Yes. Roger Federer was fined for violating the “Best Effort” rule…..back in 1998. The six-time Wimbledon champion was fined for breaking this rule. In the book, THE ROGER FEDERER STORY, QUEST FOR PERFECTION (www.rogerfedererbook.com) the author, Rene Stauffer documents when Federer was hit with a fine for violating the rule in the Kublis, Switzerland satellite event in 1998. The book excerpt is below.
After appearances in big events in Toulouse and Basel, Federer next competed on the much lower level Swiss satellite circuit—and felt as if he were in a bad movie. He just played before 9,000 spectators against Agassi, one of the all-time greats, in front of a major television audience with all the newspapers writing articles about him. Meanwhile, he just signed with the world’s largest sports agency, International Management Group, and was be–ing supplied, like Pete Sampras, by brands such as Nike and Wilson. But now he suddenly found himself in the eastern Swiss town of Küblis, in a gloomy tennis stadium in a valley wedged in the Bündner Mountains. There were no spectators, no line judges and no ball boys. He was not facing Andre Agassi, but Armando Brunold, the No. 11 player in Switzerland, whom Federer by now outclassed as the No. 6 player in the country.
The first-round match at the circuit’s first tournament proved to be a cul–ture shock for Federer and he reacted apathetically. His listlessness didn’t escape tournament referee Claudio Grether. “He simply stood unmotivated and non-chalantly on the court and double-faulted twice each game,” Grether explained. After Federer lost to Brunold 7-6, 6-2, Grether imposed a $100 fine against Federer because he violated the “best effort” rule stipulating that professional players must put forth their best efforts in every competition. “I could have disqualified him as well but then he would no longer have been able to compete in the rest of the circuit,” Grether said. Federer silently re–ceived the verdict. With prize money earnings of only $87, Federer left Küblis with a $13.00 deficit. It would be the only professional tournament he played where he actually lost money.
But Federer learned his lesson. “The fine was justified,” he admitted and he reacted in a way that showed his class. A week later, he won the second tournament on the circuit and went on to win the circuit’s overall points title. His effort paid off and despite his initial setback, he moved passed 100 opponents in the world rankings, landing at No. 303. Not bad for somebody who just turned 17