Sunday, September 13, 2009

Williams Wall melts down

Whether or not you’re a fan of women’s tennis, undoubtedly you have heard of the Williams sisters. Between the two of them, they have won twenty grand slam singles titles (Venus – 9; Serena – 11). They both have Olympic gold medals and as doubles partners have amassed another nine Grand Slam championships.

But the one thing they have yet to accomplish is learning how to lose with dignity. If you ever listen to a post-match press conference after a loss, neither Williams sister ever gives kudos to an opponent for their stellar play. Now I get the fact that as a professional athlete you need a substantially large ego. But conceding that you were outplayed on a given day is far from acknowledging that another player is better overall.

And after yesterday’s meltdown in a US Open semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams brought “lack of accountability” to a new level.

With Williams serving at 5-6, 15-30 in the second set, she faulted on her first serve. On the second serve, a line judge called a foot fault, making it a double-fault -- a call rarely, if ever, seen at that stage of any match, let alone the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament.

That made the score 15-40, putting Clijsters one point from victory.

Instead of stepping to the baseline to serve again, Williams went over and shouted and cursed at the line judge, pointing at her and shaking a ball at her.

Dropping the f-word liberally, Williams said, "I swear to God I'm [expletive] going to take this [expletive] ball and shove it down your [expletive] throat, you hear that? I swear to God."

But in the post-match press conference, when asked about threatening the official, Serena stated ”"I didn't threaten [her].” Serena even seemed shocked, SHOCKED that the target of her ire felt threatened at all.

One can make a subjective argument if a loss in a tennis match is due to poor play or a superior opponent. But spewing f-bombs and “swearing to God” that you’re going to invoke harm on another human being is not a threat? Seems to me there was strong empirical evidence to the contrary.

1 comment:

  1. Not quite like a McEnroe outburst...