September 13, 2009

Serena fined $10,500; Investigation underway

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."


swanjame said...

No one seems to want to repeat exactly what Serena said. It was both blasphemous and filthy. It exceeded what is kindly alleged in this article.

Additionally, the foot fault call was both correct and proper. The use of a computer-generated cartoon reenactment, like what is used in the accepted linecall review system, is unnecessary; plenty of photographic evidence is available.

The tennis community is doing the linesperson a great disservice by fostering the perception that she might have been wrong.

Monika said...

That is where you are wrong! The line official was not right for making the call, it was way too close to make such a call at that point in the match. I don't know what photographs you looked at but the ones that I saw showed that Serena's foot did not cross the line! If her foot did touch the line it was by a centimeter, which should never be called on any player during a critical point like that. What that lineswoman did was SELFISH AND IGNORANT!! It is obvious that the lineswoman was instructed to pay extra attention to Serena's feet and call foot fault on her at all costs. This was not the 1st time that this has happened to Serena or Venus. I am sick and tired of these officials cheating on Serena!!! US Open officials have a history of cheating against Serena during semifinal and final matches and she has lost matches because of it. IT MAKES ME ANGRY AS HELL!!!