Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Friday, September 11, 2009

Serena Williams: Williams blows up, loses to Clijsters amidst outburst

Serena Williams went down with like a ball of fire during her semi final match against Kim Clijsters. Serena lost the match by default 6-4, 7-5. She not only lost the match she lost her cool. Her emotions robbed her of an opportunity to win her 12th Grand Slam.

When serving 15-30, second serve in the second set Williams was called for a foot fault. Based on the film it was clear Williams’ did not commit a foot fault. Williams took exception to the call began to berate the female lines person. Williams reportedly stated, “I swear to God I’m (expletitve) going to take this (expletive) ball and shove it down your (expletive) throat, you hear that? I swear to God.”

As she was about to serve Williams began a second verbal onslaught on the lines person. The chair umpire summoned the linesperson along with tournament director Brian Early. A discussion ensued which, according to the lines person, alleged Williams stated she was “going to kill” her.

Williams suggested she never said that. She declared to Early and the chair umpire, “I didn’t say ‘I was gonna kill you.’ Are you serious? Are you serious? I didn’t say that!”

After the discussion Williams was defaulted from the match by being assessed a point penalty which essentially handed Cljisters the match without her having to swing her racquet. Even though Clijsters was playing well, this match ultimately will not be remembered for the shots she made-it will be remembered for Williams’ outburst.

In the press conference Williams was asked if she threatened to kill the lines person. She stated, “I’ve never been in a fight my whole life, so I don’t know why she should have felt threatened.”

This situation was disappointing to witness on several fronts. First of all, Williams didn’t commit a foot fault. Foot faults shouldn’t be called if it’s not clear. This was the semi finals of the US Open. To make such a call at crucial time of the match was idiotic.

Secondly, I’m not condoning Williams’ outburst but on some level I can understand it. She’s been involved in controversial events that didn’t go her way when they should have. Williams accused Justine Henin of being a poor sport at the 2003 French Open. At the 2004 US Open against Jennifer Capriati Williams received several bad line calls in quarter final match she lost.

At this year’s French Opens Williams accused Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of cheating. In all the latter situations Williams’ assertions were correct. She’s been treated unfairly at times. In essence her outburst could be viewed as culmination of events built up over time.

But let’s not forget Clijsters. She was playing extremely well. It’s quite possible she was going win the match. But sadly we’ll never know if Williams was going to demonstrate that fighting spirit and mount a comeback.

Did Williams use a poor choice of words? Yes. Did Williams act unprofessionally? One some level yes. But it almost must be acknowledged that the linesperson made a bad call that ignited Williams’ outburst. It must be acknowledged that it was a poor decision to default the defending champion at the semi finals of the US Open. It must also be acknowledged Williams has had a history of bad calls and poor sportsmanship against her in big events.

This unfortunate situation will go down in US Open history and will ultimately reflect negatively on Williams’ legacy. Some of the criticism of Williams is warranted but not all. No matter how you view this situation view it in its entirety. Don’t focus on the most salient events. By focusing only on the outburst your perception will obviously be skewed.

It’s just too bad this match won’t be remembered for how it was played: it will be remembered for what was said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

First I would like to everyone seems so outraged with Serena's behavior at the US Open. Get over it athlete curse. Oh! Yes even the world's most richest and famous athlete Tiger Woods.Where is the outrage at the US Open and the USTA where blalant racism is practiced and the media turns a blind eye. What is even more disturbing is the lack of coverage by the so-called black media. Here you have a organization the has and continues to be embattled in lawsuit against them for racism against blacks. To name a few Zina Garrison former #4 professional tennis players, fed cup captain and omplymic captain fired,Rodney Harmon men tennis head fired, Leslie Allen fired and numerous other lawsuits pending. Where was this covered in the media during the US Open? This is tennis news. Where are the black coaches,black male players,black tournament owners,black tennis directors and etc.This racism must be highligthed and stopped immediatedly.There is a huge investagative story here for someone.