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Monday, September 12, 2011

A Shout, An Umpire’s Call And Another Outburst

Serena Williams gestures while talking to the chair umpire Eva Asderakiduring the women's championship match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Sunday. (AP)

Serena Williams gestures while talking to chair umpire Eva Asderaki during the women's championship match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York on Sunday. (AP)

It got ugly in the second set of the Women’s final at the US Open yesterday. The favorite, Serena Williams, was down a set and facing break point against Sam Stosur, when Williams yelled “come on” after she hit a hard shot that Stosur scrambled to reach.

The umpire, Eva Asderaki, ruled that because Williams shouted before the point was over, Williams had intentionally tried to distract her opponent and the umpire awarded a point to Stosur.

CBS commentators and others questioned whether the umpire’s call was too harsh, and whether the point should have been re-played, instead of given to Stosur.

Williams was not happy with the call and she let Asderaki know between sets — accusing the umpire of being “out of control” and “a hater.”

Williams ended up losing the match in straight sets and declined to shake the umpire’s hand afterwards.

Sunday’s events brought back memories of the 2009 US Open semi-finals when Williams’ verbal tirade against a line judge got her disqualified, giving the match to her opponent.


  • George Vecsey, New York Times

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  • Diane Griffiths

    It is understandable to be angry at a call when one does not believe one was “deliberately hampering” as the rule book dictates, however, it is another thing to malign the umpire in the manner as which Serena did! One could not hear it all but ” you are in America now” has not been mentioned – the forerunner to that byte( which I heard) must have been menacing! Just goes to show you how fame and fortune can sometimes turn a sweet child into an entitled, ugly bully. She should have called for the referee instead of her baser instincts!

  • F. Patin

    Why do the TV commentators continue to condone Serena’s bad behavior.  Two years ago when she threatened the lines person for calling a foot fault, John McEnroe chastised the offical for making the call “at a time like that” and ignored Serena’s terrible behavior.  Again yesterday, John and Mary were more focused on the call instead of the bad behavior. 

    And no one ever mentioned the possiblity that Serena’s outbust was gamesmanship to throw Stosur off her game.

    What is the message you are sending young people — The rules only apply to some of us and it is ok to bully others.

  • Mjcarothers

    Everybody seems to just want to jump onto the “Burn Serena at The Stake” bandwagon. Yes her outburst was in very poor form. How about holding umpires and refs accountible for BAD calls. The point should have been replayed since it was not clear that Serena was deliberately trying to break her opponents concentration. Have we all forgotten the world cup officiating disaster? Serena let her temper get the best of her and I think it was her temper that caused her to lose. She also robbed herself of the chance to challenge that call properly. Umpires are human too and they will make mistakes. Just like Serena is GASP a human being.

    I hope Serena learns from this and takes the necessary steps to controll her temper and deal with stress better.

    Btw expecting John McEnroe to chastise a tennis player for throwing a temper tantrum….

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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