American player Christian Harrison, who had been the story of the Delray Beach tournament so far, was in the news for all the wrong reasons over the weekend. The 26-year-old refused to do an on-court mandatory interview because he was asked to wear a mask.
Subsequently, Harrison was fined $3000 for skipping the interview.
Harrison, the younger brother of former top-50 player Ryan, has had a horror run with injuries. Neither bone infection nor eight surgeries though have stopped him for playing the sport. In his latest comeback bid, the World No 789 qualified for the season-opener in Delray Beach.
He even defeated top seed Cristian Garin 7-6(3), 6-2 on Saturday for his first victory against a top 50 player.
Later, Harrison refused a mandatory on-court television interview because it would require him to wear a mask.
“Christian Harrison was fined $3,000 for declining the mandatory post-match on-court interview following his second round win over Cristian Garin on Saturday,” the ATP said in a statement.
Harrison reached his maiden ATP semi-final by defeating Gianluca Mager 7-6(2) 6-4 at the event on Monday.
He wore a mask for the subsequent on-court interview and later said in an Instagram post he was not aware it was mandatory to wear one for TV interviews.
“It’s not healthy to wear a mask in the hot sun for more time than absolutely necessary after a tough match. I was given the impression it was optional. I wasn’t told I would be fined,” he said in a social media post.
“I was required to do a sit-down interview after the match with the same person which I agreed to and I did not have to wear a mask for it. It’s not about safety to wear mask for TV to talk to a microphone with no one around.
“I don’t support masking people for the sake of it for TV.”
He added that the ATP supervisor had told him that the fine would be rescinded if he appealed and promised to follow tournament rules even if he did not agree with them.