Romanian tennis player Victor Hanescu faces an investigation on Saturday after he spat at the crowd and stormed out of his match following an altercation with fans, four of whom were arrested.
Hanescu, the 31st seed, was playing Germany’s Daniel Brands on Friday on Court 18, the same 782-capacity court where John Isner and Nicolas Mahut finished Thursday the longest tennis match ever played.
A Wimbledon spokesman told AFP that Hanescu, 28, spat at a section of the crowd, swore at them, appeared to deliberately serve double faults then pulled out of the third round clash.
Meanwhile a police spokeswoman told AFP that four people were arrested at the court for disorderly conduct and were taken to a police station.
However, a Wimbledon spokesman said they did not believe the two incidents were directly related.
Andrew Jarrett, the championships referee, said the affair was being investigated.
Sources said the arrests may have taken place some moments before Hanescu spat towards the crowd.
Hanescu could now face a fine of up to $US10, 000 ($A11,547) – the maximum fine for a standard offence of unsportsmanlike conduct.
“Someone has said something to him in the fifth set,” the Wimbledon spokesman said.
“He’s taken against it. He moves in their direction and spits in their direction. He then goes back to carry on serving, then swears in their direction.
“At that stage the umpire gives him a code violation for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
“He serves a few more double faults – deliberately by the looks of it – and then walks over to retire from the match, with a hamstring injury.”
The spokesman said no handshake took place between Hanescu and the umpire Kim Craven. He said the Romanian left the grounds shortly afterwards.
Hanescu won the first two sets 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-3), before Brands took the next two 7-6 (9/7) and 6-3. The Romanian was 2-0 down and serving when the incident flared.
World No. 38 Hanescu was 3-0 down in the final set when he withdrew, officially due to a leg injury, according to the match records.
Hanescu was struggling with injury during the latter part of the match and received on-court treatment.
A police spokeswoman told AFP that four youths were taken into custody.
“At approximately 8:50 pm (1950 GMT), police were called to the tennis championships,” she said.
“Four men were arrested under section five of the public order act. They were taken to a south London police station and inquiries continue.”
Section five of the public order act deals with disorderly conduct.
Championships referee Jarrett said the affair was being looked into.
“Victor Hanescu retired from the match due to a leg injury,” he said in a statement.
“The referee’s office is reviewing further information from this match and no further announcements will be made this evening.”