of racquet or equipment abuse can be as follows: “Intentionally, dangerously and violently destroying or damaging racquets or equipment or intentionally and violently hitting the net, court, umpire’s chair or other fixture during a match out of anger or frustration.”

If a player is given a code violation for racquet or equipment abuse, then they are fined $500 each time they are given a code violation for the same. If a player has already committed two other violations, then a third violation in the form of a racquet abuse can result in the player losing an entire game as a penalty. A fourth violation which may or may not be a racquet or equipment violation might result in the player being defaulted from the tournament.

In women’s tennis, a player can be fined up to $2500 for a racquet abuse. A comprehensive document of the New York Times showed that between 1998 to 2018, 635 men and 99 women were given a code violation of racquet abuse in professional tennis. Racquet smashes are a result of a player’s frustration. Mental toughness is thus advocated strongly across all sports in order to set a positive example of a complete athlete.

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