World number one tennis champion Serena Williams could be stripped of her right to play in the Australian Open in 2010 for baring all for the sports magazine ESPN and for her extraordinary outburst in the US Open semi-finals.
Williams is under an International Tennis Federation investigation and faces a ban of up to two grand slams under the sport’s code of conduct,the ‘Daily Telegraph’ reports.
Enraged by a foot fault call,Williams threatened the baseline judge with: “You don’t know me. You better be right. I swear to God I’m going to take this ball and shove it down your throat.”
The lineswoman is believed to have alleged Williams threatened to kill her.
Williams was fined the maximum of 11,300 Australian dollars by on-site authorities after twice breaching code of conduct regulations in a clash with eventual champion Kim Clijsters,of Belgium.
The ITF have the power to strip Williams of more than 500,000 dollars in prize money and impose a ban.
The threat to Williams comes as she bared all and posed nude for the front cover of ESPN Magazine.
If Williams’s tirade is deemed a “major offence” under the sport’s regulations,she could be the first player since American Jeff Tarango to be banned from a grand slam in 15 years.
Tarango stormed off court at Wimbledon in 1995 after disagreeing with a line call during a third-round match with German Alexander Mronz. The American accused French umpire Bruno Rebeuh of being corrupt. Tarango was barred from two grand slams,including Wimbledon the next year.
It is understood Williams will be given the chance to defend herself in person,but some believe her initial lack of remorse could count against her. If suspended,she could appeal to an independent tribunal.