September 12, 2011

Should Serena Williams Be Suspended from US Open Because of Her Outburst?

Only one thing went wrong with my sporting weekend. My favorite NFL teams -- Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions and New York Jets -- all managed to win their opening games. For at least a week Bengals fans can say that their team is UNDEFEATED. My favorite college football team -- University of Michigan Wolverines -- showed remarkable courage in their comeback victory over the Fighting Irish. Even my 11-year old son and his youth football team won their first game of the year by a score of 14-12 yesterday!

The only downer for the weekend was the US Open
. I was stunned that Serena Williams lost the finals to Aussie Samantha Stosur. I guess Serena was in disbelief as well ... as she had a severe explosion during the first game of the second set.

Serena has a habit of yelling 'Come On!' at the top of her lungs during big points in her matches. She let out such a yell during her match against Stosur. However, she let it out before the point was over ... and that appears to be a rules violation in tennis. The judge in the match, Eva Asderaki, took the winning point away from Serena.

In my view, Serena's yell is the equivalent of the constant grunts that you hear from other tennis players, like Maria Sharapova. However, it appears that Judge Asderaki thought that Serena's yell was loud and menacing.

Serena was still peeved at the judge while resting between points.
"If you ever see me walking down the hall, look the other way, because you’re out of control," Williams said while sitting in her chair. "You’re totally out of control. You’re a hater, unattractive inside. Who would do such a thing? And I never complain. Wow, what a loser. Give me a code violation because I expressed my emotion? We’re in America last time I checked. Really, don’t even look at me, don’t look my way."
In fact, there is some talk that Serena may be banned from next year's US Open as a result.

I don't think that the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) will go that far. After all, Serena is to tennis as Tiger is to golf -- she is a money-maker. Who would care about tennis in America if Serena (or her sister Venus) weren't in the mix?
"Any impact this code violation might have on Serena Williams’ grand slam probation would require the incident being ruled a major event," a WTA statement said. "That determination will be made by the grand slam committee director."
Serena was all smiles and kind words in the post-match interviews. She congratulated her opponent and accepted her second-place trophy and prizes with dignity and grace. However, her earlier on-court explosion didn't do much for her image within the sport.

I suspect that she won't be given the ultimate penalty of suspension from the next US Open ... but, I also suspect that Serena would prefer to be remembered for her tennis and not for her inability to handle her emotions.

What say u?


Ned Hamson said...

Nope - Remember McEnroe? He was a lot more obnoxious and more often but a great player, as Serena is! Tennis stopped being a gentle sport between rich people's sons and daughters long ago.

Unknown said...

Ned - You got it right ... and the WTA agreed. Serena ended up getting a small fine for her outburst. Good decision!

Unknown said...

I was happy that the Lions won but Serena's loss added to the pain of the crumbling of the Steele Nation. Ned took the words right out of my mouth - McEnroe. It was clear that Serena did not intend to yell before the point was over. This is the finals and emotions are high. How often have we rebelled during the NBA Finals when a call should have been let go. I am glad that the fine was minimal and as for me I stand by Serena, here image is tarnished for me.

Unknown said...

I'm going to have to disagree with you there. Why is it that everyone compares her to John McEnroe? Why not compare her to her PEERS? NOBODY else in the WTA blows up and personally attacks volunteer line judges and umpires the way she does. Bottom line is she broke the rules, decided to personally attack the umpire and got away with a very very small fine because of her moneymaking premier athlete status. She should be ashamed of herself but she obviously will never be ashamed about how she behaves. Since you mentioned it, even John McEnroe looked back and realized how he was wrong for the way he acted back then. He explains it during the semis of the Men's US OPEN.

Unknown said...

Karen - Did you mean to say that Serena's image is tarnished with you?

Jay - I appreciate your opinion. I wonder why the loud grunting of female tennis players isn't given the same penalty that Serena received for her 'Come On' exhortation. On the other hand, I agree that her discussion between points with the chair judge was unnecessary.

Unknown said...

Hello Villager!
The reason grunting is allowed is because it is a release a tennis player is making while they hit the ball. The "Come On" was done after she hit the ball right as the other player was about to hit the ball. In all honesty, the other player didn't have a chance at returning Serena's tremendous shot but because of the unfortunate timing of the "Come On" remark, it resulted in the loss of the point. I remember when Monica Seles was warned numerous times for her grunting back in the days because she would make a second grunt after her first grunt which resulted in a disruption of the other person's game. They didn't penalize her though because the second grunt still happened way before the other player was about to hit her shot. Tennis is so much more of a mental game (like golf) that even the smallest things can be a distraction and any distraction must be taken into consideration.
Great topic though. Ultimately, Serena will still be remember as one of the greatest women tennis players in the history of the WTA. I just wish she wouldn't take jabs at lowly line judges who work for free. =(

Unknown said...

Unknown - I didn't realize that the judges for the US Open were volunteers who worked for free. Yeah, that is *raw* for them to be bum-rushed by one of the players ... even if it happens to be my favorite player, Serena Williams!

Thank you very much for sharing the insights and history of the tennis GRUNT!

I hope you find reasons to come back and visit with our blog again in the future.