You have to be very careful about saying risky things around certain people. That’s the lesson Roger Federer learned on Tuesday when he received a code violation for swearing on court during his Australian Open match.
Federer was fined $3,000 for a rare conduct violation due to an incident during his quarterfinal match against American Tennys Sandgren where he was overheard swearing on court. After a lost point in the third set of the grueling five-setter, Federer mumbled an audible curse word in earshot of a line judge.
The Swiss world No. 3 tried to avoid being caught for his rare slip by swearing in a mix of the eight languages in his repertoire. Federer speaks Swiss German, German, French, and English fluently, as well as some Swedish, Italian, Spanish, and Afrikaans. But a multilingual line judge was able to decipher his obscene comment from the back of the court.
After Serbian umpire Marijana Veljovic handed out the violation, Federer was in disbelief that anyone could have understood the obscenities and questioned Veljovic about who heard him swear. Federer assumed that no one would be able to decipher his obscenity muttered in a variety of languages. However, the bilingual lineswoman who dished out the violation lives in Switzerland and was able to understand his words perfectly well.
While outbursts on court are not entirely uncommon in professional tennis, especially on a stage as big as that of the Australian Open quarterfinals, Federer is known as one of the most level-headed, reasonable, and calm players on the tour. It’s incredibly rare to see an ounce of negative emotion from him during matchplay, making this violation that much more shocking for Fed fans.
In a post-match press conference, Federer revealed that he had actually sworn “in a mix of languages,” explaining why he was surprised to have received a violation. However, he failed to report the actual expletive he said. Fed also said he found the violation “a bit tough,” noting that he is “not known to throw around words… and it’s not like the whole stadium heard it either,” but he “would accept it.”
Federer then joked that in his next matches he would have to “check the lines people” to make sure they can’t “speak mixed.”
While the $3,000 fine won’t make much of a dent in the Rolex Ambassador and multi-Grand Slam-winning star’s bank account, the rare code violation may have shaken up the world No.3 going into his semifinal match, which he lost to in three quick sets to world No.2 Novak Djokovic.