Serena Williams has had more than awe-inspiring comeback and she reached the US Open final with all straight-set victories, many of which were very decisive, and she entered the championships match as a strong favorite against Samantha Stosur, but all that admiration Williams’ tennis deserves quickly vanished when she showed utter lack of control and shameful impoliteness in the beginning of the second set.
Stosur had spent a lot of time on the court en route to the final and had never won a Grand Slam title and was therefore an underdog, however, the Australian had a diverse game accompanied by good use of Williams’ missed first serves and she won the first set 6-2. In the first game of the second set, down 40-30 on her serve, Williams seemed to have saved the break point with a forehand winner, but her loud “Come on” before the ball reached Stosur was perceived as a shout in the middle of a point, and chair umpire Eva Asderaki handed Stosur the point and hence the game. It triggered such an anger in Williams, that she started yelling disgraceful things at the Greek umpire. Here’s the video:
It’s indisputable that Serena is very competitive, and she desperately wanted to win, not only because it was a Grand Slam final, not only because it would be a perfect crown to her comeback from almost a year off, but also because she was an American playing for a major title on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in New York.
After a decisive first set loss and a potential drop of serve in the beginning of the second set, Williams was especially vulnerable, and the umpire ignited her apparently bad temper with such a decision. In my opinion, Williams embarrassed herself and overshadowed everything she had done at the tournament. Such a tennis star and role model shouldn’t give herself the right to behave in such a way, even if faced with injustice.
Here’s Williams’ post-match press conference. She supposedly doesn’t even remember what she said to Asderaki.
For the incident Serena has been fined $2000 (she earned $900,000 for her runner-up finish and additional $500,000 for her top position in the US Open Series standings). She does not face further disciplinary action, even though two years ago she had a similar incident with a line judge over a foot fault – in the US Open semifinal against Kim Clijsters.
I’d like to end this article on a good note: fortunately, Stosur kept her cool and continued her game minimally affected by the loud spectators and angry Serena and finished the biggest match of her career with a 6-2 6-3 victory. Also, she was graceful during and after her win, including towards her opponent. (photo: Ralf Reinecke)