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Verbal abuse and a liar from U.S. Open tennis

September 13, 2011
Weirton Daily Times

The United States Tennis Association needs to say goodbye to Serena Williams.

But, it won't.

It won't because of money.

It won't because top players hold way too much power in the USTA.

It won't because it is gutless.

Williams showed another class act on Sunday in the U.S. Open final against Sam Stosur.

She yelled "cone on" during a point that she thought was over, but it interrupted Stosur's attempt to return the shot so the chair umpire, Eva Asderaki, gave Stosur the point because of the "hindrance rule."

The rule says a player cannot verbally interfere while a point is in progress.

Williams was not happy, although it appears Asderaki made the right call.

Two years ago Williams verbally assaulted a lineswomen during the semifinals and, apparently, thought Asderaki was the same women who was in the chair in 2009.

She was wrong.

"Aren't you the one who screwed me over last time here?" Serena asked after being told of the point penalty. "Yeah, you are."

During the next two changeovers, Williams kept at it.

"A code violation because I expressed who I am? We're in America last I checked. Am I gonna get violated for a water? Really, don't even look at me. I promise you, don't look at me because I am not the one. Don't look my way.

"If you ever see me walking down the hall, walk the other way. Because you're out of control. Totally out of control. You're a hater, you're unattractive inside. Who would do such a thing? And I never complain. Wow."

To top it all off, media members gave her eight questions about the incident, meaning she had eight opportunities to apologize for her behavior, and did no such thing.

Of course, this was after she refused to shake the chair umpire's hand.

Zero class.

Her 2009 outburst drew an immediate $10,000 fine from the USTA and eventually a record $82,500 fine from the Grand Slam administrator.

Williams also faced a "probationary period" at Grand Slam tournaments in 2010 and 2011, and was told she could be suspended from the U.S. Open if she had another "major offense."

Well, according to the Grand Slam administrator in 2011, her outburst was not a "major offense" and all she got fined was $2,000.

According to a report, "Williams took home $1.4 million from the U.S. Open, a total which includes the prize money she won for being a finalist and her bonus for winning the U.S. Open hard court series. The $2,000 fine represents 0.14 percent of her total haul.

In total at the Open, Serena spent 527 minutes on the court, earning $2,656 per minute. Essentially, she paid for that $2,000 fine in 45 seconds of court time. That's as long as it takes to play a single point."

Tennis announcer Mary Carillo was on with Tim Brando of Yahoo Sports Radio Monday and she ripped Williams.

"Serena doesn't seem to understand how courtside microphones work ... She was surprised to know that all of that stuff she was saying to that woman was getting picked up. I don't understand how she thinks that that stuff isn't going out over the air ... I don't like bullies. I think they're the scourge of the universe ... What happens in the sport of tennis is that there are no substitutions. The player has so much power on that court. If you throw her off the court, the match is over ... Believe me, tennis players have always understood how much power they have and they've pretty much always understand how much abuse they could dole out before they get in trouble."

Of course, the men needed to get into the act.

In doubles play, Philip Petzschner lied.

According to a report, "Petzschner and Jurgen Melzer were up a set against Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in the match when a short Matkowski volley hit Petzschner's leg and bounced across the net for a Petzschner/Melzer winner. The chair umpire awarded Petzschner the point, incorrectly believing that the ball had hit his racquet, not his leg. When Matkowski protested, insisting that the ball hit Petzschner's leg, Petzschner lied and said the ball hadn't made contact with his body."

In baseball, a player won't make an attempt to get out of the way of a 45 mile-per-hour curve ball and be awarded first base. In basketball, a player will never admit to a foul and will foul a player as many times as possible before the referee blows a whistle.

In football, it's a free-for-all in the trenches.

In soccer, well, there's more flopping and dives than Vlade Divac and Greg Louganis combined.

But, in individual sports, that's not the case.

Golfers call penalties on themselves.

In tennis going through the ranks, there are no officials and you call your own lines.

Petzschner, like Williams, had a chance to apologize and didn't.

No class.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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