1. Donovan says

    She yelled abuse at the umpire 3 separate times in that video. Earlier in the match, she smashed her racquet against the ground in anger. You can’t threaten the umpires – it’s as simple as that – it doesn’t matter how upset you are. It was good of her to shake Clijster’s hand after the match, though, to reassure her it’s not her fault.

  2. tobal says

    I’m really sorry for both of them. Clijsters couldnt celebrate properly her victory, and Serena had to deal with that really uncomfortable situation. The foot fault call was completely unnecessary.
    Although inexcusable, I can totally understand Serena’s reaction, and it’s not the first time she’s had major problems with unfair umpires or line judges.

  3. Dan says

    The NYDN report gets it wrong — it is not clear on the replay whether or not Serena footfaulted. The linesperson was in the best position to see the footfault, and even Serena admitted in her post-match interview that she probably did commit the footfault. In any case, Serena obviously lost her cool, and there is no question the point penalty was justified. But at least Serena salvaged a little bit of dignity by being very gracious to Kim Clijsters after the match.

  4. LD says

    he foot-fault was not on match point. Serena was serving at 15-30. She faulted on her first service attempt. Then on her second, she was called for the FF. According to replays, it is unclear; but even Serena admitted that she probably did afterwards. Thus, the score was 15-40. Then instead of letting it go or alternatively, appealing to the chair umpire, she berated the official and did in fact threaten her. She was trashy and her behavior really tarnished the sport and her image. Because of the tirade, she was assessed a violation for unsportsmanlike conduct (her second violation of the match). Therefore, that second violation cost her a point, and at 15-40, the game and the match. However, what is lost in this whole scene was the fact that Kim C was beating Serena and playing excellent tennis. It’s a shame she didn’t get to celebrate properly. Shame on Serena!

  5. MackMike says

    Sorry,NYDN, but The Tennis Channel aired the alleged football from an angle not available to CBS as the match aired live. CBS’ camera angle made it impossible to see the foot fault, but the call was clearly correct in the footage made available by The Tennis Channel, with Martina Navratilova confirming that Williams had foot faulted.

    Most every sport establishes boundary lines that are enforced. There is a good reason why a player is not allowed to set a foot on or inside (on the ground) that line prior to the ball leaving the strings of the server’s racquet. This is a rule of the game, no less important than striking a ball that lands beyond those boundary lines on a point. To say that the call was ludicrous, or to be especially aghast that an official would make the call so close to match point is absurd. Should a player be allowed to step a foot inside the baseline to serve, simply because it is so near match point? Of course not.

    I’m a big William’s fan, and I franly believe that niether sister have been completely their due because because they don’t look like Chris Evert of Tracy Austin. A Melanie Oudain made her way through to the quarter finals, the media constantly drew comparisons to Chris (on of my all time favorite players) and Tracy (whom I sparred with a number of times when she was at her height and we were in the juniors). Even Pam Shriver was cited as an example to draw upon, but neither Willams sister were ever referred to, though they both made strong runs as teens in the US Open (Serena winning), despite the fact that they were the last US female players to actually enjoy the success that Melanie was experiencing at this Open. The Williams sisters are the only American players (if you discount Mary Pierce) to bother to learn to speak French so that they could address the hosting crowd at the French Open in their own language. Yes, Serena has been cocky, but then so was Hingis. These women who should have had a far greater number of endorsements and love from the US crowds than they’ve ever been given.

    Having said that, Serena was entirely in the wrong last night, including her refusal to apologize for her outburst at the line judge–also against the rules of play, from the time that her foot slid against the baseline on, she was just wrong.

  6. Bill says

    The Williams sisters have been victims of some really bad calls in the past. I remember four or five years ago Venus got a series of really bad calls while playing against Justine Henin at the French Open and Justine lied about one of the calls agreeing with the lineperson who was wrong.

  7. says

    NO excuse to call a foot fault at that point in the match, and certainly in this case the call is NOT clear cut. I watched a replay, and it certainly wasn’t obvious.

    Second, that lineswoman should have just kept her ass in her chair after. Did she honestly feel Serena was going to attack her? No.

    Third, none of this excuses Serena’s actions.

    A very unfortunate series of events.

  8. MackMike says

    Michael, are you suggesting that a player should be able to serve while standing anywhere on the court at all? Should someone be able to serve from the service line? If not, how far inside the baseline should a severer be able to strike the ball? Should foot faults be permitted only on critical points? I’m sorry, but as a former nationally ranked tennis player, there is a reason for the foot fault rule.

    Did she foot fault? Serena said that she likely did, and footage taken from another angle, an angle not offered by the vantage point that CBS had, but from a clearer perspective confirmed without doubt that Serena did indeed foot fault.

    Lastly, the line judge was called to the umpire’s chair by the umpire, and that too is a rule. When a player approaches a linesman in the way that Serena did, the rule of tennis mandates that the linesman reports any possible violation. In this case, the linesperson did not approach the umpire until she was called to do so–she was just doing her job, and her job is to call foot faults.

    I love the Williams sisters, and when they were just little girls had the opportunity to play a little exhibition match with them, prior to the semis of an ATP event. Such amazing talent, and remarkable role models–I believe that in my heart of hearts. In this particular case Serena’s temper got the best of her in a case of really unfortunate timing.

  9. DR says

    Whether the call was proper or not is best left for the folks there to decide. What we saw was a world-class athlete lose her cool to the point of threatening to ram a ball down an official’s throat. And that’s AFTER breaking her racket earlier in the game. Her behavior was abominable. She caused this herself. It would have been better to try and rebound form the bad call and appeal the decision later than to end her run this way.

  10. Erick says

    It does not matter if it was late in the match or not – a foot fault penalty should have been given and not overlooked simply because Serena was about to lose. You can’t cheat and get by with it simply because it’s your last shot to keep from losing. Which is exactly the issue here – Serena can’t tolerate the fact that she was BEAT in that match by a better player in this tournament. Kim should celebrate because it was clear she was going to win.

    It doesn’t matter if the line judge felt threatened or not. Yelling the f word once out of anger is one thing but Serena Williams knows better – excusing her behavior and assuming that it was an unfair call because people want to be so quick to yell racism is ridiculous. Every single player gets bad calls all the time – just because it happens to the Williams sisters does not make it racism.

    She lost and she deserved to lose. I’ll be happy when those two are out of this sport altogether. They and their parents are ridiculous.

  11. scar2 says

    MacMike: I agree w/ most of what u said except about Oudin. There was no comparison to the Williams sisters because Oudin’s game is different from theirs. I think she was compared to Evert & Austin because she had similar styles with them – they’re all counter-punchers with more defensive games. The Williams sisters are more power-hitters & have more offensive games.

    I really did feel bad for Clijsters because she was outplaying Serena & deserved to win. Serena just lost it & I understood why. However, it doesn’t excuse her behaviour. I still like her & she’ll still be seen as one of the all-time greats. This is just blip in her career & I hope she learns from it.

  12. jimmyboyo says

    “……Replays indicated it wasn’t a foot fault at all…………”

    “……Replays indicated it wasn’t a foot fault at all…………”

    “……Replays indicated it wasn’t a foot fault at all…………”


    Maybe her words were poorly chosen but she was RIGHT!!!! and had every reason to be very angry


    How much racism is behind some posting here who couldn’t wait for the “replay” update that shows serena was 100% in the right to be very very angry

    Poor choice of words, but she was in the right to be angry

    “……Replays indicated it wasn’t a foot fault at all…………”

  13. says

    so what if she yelled?

    i’m guessing cause it’s a big scary black woman that the ref feared for her life

    John McEnroe had far worse blow ups

    sports are sports & this goes with the territory – just cause it’s tennis people want these girls to fart daisies


  14. MackMike says

    JimmyBoyo, the replays that most saw were on CBS. Their camera was set up that offered an angle that was unable to substantiate a foot fault. The Tennis Channel had their own camera set up at such an angle that it make it abundantly clear that Serena foot faulted. Having said that, she did not lose due to the foot fault, she lost for verbally abusing a linesman. Had that been her only warning of the day, she would not have lost a point, but it was not her first. The rule came into being in the 1980’s, to counter some of the abuse and long delays caused by Nastase, Connors and McEnroe. Indeed, she had every right to be angry, and she had the choice to direct that anger at the linesman rather than the chair umpire; however, it was the right of the officials to penalize her a point, and that was the price she paid.

    Scar2, I understand where you are coming from, I do. Having played with Tracy, I know her game very well, and I also sparred with Evert when I was a kid, warming her up for a tournament later her career, so I know her game well too. It is true that Melanie’s game is more similar to theirs, but the comparisons being drawn by the commentators were simply about being a teen working her way through the Open. After all, they even mention Shirver, whose came Melanie’s is nothing like. I just feel that the Williams sisters just haven’t reaped the crowd support and the endorsement deals that others before them enjoyed. Speaking in general terms, about players who worked their way through to the later rounds at an Open, Little Moe, Chris, Tracy, and Shriver have been mentioned several times, which made the absence of the Williams sisters names in that list a bit glaring.

    Now just to completely be bore you: true enough, both Williams owe a great debt of gratitude to Seles for the way that they play (Seles owes a great deal of debt to Evert, and perhaps even a bit to Agassi, who like her picked the ball up on the rise in a way that was never seen before). Serena also shares a few things in common with Martina. Melanie’s game is a hybrid of Evert’s and Seles’…the latter must be mentioned, because no player today can get through the majors without taking that ball on rise today.

    King is responsible for the popularity and depth in women’s tennis. Evert’s game forever impacted the way tennis would be played–perfecting the baseline game. Navratilova forever change the way tennis players would train and the athleticism of the game. Seles took Everts game and ramped it up, showing women everywhere the advantage of striking the ball while it was on the rise, rather than dropping back and trying to take it at waist level. These are the four names in women’s tennis who have had the most impact on how the game is played today.

  15. MackMike says

    Tennis is not hockey, Sundog–it is governed by a different set of rules, and it is watched differently than other sports. During the McEnroe era, the arguments grew so long, ratings began to dip over time as viewers grew bored waiting for players to return to the game. The game is sustain (typically) by only two players, when one stops play for any length of time, momentum dies, and it just can’t sustain the level of interest that hockey or football can when a fight breaks out, there is more to watch, and the demographic is so different.

  16. Daws says

    It was unfortunate that the match ended the way it did. Serena’s behavior was inappropriate for sure, no excuse, but how many times has Serena cussed out a lines person? I’ve been a fan of the Williams Sisters since they debuted on the professional tour and they have been very stand up ambassadors of the sport.

    I’m shocked at the response I’ve seen from various commentators about this incident, calling for her suspension from the tour. Serena loses her cool one night, acts inappropriately, and now they want her head. An example must be made because apparently NO ONE else on tour acts like a psycho, smashing rackets and cussing people out lol. She’s the biggest women’s star currently, they need to cut her some slack and realize this was just a bad night that she’ll have to live with.

    Her behavior was aweful, but I this doesn’t smudge her as a person or player in my eyes. She still one of the best to have played the game and a stand up person.

  17. says

    If she doesn’t like foot fault calls, maybe she should back her sasquatch ass up 6 inches. (I’d say Gorilla, but then I’d get a hundred comments saying I was a racist – which is absurd considering that I’m an african american myself. I just don’t like women who look like heavyweight male wretlers.)

  18. Chris says

    And MacMike

    Venus nor Serena doesn’t owe Monica Seles SHIT!!!!!! AND fucking what???? PLEASE MISS LADY!

    They made it on their own in a sport where minorities are nil. Please move along with assinine observation!

  19. says

    Uh Damn. Let some color get on Towleroad and the results are so predictable that there is no reason to even comment on the whole Gay racism, thing.

    Serena, no matter what, you are a role model to little girls and you cannot behave that way.

  20. Uncontainable Spirit says

    @ Jeremy Pivo, you’re a disgrace. Please commit seppuku.

    I’ll be extremely disappointed if Serena apologizes. The lines person should be banned completely.

    With regard to race… I find it really interesting when white people want to be all technical and by the book when the person that the ruling is being made about is not white. That just kills me. I cannot tell you how many times i’ve seen foot faults that weren’t called. This was a bad call all around. I’m riding with Serena to the end on this one.

    It’s ok that you hate us. We understand.

  21. LWH says

    Serena Williams took her anger out on an old small Asian woman because she felt she could intimidate her into submission. If the line judge was Michelle Wie, Serena would simply shut her trap and proceed to lose the match. Otherwise, Michelle Wie would shove her fuckin’ nine-iron down Serena’s fuckin’ throat.

  22. Mark says

    The cost of her outrage at the US Open will be much higher than $10,500.
    There are many people sitting in Board Rooms today saying, we do not want Serena Williams endorsing our products- and rightfully so.

  23. Chitown Kev says

    As far as the foot fault call itself, it was kind of inconclusive from the video. Foot fault calls on the tour are incredible subjective; I remember that Stefan Edberg used to have a serious problem with foot faults. They didn’t catch it at the French Open but did catch it at Wimbeldon one year (was called for it about 6 times in one match).

    I think this has less to do with race than the fact that Serena is a woman, period; these type of tirades are accepted for men. I remember one match where Chris was playing martina at wimbeldon (in a semifinal) and they called Chris’s ball out on match point. Chris didn’t say anythng but she gave that line judge a look that I will never forget.

    I think that it was personal between Serena and line judge, myself. Clijsters, after all, did win the match in straight sets; she defintely outplayed her.

    As far as jeremy Pivo is concerned, well…

    I guess everyone ignores the fact that our blogs may be getting infiltrated by right wing crazies that want to continue sowing the type of division that is already present in our communities. Since I don’t recognize that name and it seems to be that sort of comment, I won’t respond to it although I wish that Andy would simply delete the comment.

  24. Tennis Fan says

    Can we correct some of the lies on here?

    There was no conclusive evidence that the foot fault didn’t occur. (in fact, the coverage on the Tennis Channel points more in the direction that the call was correct) Unless you were sitting where the line judge was, you can’t speculate about whether it happened or not.

    The line judge was simply doing her job. It is her duty to call a foot fault when she sees one–at any point during a match. You don’t get a pass just because it’s a crucial point or because you are Serena.

    Foot faults were called on many players during the two weeks of the Open. Serena had one called on her earlier in the match. She had fair warning.
    It was not “unheard of” or unfairly directed specifically at Serena at that moment in order to ‘pick on her’.

    By foot faulting, Serena only lost a point. It was her disgraceful behavior that cost her another point, which happened to be match point– because she had broken her racket in anger earlier in the match. All of Serena’s misfortunes were her own doing. You can’t blame anyone else. Plus Clijsters played a better match and was winning anyway. Serena was mad because she was losing and took it out on the poor lineswoman who was just doing her job. That is poor sportsmanship by any definition.

    Serena most certainly should have taken personal responsibility for her actions and apologized to the lineswoman and to all the people who had been watching.
    Losing your temper and saying “I would shove this f*cking ball down your throat” is bad enough, but not having the grace to apologize once she calmed down is disgraceful. If she had apologized in a timely and sincere fashion, all would be forgiven. How can anyone say she is still a good role model? The best sports figure role models are gracious whether winning or losing.
    She has shown that she is not any kind of role model that kids should emulate.

Leave A Reply