TENNIS: Serena Williams escaped with just a $2,000 (¤1,460) fine last night when tennis officials ruled that her verbal abuse of an umpire during Sunday's US Open final was not a major offence.
The American was investigated by the Grand Slam Committee after she unleashed a torrent of abuse against Eva Asderaki, the Greek umpire who oversaw her shock loss to Australia's Sam Stosur.
Williams, who was on the last day of a two-year probation over an ugly incident at the 2009 US Open, could have faced a more severe penalty, including a hefty fine and a possible suspension, but officials took a lenient line.
US Tennis Association (USTA) tournament director Brian Earley fined Williams $2,000 and the Grand Slam Committee Director agreed that was a sufficient penalty.
"This fine is consistent with similar offences at Grand Slam events," the USTA said in a statement.
"The Grand Slam Committee Director has determined that Ms Williams' conduct, while verbally abusive, does not rise to the level of a major offence under the Grand Slam Code of Conduct."