Serena outburst: was there any excuse?

September 13, 2009

TENNIS-OPEN/OK, don’t shoot me down for saying this, but can anyone see Saturday’s double-fault storm at the US Open from Serena Williams’s point of view?

With a place in the U.S. Open final at stake — and with many believing the winner of the Williams-Kim Clijsters showdown would go on to win the title — how frustrating is it to get foot-faulted on a second serve at 4-6 5-6 15-30 down?

Can anyone remember when someone was foot-faulted at such an important moment of a key match like a grand slam semi-final before?

Should a line-judge go by the book if she sees a foot-fault or would it have been better to have just let it go at such a crucial point in the contest?

With the adrenaline already pumping through her, and the thought of going match point down, Serena lost control.

Astounded by the verdict, she flipped out and marched to the official, shouting, waving her racket and shaking a ball in her clenched fist.

“I swear to God I’m… going to take this… ball and shove it down your… throat, you hear that? I swear to God. You better be glad — you better be glad that I’m not, I swear.” Williams told the line-judge in her expletive-laden rant.

There is no excuse for the language or the tone she used against a woman who was simply doing her job, but can people at least understand the state of mind Serena found herself in?

And will this episode forever be a stain on her record, no matter how many grand slam titles she wins?

PHOTO: Serena Williams yells at a line judge after being called for a foot foul during her semi-final match against Kim Clijsters of Belgium at the U.S. Open in New York, September 12, 2009. REUTERS/Shaun Best


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It has not only stained Serena, but Nike.

Posted by Elle | Report as abusive

I’ve watched the video but I could hear what she said. If the transcripts are right I don’t think there was any excuse, no. That was so far over the top it was incredible.
Yet I don’t think it will overshadow her great achievements in the sport. We still love John McEnroe after all!

Posted by james ess | Report as abusive

Finally an article that is as per my view. The outburst, was it ok, no. But can you see perhaps why, yes absolutely. Serena has had it a bit rough with the foot faults during this tornament, that has kind of built up inside her perhaps and boiled over when an incorrect call was given at the most critical part of the match. We have all had outburts, and not at the best of moments. Unfortunately for Serena its on the court in the limelight. I also defend her press conference, this was so soon after the match she really did have to be careful with her responses. When she sees the tapes herself, then maybe she may see another view. She is a great player, passionate and think she is a great sports that goes by the rules. Yesterday though, it was a shame that this intensity turned abusive, no doubt from being in the zone in one of the most intense places for international sport – a grand slam. I look forward to seeing Serena play again soon and hopefully for her, a self realisation that it is possible that she can lose her cool and work on ways to not let it happen if put in the same situation.

Posted by MD | Report as abusive

It was a bad call, I did not see a foot fault. I don’t agree with Serena’s behavior, but I think that lady ought to lose her job for that!

Posted by Marie | Report as abusive

I just don’t see how death threats are EVER acceptable, no matter how you’ve been provoked! I’m sorry, but I don’t think yelling at the linesperson is the point because everyone does that, but i’ve never seen anyone brandish a racquet in a linesperson’s face while threatening they will kill them. That is unacceptable, no matter what the call was.

Posted by Anne | Report as abusive

[…] According to Reuters Serena said, “I swear to God I’m… going to take this… ball and shove it down your… throat, you hear that? I swear to God. You better be glad — you better be glad that I’m not, I swear.” […]

Posted by Millennials Say What They Feel « The Perennial Millennial | Report as abusive

Since the call was unjustified, I can easily see her point of view. She felt as if the judge was trying to steal the match from her. Under those circumstances, should she have simply stood by while the theft was executed, or protested? She could have chosen better words, but her anger was completely justified.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Serena escalated the problem intentionally to get booted.

Watch it again. She gets called for the foot fault. She stands there. She goes after the official. Then she goes back to the service line and thinks for a bit.

Seeing a way to get booted from the match and not have to face losing fair and square, she goes after the official AGAIN.

I seriously doubt that the official ever used the word “kill”.

The press conference was an insult to us all. And today’s press release was worse.

We don’t need players like this in any sport. Take up professional wrestling Serena.

Posted by WR Simuels | Report as abusive

Since when have Tennis judges become so thin skinned. Come on this is one of the top tennis players that people come to see play, that they payed a lot of money to see play, that advertisers pay more for their ads. So what if she gets angry, no judges were harmed in the making of this video. Through her out – give me a break. Fire the judge!

Posted by Richard Gordon | Report as abusive

It doesn’t matter how many titles that Serena already has or will have, she is finished with me. I will never watch another Serena game. If US Open allows her to play double, I will never watch another US Open game in my life time. I would save the time to go directly to a circus show.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

was the call by the line judge correct?! if not, Serena had every reason to lose it. if the call was correct pay the fine and move on.

Posted by kent | Report as abusive

Another mean American kid. You guys are spoilt brats!

Posted by Simon | Report as abusive

It is the most ridiculous thing to say because it is such an important match and she is the only prominent American female player, the lineman looked the other way. The line-judge is just doing her job. She should not have to care who is playing or what kind of match it is. She is there to uphold the rules of tennis.
$10,000 fine to Serena is less than packet change. It just goes to show money can fix anything.

Posted by PaulC | Report as abusive

When someone can show me a proper angle video, i can then decide if the call was right. yet serena did not seem to challenge the call, she seemed self-righteous and thought that nobody should make a call on her. the spoiled brats should not be allowed to rant and rave, whether the first point of the match or the last. and let us remember that the judges are human too. serena got what she deserved.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

When Serena threatened that line judge with cramming a ball down her effing throat, she was trying to intimidate the official and all others in the future from making calls against her. This type of mafia tactic simply cannot be tolerated. Serena should be suspended from the women’s tour indefinitely. Of course that will not happen because 1) the WTA has no guts to stand up to a star, and 2) there is too much money at stake. Sad day for tennis. Can you imagine Chris Everett or Althea Gibson or any other women player, or Federer or Nadal or anyone on the men’s side doing anything even remotely like this? John Mcenroe at his worst was never that out of line….

Posted by Sloane | Report as abusive

Put yourself in Serena’s position, the US Open on the line, down 15-30, and you hear that penalty behind you in the clutch moment of the match!? The line judge should not be allowed to return and they should play a rematch, for those games, if anything. You practice long hours, dream of winning this tournament and then some dinky hard of seeing line judge interferes with your Title? If you’re not going to boiling mad at that, then you really don’t care about winning the US Open much. Besides, that’s a good point; John McEnroe is still praised for standing up against unjust rulings, don’t discriminate against Serena. She was jipped.

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

Outburst happen and can be excused. Swearing at and threatening any judge the way she has is unacceptable. She should be banned from any tournament for a year. Can’t even believe she’s allowed to play at the double’s finale tomorrow.

Posted by Fred P | Report as abusive

Excuse me, but you can’t write in the passive voice that “Serena Williams was foot-faulted”!! No one did a footfault *to* her. She *herself* footfaulted. You should say “how frustrating is it to footfault on a second serve…”. Yes, it is frustrating, but there is no excuse. A pro should not be making a footfault. It is not at all difficult to avoid doing so.

And for those who say it was not a footfault? Come on. The line judge was there, had a good view, it is her entire job to do nothing but watch that line. It is not difficult. Replays from a bad angle show that it sure did look like a footfault, although its hard to say. You people cannot judge. There is no reason whatsoever to suspect the line judge at this point. “Since the call was unjustified”, my foot.

And those who say “even John McEnroe” said it was a bad call. Mcenroe proved last year at the open in the Sagin footfault incident that he simply, at that time at least, did not even know what a footfault was. He called it “the worst call of all time” and people had to bring out the rulebooks to explain it to him. Apparently he has not yet learned his lesson in this matter!

Posted by Benson Bear | Report as abusive

I agree completely with this post. Serena is shooting for the record books. Despite everyone saying Kim had the match locked up, they were on serve in the second set. A few years ago, Serena was down 1-5 in the third to Kim in the Australian Open, another Grand Slam tournament, and won the next six games to win. The notion that she deliberately lost the match is absurd. What Serena did was inexcusable. What the line judge did was outrageous. Serena should be suspended, probably for the rest of the season. The line judge should never be allowed to officiate at a tennis match again. Whether it’s a grand slam semi-final or local tournament first round match, it is important to the participants, and people as incompetent (and let’s hope she’s just incompetent and not dishonest or bigoted) as this line judge should not be allowed to ruin the experience for anyone else.

Posted by Erik Walker | Report as abusive

Rubbish! The linesperson’s job is to call faults if they see them. Match point is no different from the first point. Are mistakes made? Sure. But they have the best view; we can’t *guess* based on off angle video replays.

Rules are rules. The judge was SUMMONED to the chair. She was required to convey what had happened. Serena CHOSE to say what she did and act the way she did. “Passion” and “heat of the moment” are no excuse. No excuse! Anyone who says champions act out all the time know that those same champions have to deal with the consequences of their actions. In this case, the consequence was the loss of the match. Deal with it, Serena, you brought it on yourself! The linesperson did EXACTLY what she was supposed to do.

Posted by Marty | Report as abusive

I truly cannot believe I am reading posts about how the linesperson should be fired????? Are some of you totally insane??? I swear, you’re just as bad as Serena. First of all, forget about the call… mistakes with calls are made ALL THE TIME. Serena, supposedly a role model, looked like a trashy ghetto brat that day; screaming at a woman who was sitting down, waving a racket in her face, and saying she’s going to shove a ball down her throat.. and she charged at her AGAIN after that. Seriously, whoever is justifying this has completely lost it, or is just so in love with Serena that she can do no wrong. I agree with a previous comment… if she is not suspended from next year’s US Open, I will not be watching. She is a great talent, but also an absolute disgrace. I also think that more current players need to stand up to this. OH, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, she acted like a brat (not to mention idiot) at the press conference), and has yet to apologize, particularly to the woman she threatened. If someone did that to someone in a bar, they could be arrested. This is a joke, and these posts are insane.

Posted by Matt C | Report as abusive

Whoever can seriously ask us to “see it from Serena’s point of view” must have lost the plot. Serena Williams – champion and icon or not – is a professional sportswoman and a (very big) girl now. Big enough to understand inappropriate, brattish behaviour and more than adult enough to control her foul mouth and vile temper. Too many high-profile sports celebs believe they have the right to throw themselves around because things haven’t gone their way. Williams ought to be kicked off the circuit for at least a year and made to apologise publicly for her disgusting behaviour. It doesn’t endear her, or the sport, to anyone. If she behaved like this in a restaurant, she would have been thrown out, famous or not. And if she’d behaved like this while a child at home, she (hopefully) would have been spanked and sent to bed without dinner. Quite rightly.

Posted by Gwen Podbrey | Report as abusive

It’s easily solved. Make her play all her matches without an unpire or line judges. When every upcoming hopeful calls every shot of hers out, even when in, and she can’t do anything about it, she might realise that abusing the officials is a pathetic extension of the spoilt-brat attitude of too many modern sportsmen and women.
Fine, her ban her and try – though good luck with it – to humble her.

Posted by des | Report as abusive

Anyone recall the little temper tantrums of Martina Navratalova, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe? Today we remember their behavior as bringing personality to a game that had all the appeal of watching paint dry.

The problem with Serena Williams’ behavior is she turned the call into a personal attack. If she foot-faulted, it should have been called. Games have rules and I can’t stand it when officials are not consistent in applying them. It happens more in basketball than any other sport and that’s why I quit watching the NBA years ago. A foot fault, no matter when it occurs, should be called. However, if we find out the lineswoman had noticed foot faults earlier in the match but did not call them, and waited until such a time that she could influence the match, she should be banned from tennis.

Serena needs to move on and try to show that her outburst was a small blip on what has been an otherwise incredible career.

Posted by Mike H. | Report as abusive

A foot fault is a foot fault no matter when it happens during the match. Umpires in all sports make mistakes, and the debate is not on the umpire’s call, but on Serena’s behavior. It is unfortunate that she let her anger get the best of her. If she hadn’t gone bananas, the debate would have been shifted toward the bad call. Who knows, she would have probably won the match, too. Bad call, Serena.

Posted by Phil Saade | Report as abusive

I am sorry. Your article doesn’t convince me. If it were such a crucial point of the match, then the call makes it even more important. There is no reason to let go a foot-fault just because world #2 is playing, or it’s one point before match point. A fault is a fault. For all those who claim she has not, just remember that no TV footage shown till now gives a side view where the line judge is best positioned.

Serena came out in an arrogant and disgraceful manner. There is no excuse for her behavior. The transcript published doesn’t leave a doubt whether it is a threat or a simple rant. If the USTA can send a message, suspend her. Monetary penalties alone becomes a joke.

Posted by Ravi | Report as abusive

I also think the point penalty punishment happened at the appropriate time. Serena did not get a chance to get back in the game. It is going to haunt her of losing that chance. In the set earlier too, she was trailing 15-40 but served two aces or so to level the game. In a way, she deserved this punishment costing the match. But to make sure these kind of things don’t happen in future (with Serena or anyone else), sever penalties are due.

Posted by Ravi | Report as abusive

This was quite possibly the most bullsh#t call in the history of sports. Facing elimination, she gets a foot fault? On a second serve! Does anyone remember George Brett and the pine tar incident? If it was John McEnroe we’d all be chuckling instead of making statements like “disgusting behavior.” Give me a break. I support Serena 100%.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

The was a very simple solution. Don’t foot fault.

Oh, you foot faulted? Then suck it up.

This family and their two nasty-tempered tyrants have been a scourge on the sports world since their prima donna daddy first unleashed them, and this very public showing of her true colors has been a long time coming.

Worst than the tirade (I would not have thought it possible) was her equivocation and hemming and hawing and attempt to evade personal responsibility later on — both in the press conference and the carefully worded statements. She showed then what her character is — she is scum.

Posted by soem dood | Report as abusive

“Can anyone remember when someone was foot-faulted at such an important moment of a key match like a grand slam semi-final before?”

Yes, in the 2001 Wimbledon final, Goran Ivanisevic was foot faulted (on a serve on which he hit a second-serve ace, no less; instead, the point broke his serve to go down 4-2 in the 4th set against Rafter). A brutal call, but the right call. Don’t bend the rules to suit the stage of the match. In that case, however, Goran recovered to win 9-7 in the fifth set in one of the most dramatic Wimbledon finals in history. It (recovering) can be done.

Posted by John P | Report as abusive

Serena’s not a serve-and-volleyer (a foot fault in that case would be more understandable), so there’s no real reason for her to be so tight to the baseline. Also, Serena, has, pardon the pun, no leg to stand on in this case because it’s not as though it’s a line call where she would see the ball hit/or not hit the line; she’s not watching her own feet, so how would she know? Bottom line: benefit of the doubt to the linesperson (also, how do we know Serena hadn’t been foot faulting during the match?), the right call, poorly handled by Serena.

Posted by John P | Report as abusive

Venus and Serena are both terrific and for years have done exemplary work in bringing passion, excitement and fans to this great game. Oh yeah and they’re also amazing #### players. That said, as a competitor, anyone can understand being upset when an official makes a highly questionable call that has the possibility of deciding an intense, high-stakes match. U.S. Open: Do your part and address the issue–review your officials and rules and let the players decide the game on the court. Serena lost it a bit, sure, but she’s a champion and she’ll bounce back from this misstep (not to be confused w/ a FRIGGIN FOOT FAULT!). And kudos to Clijsters, she was hitting the ball a ton out there and deserved to have this match be played all the way to its conclusion.

Posted by gtrust | Report as abusive

Mike H. –

“The problem with Serena Williams’ behavior is she turned the call into a personal attack.”

An outburst is an outburst. The detail of what was said or who felt threatened do not make any difference.

“Serena needs to move on and try to show that her outburst was a small blip on what has been an otherwise incredible career.”

This is one single outburst in a 24 year career of tennis.

Posted by Jeff K | Report as abusive

…totally agree with Ravi…..they fined Serena, what, $10,000? That’s 3% of her prize money for this tournament alone. Peanuts. Meaningless.

Posted by John P | Report as abusive

Serena should apologize publicly, she may have a reason to be angry, but the things she said and the words she used should never be tolerated.
I applaud Mary Carillo, she’s the only commentator with guts who’s courageously expressing herself on this.
And to those who think the linesperson should be fired, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. If foot fault shouldn’t be called on a second serve during a critical point of the game, then get rid of that rule or modify the rules of the game.
The USTA now is saying even if the incident happened at the start of the game, serena would have been ejected and disqualified because of her bahavior.

Posted by theimmigrant | Report as abusive

as a fan of most sports I am really so tired of the ridgie attitude of officials claiming that review of questional calls are not automatic by officials. Replays of the call by the official showed that ihe official was wrong. However Serena deserved the penalty for her behavior. With modern technology which can clear up disputes the whole incident would never have happened. The NFL has benefitted by the red flag rule and the fans are happy knowing that they can depend on the fact that the game they love wilL not be influenced by an official mistake. In the interest of the fans it is time for all sports to get in the real world.

Posted by shirley anne | Report as abusive

first of all Serena farther was right by making that comment, because a lot of tennis fans are racist. Serena did not even foot fault people. The commentators even said that themselves.

Posted by hall | Report as abusive

Senerna dresses like trash and now she talks like trash. MUST BE TRASH!!!!!!!

Posted by tennisman | Report as abusive

I dnt follow Tennis or follow any sport , just watch them in news clips…
– “Serena Williams’s point of view?”… made me think, if all these superstars can have their point of views .. why should we have a law..?

The behavior of serena , is not acceptable . not in any sport or in any incident . if the line judge abused serena, do we have the same soft approach ..? then why double standard?

Posted by Abhilash | Report as abusive

From the poor TV angles it sure looked like a potential foot fault. And as others have mentioned, it’s pretty easy to avoid that error. Some have suggested a millimeter or two over the line confers no real advantage to the server – well, maybe not, but the game is based on close calls where that small distance could give an advantage. Also if one says there’s no advantage, what’s the disadvantage of being a centimeter behind the line and avoid ever getting called?

The inconsistency of the “I can understand Serena’s outburst” thought is a problem none of the apologists want to confront. From the “no real advantage if she foot faulted” to “it should not have been called in that situation”. If some calls should not be called at some times, who decides which rules are optional and when? And if a centimeter is OK on a foot fault, why not 2? or 10? or let the server stand in the middle of the court?

Any one who thinks Serena was justified is an idiot and probably really doesn’t know much about tennis or sportsmanship.

Posted by tampa_edski | Report as abusive

While it is fine to look at it from Serena’s view point, the beauty of life is that we all have our own view points to look from. That’s what differentiates right from wrong. Obviously, Serena thought she was doing the right thing by abusing a line judge who was doing her job, rightfully or not, and hadn’t uttered one single threatening word. Serena repeatedly abused the line judge for one call which is still questionable as to whether it was right or wrong. While it is fine for an occasional outburst as it definitely adds character, having to see what Serena put on show during that semifinal would definitely drive parents away from letting their kids watch tennis. That, Serena, we could definitely have done without.

Posted by Hari P | Report as abusive

O.K…since we’re talking point-of-view, let’s look at it for a second from that of the line judge. Why is the line-judge there? To make calls. She thought that she had observed a portion of the server’s toe touch or cross the baseline while in the act of serving. Thus, it was her responsibility to make the call of “foot fault.” Nothing more, nothing less. And for those who argue “So it’s just a millimeter over…what’s the big deal? There’s no advantage.” Well…if a football receiver’s toe touches the sideline while making a catch, he is deemed to be out-of-bounds, and the catch is negated. There is no “Hey — it was close enough. What’s the big deal?” Out is out. Rules of the game. We’ve become way too lenient as a society with following (or NOT following) rules and procedures — and quite honestly, it has not proven to be to our benefit.

Posted by brad | Report as abusive

The foot fault call, at the most crucial point in the game, was the most ludicrous call made in the history of tennis and if it were me, I would have done the EXACT SAME thing as Serena. She did NOT threaten the lineswoman and she was NO WHERE near her to be a threat. I watched the 1991 Connors-Krickstein match this past w/e during the rain delay and how Jimmy verbally pummeled the chair umpire. His outburst blew Serena’s away and he received not ONE penalty. And another thing folks… THIS IS NOT A RACE ISSUE!! What era are u people living in??? Geeez… stop it already! Let this be a lesson to Serena and other players for the future but let’s not punish the fans and the WTA circuit for Serena’s expression of her true emotions, which are 100% legitimate. The fine is sufficient so just leave it at that.

Posted by Jan | Report as abusive


Posted by MICHAEL VICK | Report as abusive

Jan, yours is such a ridiculous take. You are really saying that you want all officials to take into account the game situation and importance of the game when they make calls? Really? You would be ok if a ref in the Super Bowl gave an interview the day after and said, “Oh, I saw a few holding penalties but decided to not call them because it was on the game winning drive in the 4th quarter.” So should the linesman just not watch Serena’s foot when she serves? How much can she go over the line before it’s called? an inch? A foot? Maybe she can just serve from the 2nd line since it was such an important point in the match? Serena Williams should be banned for 1 season of grand slam events, for the death threat on the linesman. Shoving a tennis ball down the throat of a person is a death threat, especially when followed by, “I SWEAR TO GOD!”

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

Sorry, but I can’t agree with your apologist comments on a totally unacceptable outburst for which there can be no excuse.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Heat of the moment or not, what comes out of a person’s mouth is a sign of what’s in his or her heart. Not pretty.

Posted by John P | Report as abusive

To me its an open and shut case. Serena committed a foot fault for which she was called. With the adrenalin pumping at such a crucial stage of the match she went overboard and cursed the lines person. She was docked a point which made it game set and match.

A foot fault is a foot fault, whether at luv all in the first game of the first set or at match point.

Serena was wrong and, even more disturbing, not immediately remorseful (has she apologised to the line judge?)

If she thinks she is more equal than others let this be the point where she is set straight.

when discretion is allowed into a rules based system then corruption will flourish — i should know, i am an African.

Posted by paul | Report as abusive

With the advent of computer technology any human call can be disputed and verified. Humans make mistakes (both referees and players). Competition at this level is particularly intense and stressful. An outburst, wrong as it may be, occurs frequently under certain circumstances. She was punished and fined for her outburst. Is that not sufficient? now she needs to make a public apology to the whole world? why? she got punished and penalized! Let that suffice and let that be a lesson to others to try and keep their emotions under control. Why make such a fuss!

Posted by Johnny | Report as abusive

I never saw a video of her serving that point. Did Serena, in fact, have a foot-fault? If so, call it as you see it. I trust the judgement of the official. I just hope the little lady who made the call had no vendetta against Serena.

She may from now on, however!

Posted by marcorincones | Report as abusive

Yes, a line judge should call a foot fault at any time during the match, or what’s the point of having rules?

Unfortunately, most Americans saw the footage on CBS, which did not have camera placement. If you watch the incident on Tennis Channel, the foot fault is obvious.

Posted by Diane | Report as abusive

Dear Writer,
I am a lover of tennis.
Whatever happened became topic for few more days.
Here, question of umpires decision did not arise at all.
Being a great player,Serena Williams should not have exposed her anger in bad ways.
Always great,noted players should approach any problems while playing by calm,rational and very polite manners.
I think that she will not exhibit these sorts of outburst in future games.

Posted by krishnamurthi ramachandran | Report as abusive

The line judge did her job and Serena was being outplayed well before that. She was unprepared and unfortunately it wasn’t the cakewalk she expected.

Posted by citmyway | Report as abusive

I’m sure the line judge is a racist. Jimmy Carter should get involved in this one too.

Posted by Al | Report as abusive

Is this the same Micheal Vick who trained and killed helpless dogs? If it was a white tennis player cursing a black line judge it would be all the liberals hollering racism.Heat of the moment or not.Where is the decency and respect for others? Great role model for the children of this world! Sounds just like Mr. West and what he did to Ms. Swift! If you think that blacks,whites,yellows,browns or reds can’t be racist your living in a fantasy world.I t would be right for Ms. williams to apology to this lady.” I’m sorry for the way I acted ,yet still disagree with your call”

Posted by robert garza | Report as abusive


Posted by chck | Report as abusive

There can never be a justificatin for using the “F” word multiple times against someone trying to simply do their job. Good-call or bad-call aside, she treated the line judge as nothing short of a pion.

It is inexcusable behavior and should be followed by a much harsher action than a mere $10K penalty!

Posted by James Baker | Report as abusive

I have sympathy for Serena’s explosion. However, in the best understanding of being a professional tennis player, you have to retain composure and get on with it. The outburst ultimately led to the disciplinary loss of an additional point and the match. HHHMMM???

Posted by D Cooper | Report as abusive

I have sympathy for Serena’s position especially during such a critical game in the match up. When everything is on the line at this point, adrenaline will get the better of you at most times in that scenario. No this is not acceptable behaviour by no means, but even the best of us can lose control.

Posted by Vic De Zen | Report as abusive

Does 15 seconds of anger define a stellar 10 yr career ? Of course not .
Unlike Connors or McEnroe who have a history of line person abuse, she doesn’t and we know this.
We know the effect, but what about the cause. Was the foot fault call that set all this in motion correct ? John McEnroe says no.
I did hear Federer curse at the umpire in his final during an arguement, ain’t nobody say anything about that.

Posted by rawdog | Report as abusive

Regarding Serena’s implosion at the 2009 US Open:
Admittedly some outbursts of great players (toward the chair) can be entertaining and, at times, appropriate. This attack (toward the nearby lineswoman) is actually pretty scary, and she looked like she was going to follow up on her “threat”. Remember, by rule, a player does not address a line umpire, only the chair. In her post-match interview, she did not apologize, she just rolled her eyes as if she were the victim. I think the only way for her to possibly crawl out of this, is to take time off and announce that she is attending anger management counselling, and to voluntarily write a six digit check payable to the line umpire that had to endure that humiliating abuse. Am I wrong for now feeling embarrassed for cheering her on in the past ? Watch it for yourself via the following link: N8

Posted by Kevin McGeary | Report as abusive

Serena was a “Disrespectful” Loser to all officals and especially to her rival, Kim. Her lack of “sportsmanship and respect” is inexcusable. Foot fault or not, she would have NOT won the match.

Posted by Maureen | Report as abusive

You’re kidding right? You’re making excuses for that behavior. It is this line of thought that leads to every single failure to accept responsibility for wrong-doing in our society. Why can’t you just accept that she did something WRONG? Why can’t she simply accept responsibility for her actions and move on? If she is unable to control her temper on the highest stage of tennis….then get off of it and CHOOSE not to get back on. No one is forcing her to play, but they are requesting that she play within the rules of the game and decorum.

Posted by tennisfreak | Report as abusive

Lets continue to slam Serena for shouting at a line Judge in a sporting event and let the guy off the hook who called the President of the United States a lair on national TV in a respected chamber of our government! He also apologized. Where does the double standard end? How is it that people fail to see the reality of bias when it comes to folk of color who are overachievers or even the startling disparities we see in our schools and the workplace? Lets deny that also and say it is the fault of the participant. Does anyone remember John McEnroe?

Posted by Justin Mann | Report as abusive

I love the way Serena waved to the crowd as she left the stadium. She is clueless, ghetto and has a little too much testosterone. Her constant stare downs are overly aggressive. The womens game has too many unforced error but i can’t wait for someone to continually spank her which might never happen. Clijsters is great to watch and very professional.

Posted by Damian Campbell | Report as abusive

Totally unacceptable. SHe is a professional and has lost her share of big tournaments without losing her cool. She acted like a hockey father and deserves a suspension. I have always been impressed with her success but this definately stains her memory as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

Posted by Ken | Report as abusive

A foot fault is a foot fault. Doesn’t matter if the match is on the line, or if you just started. She should be heavily fined and suspended for her utter lack of respect shown to the line judge. Even if the judge would have called it wrong, the behavior she displayed is unacceptable.

As for the remark made in a previous comment about it having to do with color, good grief…do you think everything is racially motivated? Some people just won’t let that issue go I guess. I don’t believe this was racially motivated, just as the incident with the President (“You Lie”) was not racially motivated either. Let’s stick with the issue, and not be using the race card. There’s no use for it.

Posted by LaMont | Report as abusive

She is a poor example to young people — a classless act who should not be allowed on a tennis court. She SHOULD be ashamed of herself. But she isn’t and that is a tragedy.

Posted by Terrel | Report as abusive

Absolutyely suspend her. Jeff Tarango blew up at the chair ump in 95 at Wimbledon and was suspended from the next years tourney and fined $10k. I think Serena should get that at the least. Can’t do it, terrible example product of her playing only the slams.

Posted by whiteshadow | Report as abusive

90% think Serena is in the wrong here. Guess what. They’re missing the point. Look at other sporting events which rely on judges to call “fouls”. In hockey, at the end of the match, the ref almost needs a needs a postcard depicting a near decapitation to be plastered on his forehead to call a penalty. In basketball, fouls are a dime a dozen towards the end. Bottom line, any good referee knows to let the game play itself out and only intervene when necessary.

Her bahavior? Brawls in hockey are accepted, yelling and even chest thumping the baseball umpire is tolerated. Did she go too far? Definitely… a little. In tennis, you don’t get “fouled”, you get faulted, and there’s still no hawkeye for a footfault. If this is my livelihood on the line, and I have no teammate or coach to rely on out there, I’ll sure as hell get my message across one way or the other. That’s how it is in tennis. A solo warrior. That line judge and anyone lacking common sense had best stay away from the game.

Posted by Brey | Report as abusive


Posted by mary hill | Report as abusive

First did she foot fault Yes or no? were there ANY more foot faults in this match by either player? Yes or No….were they called?…were foot faults being called through out the tournment? If this rule is to be applied it HAS to be the same for EVERYONE…I saw two rackets abused and broken my men I did not see them warned or penalized? Again Rules must be applied evenly. How many rackets were broken….how many warnings issued?…It appears reasonable that Serena might have been cheated if so then she might have been understated in her response?

Posted by Jimmie | Report as abusive

Just a bit of clarification…I am an older player, played tournments, I defended Serena earlier, though I am not her biggest fan…I love Venus though. It remains a fairly good possibility that Serena was cheated. No one seems interested in looking in to that possibility. If you are going to call foot faults…every one of them has to be called….if you are going to penalize racket busting then every one who brakes a racket must be penalized, if not you are going to drive some people a little crazy

Posted by Jimmie | Report as abusive

Read LaMont’s comment… Need not comment any further on that. Perfectly put

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

Kevin are a dam fool, why should an african american write a 6 digit check to these white people, did John McEnroe write one to african ameicans. dam fools like Jessie Jackson may write a check. Her punishment should be the same as John’s.Oh was she right or wrong?

Posted by sylvester pinkney | Report as abusive

Can’t she challenge a foot fault and use the chase review cameras for a review? Was she out of challenges? According to the announcer Kim Clijsters stands 6 inches behind the baseline and did not even come close to foot faulting the entire match. Regarding comparing her to McEnroe, McEnroe never physically threatened anyone. If she would have called the judge names and not threatened her then that would have been like Mac. But she threatened her with physical violence which deserves a lost point and fine for her or anyone else regardless of their race.

Posted by joe stephens | Report as abusive