The three fans involved in a shouting match and scuffle in the stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium last week will not be allowed to return to the Flushing home of the U.S. Open tennis championship until October 2012, a USTA spokesman said.
USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier said Tracy Falco, 49, of Sayville, her father, Lawrence Burnett, 75, of Pennsylvania, and Joe Pedevill, 27, ofManhattan, were suspended in response to the altercation Thursday. It is tantamount, Widmaier said, to a three-year ban from attending the U.S. Open, which takes place in August and September.
"The safety of our fans is our highest priority. We take security very seriously," Widmaier said. "It was an unfortunate incident and an unusual incident for the U.S. Open."
Attempts to reach the three suspended spectators were not successful. Widmaier acknowledged that it would be difficult to identify the three in a large crowd of fans at the Open, which attracted more than 720,000 spectators in 2009.
The ban is intended as "a deterrent," Widmaier said, adding that the three fans will be added to a list of spectators who have been served "trespass notices."
A New York Police Department spokesman said none of three spectators was charged.
"The USTA issued them trespass warnings. That's it, it's over," the spokesman said.
Widmaier said it is "standard operating procedure" to issue two-year trespass notices to spectators who are found acting disorderly, scalping tickets or selling bootleg U.S. Open products such as T-shirts.