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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Serena Williams crosses the line–AGAIN!

I really don't like to get into the negatives of tennis. To me, there are not many bad things in this sport perhaps beyond the wear and tear your body takes over several decades of hard play. The competition and exercise is healthy, the athletes tend to respect each other's talent, and the message sent to our kids and other tennis players of all ages is usually a very positive one. 

Then enter Serena Williams. For those not aware, for the second time in her career at the U.S.Open. one of tennis' biggest stages, she verbally abused an umpire because she did not like the ruling handed down. The reality is that the umpires in both years were doing their job within the rules of tennis, and there was nothing wrong or inappropriate in their rulings. Serena lost a point, and because it was game point for her opponent Samantha Stosur, inevitably she lost a game. This was because she yelled out after hitting a shot before her opponent had a chance to play it. That is a clear violation of the hindrance rule in tennis of which a tennis professional at Serena's level should be aware. She lost her cool, and in the process, said nasty things to the umpire, Eva Asderaki, such as “You’re a hater. You’re unattractive inside." All this from a well-known role model who was just finishing up a 2-year probationary period for her threatening words to a linesperson at the 2009 U.S. Open Semi-finals.

I don't blame Serena for being upset, caught up in the moment, and even for being vocal. Lots of tennis players are vocal on the court. But there is a line one must not cross, and for the second time at a Grand Slam event, Serena crossed it, spit on it, and crushed it into the ground. Where is her professionalism? Where is her integrity? Do these things not count when you are famous and have boatloads of money?

What is far worse than the Serena incident is the reaction of the USTA who is fining her $2000 for the infraction. Game, set, match! Hello people, but just in case you hadn't noticed, she is a millionaire. Serena probably spends more than this on breakfast and lunch for a week. Someone wrote that, at her hourly rate, it was worth about 1 minute of her earnings. She walked away from this tournament, by the way, with a cool 1.4 million as a runner-up losing by the score of 6-2, 6-3.

What would you do if you were the USTA? Should she not be held accountable for her mistake? Is the chump change of $2000 a realistic fine for someone with her financial resources? How do you feel about suspension at a major event such as the next Grand Slam tournament–The Australian Open?

Let's record your feelings on this and be heard as a tennis fan, patron, parent, or even tennis professional in any capacity such as instructor, coach, or player.

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