Thanks to our reader, Tennis Fan, I was referred to the hindrance rule of the WTA’s Rulebook and it suggests that chair umpire Eva Asderaki possibly made a wrong decision in the US Open final when she handed the point to Samantha Stosur because Serena Williams shouted “Come on” before the point was completely finished. The reasoning in favor of Williams is that she did not shout in order to distract her opponent, her reaction was unintentional.
I believe the outcome of the match would be the same anyway, and Williams was attacked by tennis community and fined $2000 because of her aggressive reaction to the disputable call (I still believe everyone should control their temper, even when faced with injustice), but let’s see what the official rule for such a situations says:
If a player is hindered in playing the point by a deliberate act of the opponent(s), the player shall win the point. However, the point shall be replayed if a player is hindered in playing the point by either an unintentional act of the opponent(s), or something outside the player’s own control (not including a permanent fixture).
Let’s put Serena’s behavior aside, what to you think of Eva Asderaki’s call? Was her decision right? Did Serena shout intentionally?
Serena Williams sort of apologized for her verbal attacks, on Twitter:
My emotions did get the best of me this past weekend when I disagreed with the umpire. It has been a long road to get back to the US Open this year, and I am thankful to have had such a great two weeks in New York.
By the way, have you noticed that the WTA Tour made no mention of the incident on their official website? They didn’t even mention the fine and in their article about the final there is nothing about Williams’ outburst. Here’s how they described the controversial start of the second set:
The intensity of the match picked up early in the second set, when Williams was docked a point – thus giving Stosur a 6-2 1-0 lead – after letting out a victory cry on a big forehand up the line that had not yet become a winner, as Stosur still got her racquet on it. But those circumstances only seemed to energize Williams…
(photo courtesy of FIJI Water)