Serena Williams will be fined $10,500 for behavior deemed "unsportsmanlike conduct," and also for racket abuse after her obscenity-filled and aggressive reaction to a critical foot fault called during her 6-4, 7-5 U.S. Open semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters on Saturday night. There will also be further investigation of the incident according to a statement released by the U.S. Open, "The Grand Slam rule book also allows for an investigation to be conducted by the Grand Slam Committee Administrator to determine if the behavior of Ms. Williams warrants consideration as a Major Offence for which additional penalties can be imposed. This investigation has now begun." Williams earned $350,000 for her singles semifinal finish.
After an unidentified lineswoman called a foot fault on a second serve which gave Williams a double fault and put her a point away from the loss, Williams approached the lineswoman, shook a tennis ball in the direction of the woman's face and threatened to shove the ball down the women's throat.Because Williams had already received a warning after breaking her racket at the end of the first set, her actions in confronting the lineswoman resulted in another code violation and a penalty point. That point was match point and gave Clijsters the win.
Through a public relations agency, Williams said Sunday, "Last night everyone could truly see the passion I have for my job. Now that I have had time to gain my composure I can see that while I don't agree with the unfair line call in the heat of battle I let my passion and emotion get the better of me and as a result handled the situation poorly." Serena and her sister Venus will play the women's doubles final today, and tennis analyst Mary Carillo had an emphatic opinion on whether or not that match should be played. "If they let [Serena] play doubles, that's really a joke," Carillo said Sunday. "She should be out. How can you let her play? That woman was threatened and humiliated." Pam Shriver, who is also working for ESPN, suggested that Williams needs to make an apology soon. "If you're a great champion, as Serena is, and if you want to be a champion, like Serena, who opens schools in Africa and who wants to leave a legacy, then you need to make full amends and an appropriate apology or else you've cheapened your accomplishments."
Shriver also thought that one outcome of the incident might be a system where foot fault calls could be challenged and electronically reviewed.The present system of electronic line calls where players are allowed up to three challenges a set of a chair umpire or linesperson's call, is credited in part because of a controversial chair over rule that cost Williams a crucial point during a U.S. Open match against Jennifer Capriati."I think, after this, officials will find the need to address reviewing of foot faults," Shriver said. "I could see where, just like after the Serena-Capriati match . . . ushered in the age of electronic line calls, this might usher in the age of the challenge of foot fault calls."