The ATP has issued World #53 Sam Querrey a suspended fine of $20,000 after his breach of COVID-19 regulatory measures at the St. Petersburg Open in October earlier this year. The fine will not be enforced provided Querrey is not in breach of any such measures again over a probationary six month period.
What did Querrey do?
Querrey had been prepared to play his opening match against Denis Shapovalov, but the day before main draw play started, Querrey, his wife, and his eight-month old son all tested positive for coronavirus. They were forced to self-isolate for 14 days by Russian authorities. The Querrey family were then informed that they would be visited by a doctor and if they were diagnosed with symptoms of COVID-19, they could be admitted to hospital. In the proceeding days, Querrey refused to open his hotel room door to doctors attempting to make an examination. He finally chose to flee Russia with his family on a private jet, ignoring ATP rules and the tournament’s sanitary protocol in the process.
What consequences has Querrey suffered?
The ATP have now concluded their investigation two months after the incident occurred.
The ATP issued a statement on December 30th: “The investigation reviewed the full circumstances surrounding the incident and concluded Mr. Querrey’s conduct to be contrary to the integrity of the game under the Player Major Offense provision in the ATP Code of Conduct. As a result, the ATP has issued a fine of $20,000.
“Taking into consideration Mr. Querrey’s many years of otherwise good standing with the ATP and other mitigating factors, the fine is suspended and will be lifted subject to Mr. Querrey committing no further breaches of health and safety protocols related to COVID-19 within a probationary six-month period.”
Does the punishment fit the crime?
According to the ATP Official Rulebook: “Violation of [the Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game act] shall subject the player to a fine of up to $100,000 and/or suspension from play in ATP Tour or ATP Challenger Tour tournaments for a period of up to three (3) years.”
Given this maximum possible penalty, and given the ATP stated at the time Querrey’s actions were “a serious breach in protocol” that could “jeopardise an event’s ability to operate and have repercussions on the rest of the Tour,” Sam Querrey will likely consider himself lucky to have only been issued a suspended fine of $20,000 with no suspension period to serve.
The ATP had initially stated they were “taking this matter extremely seriously”; the punishment arguably should also have been extremely serious. The integrity of the ATP may be in question following this verdict.
Main Photo from Getty.