Punches anyone? Brawl breaks out at US Open

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  September 3, 2010 08:20 AM

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Who said tennis is boring?

A fight among tennis fans broke out in the upper deck of Arthur Ashe Stadium during a second-round US Open match between third-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Philipp Petzschner of Germany last night in New York.

According to the New York Post, the fisticuffs (seen at the 1:08 mark in the video above), that began just after 9 p.m. started when a female fan complained to a man in his early 20s about his repeated use of the f-word during the first set, a source told the Post.

“He said, ’You’ve got a problem? Go ahead and hit me,’ and she slapped him across the face” the source said.

"C'mon, smack me again," he taunted after the blow according to the New York Daily News. "Go ahead ... I don't give a f--- what anybody wants. I got a lot of money on this game, and I f------ paid for my ticket."

The Daily News reported that Arnold Florendo, 37, of Great Neck, L.I., who caught the fracas with a video camera, said the verbal sparring seemed to slow down before turning physical again.

"You f------ made me miss half the game, because you're being a f------ idiot!" the young man snapped - prompting the woman's father, a white-haired man with glasses, to grab the younger man by his throat and the pair grappled with each other before the older man fell over two rows of seats in the upper deck.

Djokovic — who won the set en route to a 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory — turned from the court and appeared to watch intently as the fight unfolded.

“It was far away from the court; we couldn’t really see what was going on,” Djokovic said. “I hope it was no Serbian up there.”

Up there, in fact, was a male fan – whether he was Serbian the authorities did not say — who was cursing and acting obnoxiously, according to the police in a New York Times report.

All three people were handcuffed and brought to the 110th Precinct in Queens, said Tim Curry, a spokesman for the United States Tennis Association. The unidentified threesome have been banned from attending the US Open until 2013.

"If they come on the grounds any time before then, they can be arrested for trespassing," said Chris Widmaier, spokesman for the US Tennis Association told the Daily News. The bans cover the rest of this year and all of next year's tournament.

Update, 4:43 p.m.:

Some new video of the incident has surfaced on YouTube. WARNING: This close-up footage contains harsh language:

Material from the New York Times tennis blog was used in this report.

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