I'm going to start this post by admitting that Serena Williams has been my favorite tennis pro for years and years. My only beef with her up until this point is when she starts her on-court interviews with "I'd like to thank my God Jehovah" which drives me crazy.
Anyhoo, I've been intently following the U.S. Open. Over the summer, I'd even planned on going down and catching some matches but I couldn't interest anyone to join me.
On Saturday, in a match against comeback mother of the year Kim Clijsters, she tore into a line judge when she made a foot fault call.
I swear to God, I'll fucking take this ball and shove it down your fucking throat.She said more but it's hard to hear much more on the tape. Here are my thoughts:
• The lines person is a human being and doing a job. No one has the right to abuse an employee like that. Maybe this job was the culmination of a life long career of being a judge and you stole the highpoint of her life.
• Serena had been called for foot faults earlier in the tournament although not in this match.
• Serena stole the moment of victory from Clijsters.
• Serena was unrepentant in the press conference after the match. Her new-found apology is damage control and I don't think she really means it. She knows she's in very deep trouble and doing what it takes to get out of the hole she's dug.
* This was her second violation of the match. The first, a warning, came after she demolished her racket in the first set in a temper tantrum. It is her responsibility to remember that any further conduct problems would result in a point.
• Her behavior was enough to default the match, not just the penalization of a point.
Serena Williams was fined $10,000 for the inexcusable behavior and another $500 for the racket abuse. That is the maximum at this stage. However, she could be banned from future tournaments and face larger fines as the WTA performs further investigations. It will be interesting to see if the take away her $350K prize money for reaching the semifinals and if they allow her to play in the women's doubles final with Venus today. It would be a shame to punish Venus for Serena's behavior.
It doesn't matter if the line call was in error or not. (There is some conjecture here.) The responsibility is on the professional to behave within the rules.
She is supposed to be a role model. She represents tennis and the U.S. to the world. She acted more like a member of Congress.