WIMBLEDON, England — The first audible obscenity in tennis history surely went unpenalized.

In a sport where perfection is unattainable — eventually you will miss — the game’s earliest practitioners must have felt compelled to utter an oath or two, perhaps on Day 1. Fast forward more than a century to Wimbledon 2015, and tennis’s foul-mouthed tradition is firmly entrenched, with code violations and fines meted out to the offenders like Serena Williams, who was penalized in her first-round victory on Monday, and like Heather Watson, the British player who was given a point penalty in her victory on Tuesday.

“I say things I shouldn’t say,” Watson said. “I apologize to anybody that’s offended. I need to control it, and I just can’t.”

Boris Becker, the three-time Wimbledon champion now coaching Novak Djokovic, recently claimed that on-court microphones have removed the spice from the rivalries in the game, forcing players to suppress their characters and muffle their frustrations for fear.


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