Terrible-tempered Jeff Tarango, after having stormed out of a match and hurled insults at an umpire, met with Wimbledon referee Alan Mills Sunday and vowed to “stay here until justice is done.”
Mills ordered Tarango to appear before him at Wimbledon on the rest day. When he left with his wife and coach after 2 hours, 15 minutes, the disgraced Tarango said: “I’m not allowed to say anything about it.”
Tarango, whose French wife, Benedicte, slapped umpire Bruno Rebeuh’s face on court Saturday, said the umpire was the “most corrupt in the game” and alleged he had deliberately been biased toward certain players to gain their friendship.
Tarango is determined to see his claims get a fair hearing. He will not return home to California until he is satisfied, he said.
Tarango, the first American to be defaulted at Wimbledon in the Open era, made his allegations at a news conference after admitting he had feuded with Rebeuh since October 1993.
At the news conference, Tarango said Rebeuh favored certain players, singling out Olympic champion Marc Rosset of Switzerland.
Rosset rejected Tarango’s claims and said he wanted the ATP to take action against him.
“I consider this to be an insult,” Rosset was quoted as saying. “Those who know me know that I would never pay a referee to win a match. Making such remarks put a referee, a player and above all the game into disrepute.
“This isn’t the first time he has made such allegations. Last January in Melbourne (Australia), I went to talk to him. He told me at that time that his remarks had been misinterpreted and we left it at that.
“This time it is too much. I will ask the ATP to take sanctions against him, a fine, a suspension…I am ready, if necessary, to circulate a petition among the other players.”
Tarango specifically distanced himself from any suggestions that Rosset had paid the umpire or encouraged him in any way to help him. Tarango suggested that Rebeuh was trying to ingratiate himself with the players by “giving them matches.”
Rebeuh has declined to comment, but Wimbledon officials have said it would be inappropriate for him to do so while still officiating at the tournament.
In Saturday’s third-round match, Tarango disputed a line call on a serve while trailing Germany’s Alexander Mronz. When play resumed and he lost the point, the crowd jeered him and he shouted back, “Shut up.”
Rebeuh called Tarango for what he felt was an audible obscenity and Tarango became incensed.
After calling for a supervisor, Tarango told Rebeuh: “You are the most corrupt official in the game.”
He then bounced two tennis balls into the air, picked up his bag and walked off the court, leaving Mronz the winner by default.
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