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September 14th, 2009
10:39 AM ET

Serena Williams' tennis outburst under review

A profanity-laced outburst by tennis superstar Serena Williams could cost her a lot more than originally thought. Williams has already been hit with a $10,000 fine for swearing and waving her racquet at a line judge. She was also fined an additional $500 for racquet abuse when she threw her racquet and broke it earlier in the match.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated calls Serena Williams' outburst unprecedented."]

The incident with the line judge occurred after she was called on a foot fault in the semifinals of this weekend’s U.S. Open. If officials decide Williams committed a major offense under the Grand Slam rules, she could lose all of her prize money and maybe even suspended from a future Grand Slam event.

Jon Wertheim has been covering the U.S. Open for Sports Illustrated where he's the senior tennis writer. He joined John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Monday. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.

John Roberts: Have you ever seen anything like this?

Jon Wertheim: Not like that. And certainly not from Serena. We've seen players lose it with officials but to get that close and threaten like that. Also, at that stage – a Grand Slam semifinal. That was unprecedented as far as I’ve seen.

Roberts: There is no clear angle that I have seen on the foot fault. Apparently that line judge, though, she's very good. She's very confident in the calls that she makes. Serena had been called for a foot fault a couple – three games earlier on the other side of the court by a different line judge. If it was an infraction, it was a minor one. She wasn’t a foot into the court or anything like that. Maybe she touched the line. Looking at it, John McEnroe said you don't call something like that at that point in the game. It was 15-30 with Serena serving, and she touched the line. Should that even have been called?

Wertheim: I mean, you know, in a perfect world it never happens, but I don't think you can waive off infractions. You get on slippery terrain pretty quickly when you make calls or don't make calls based on where you are in the match. I mean, you're either over the line or not. Unfortunately, you wish one way or the other there was conclusive video. It was a pretty shaky call, but that in no way excuses what followed.

Roberts: You see her when she's serving up the second serve there she lifts the toe of her left foot, does it wander over onto the line? It’s really unclear. In the press conference afterwards, which you were at, she didn't say whether or not she actually foot faulted. She said maybe I did. She didn't apologize but talked about the encounter between her and the line judge.

She said, “I think she said I would kill you and I was like what? I was like wait a minute. But then I had misheard, she had never said that. That was just something - I was like whoa. I was like wait a minute. Let's not, because I'm not that way.”

Maybe she didn't say “I'm going to kill you,” but what she did apparently say, because we've seen it on camera, “I swear I [expletive] want to take this ball and shove it down your [expletive] throat.” You were at that presser. What did you think of her appearance?

Wertheim: She had calmed down considerably, which is good. But you would have liked to see a little more contrition. This was a pretty big violation. … This was way over the line. Serena had calmed down and was even sort of joking about it but not a whole lot of apology. That was disappointing.

Roberts: John McEnroe, famous as one of the bad boys of tennis when he was playing, said you can't defend the indefensible. Look at what McEnroe has done over the years. I was reviewing an old match that he had with Lendl and the umpire called an ace and McEnroe comes over and there's so many expletives coming out of his mouth it’s really unsuitable for television. He was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. What's the difference between the way he behaved and how Serena behaved on Saturday night?

Wertheim: He faced consequences. I don’t think there’s a double standard here where people turned a blind eye. Also, I don't recall John McEnroe approaching the official and making a physical threat like that.

Roberts: So what do you think is going to happen? Sportscaster Mary Carillo was mocking the fine that was assessed to her. She says she could be suspended from the game, at least suspended from a Grand Slam event. What do you think?

Wertheim: I think maybe there's a creative solution. I mean, a fine is going to be silly no matter what. She'll make $500,000 this tournament alone. $10,000 is chopping money. By the same token, she's done an awful lot of good for the sport. We've seen players whack balls at fans in anger and not be suspended. I think a suspension is hard to justify. But there’s got to be another alternative there. Clearly, this needs to go punished but I think there are options other than a fine or suspension.

Roberts: She has new book coming out this week, "On the Line." She's supposed to be here on Wednesday to chat about that, so we'll see if she makes it. Hopefully we'll get her side of the story.

Filed under: Sports
soundoff (522 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Why is it that we feel in today's society that everytime someone makes a mistake it must be handled with unprecedented measures? Especially with professional athletes. Serena made a mistake that she paid for, with respect to losing a point (and ultimately the match) and being fined subsequently. If tennis comes down on her while backing commercials showcasing McEnroe's antics then it would be setting a double standard that is unacceptable and unjustifiable.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  2. Ben

    just my thought – you couldn't be more wrong. The "girl" you speak of beinf out is one of the reasons the williams have been so good...Clijsters is one of the best tennis players in the world. The fact that she has come back after a baby, and KICKED THE SNOT out of both williams sisters after only 3 tournaments is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, possibly one of the best tennis stories EVER! The fact that you have to make it about race says a lot about how you value race...probably talk all day about how other people are racist when in fact it is you that are stirring the pot...not the people "who can't take 2 black tennis players!" SHAME ON YOU!!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  3. Dan

    "Serena did NOT threaten…she said I would LIKE TO shove the ball down your throat….sorry, folks, but that’s not a threat. It really isn’t. She just said what she wanted to do, not that she was going to do it…and I know most Americans have no idea what free speech is, but this is an example. As for the line judges at the Open … notoriously the worst of all Slams."

    Hey "Frank Blocker": How about you walk up to a police officer, or maybe the president, and NOT threaten them the way you say Williams didn't threaten the official? How about you walk up to a female co-worker and tell her what you'd "like" to do to her, not what you "will" do to her? Freedom of speech doesn't cover threatening people, regardless of your silly manipulation and semantics.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  4. Tony

    This happens to anyone who is an elite competitor. Don't even assume you know how she felt because you play tennis at your local park or rec center. Its completely different. Ask Tiger Woods, Micheal Jordan, etc. Don't believe me then check this out.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  5. Tara

    I am a loyal fan of the Serena and Venus. Yes, Serena behaved inappropriately. She is human and we all make mistakes. Serena has throughout the years behaved appropriately. She is not a criminal and has many attributes. I will remain a loyal fan of hers. It amazes me how folks have minimized John McEnroe's behavior. I am sure that if John had behaved as Serena, the situation would have been minimized. We all have made mistakes!!!! I am sure that Serena will exhibit her professionalism in the future. Our country has more problems to worry about than Serena.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  6. south central joe

    Finally we see the REAL Serena from the ghetto known as South Central L.A. You can never hide your roots. I'm surprised she didn't pull a knife!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  7. Andy

    Whether your a fan of Serena or not I think you can agree that none of us have been in that position before so its hard for us to past judgement on her. If you were in a grandslam semifinal and have been under that sort of pressure, then maybe you could past judgement. She was playing poorly and lost her temper, thats it. How quick we are to say she should be BANNED in capital letters and ourselve act viciously and immaturely. One thing she was right about in her press conference was that it happened, lets get over it.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  8. dave

    Does tennis need the williams sisters more than they need tennis, apparantly so. LOL

    September 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  9. race card

    OK, if you want to bring the race card, how about asking these questions:

    1) Could Serena be racist against Asians? Has anyone investigated her past?

    2) If the line judge had been black and looked like her mom, would she still have cursed at her and physically threatened her?

    Who's racist now?

    September 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  10. Betsy

    Suspended??? You people are crazy! There was no violence here. Look at baseball, hockey and basketball games where players get into actual physical fights. Racism or not, this is now about elite tennis prissies being horrified about an unfortunately outburst by a powerful woman (that resulted in no one getting hurt). Yes, she should have gotten a violation, but suspension? NO WAY

    And why didn't Gonzalez get a warning for busting his racket earlier in the day? Did you all cry for the woman who threw a ball at spectators earlier in the year to be suspended?? Inconsistencies abound!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  11. Kate

    Serena's meltdown should result in a significant fine (not a measly 10k) but she warrants a suspension as well. She was both intimidating and totally out of line to walk towards the lineswoman with her racquet pointed at the official and threatening to shove a ball down her f-ing throat. I was at Wimbledon in 1977 and witnessed Ilie Nastase's out-of-control behavior on an outer court during one of his matches. Yet, although he threw chairs around, screamed and yelled but never advanced toward an official. McEnroe, of course, had many on-court trantums but I can't recall the physical threatening of anyone in tennis.
    What makes Serena's indifferent and non-apologetic press conference and her subsequent written statement so galling is the fact she isn't in the least bit remorseful or apologetic for what she did. She doesn't get it, plain and simple.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  12. Bob Dog

    Lets also hope Sports Illustrated doesn't take a bribe this year to but that brute Serena into the swimsuit issue, which has happened in the past. She looks more like an east german shotputter than a woman.

    But all is not lost. I think any number of NFL teams would love to have her on their defensive lines, perhaps as a pass rusher or a linebacker. She could make brutal tackles, issue threats, and rule through intimidation and force.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  13. yaya

    O yeah ban Serena so you'll will not have to cheat to win.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  14. Joan Wheeler

    In the law, when someone threatens another person, it is considered a 'terroristic threat" if the person has the means to carry it out . Serena did make threatening gestures with her racquet and did have the means (physical proximity and size, etc.) to carry it out. The lines person was a very small woman and I'm sure she was quite frightened. Serena was aggressive, verbally abusive and obviously out of control. What a disgrace. Even Johnny Mac, with all his verbal abuse of officials, never threatened them physically. His arms were always at his sides when he argued with lines people. Sticks and stones ....... etc.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  15. Don Anderson

    As a black male, I take deep umbrage to those who call me an idiot because I identified the elephant in the room: RACISM!!! Those who want Serena suspended or banned dont want a BLACK woman to make money and they are RACISTS!!! Qualified blacks like myself dont get opportunities and when we make an peccadilloe (as Serena did), SOME folks trounce upon us and use it as a paradigm to make a generalization about a group of people!!!

    STOP IT!!! Leave the successful sister Serena to do her...onward and upward toward the light!!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  16. Tom

    its always interesting to see how people pull racism into everything. Serena did a wrong thing. John M and Jimmy C. also did and said bad things. ALL ARE WRONG. but these times, people are so worried about being politically correct in real life, they come out of their shells online.

    Serena has been punished for the incident. MOVE ON! an apology wont fix things that has already happened. Many think that saying the most spoken word "SORRY" fixes every wrong. it does not! all it does is make the politically correct people look better. If she said sorry in the press conference, then people would comment that the sorry was not from her heart but rather for her to look good since her book is coming out.

    For parents who want her to apologize so that kids feel better, tell your kids that these are the actions they should not do on the court. I grew up watching Johny and Jimmy go off on umpires. I was amused all the time watching those tirades. But I have never ever gone off on an umpire. I bet 90% of todays tennis players grew up the same way and all we could come up was Andy Roddick and Gonzalez? Teach your kids by example of your own life, they absorb their character for you rather than these high flying sports men and women.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  17. John Conley

    Let tennis players play the game, especially matches with high stakes. other pro sports let the players play, and officials are smart enough to know not to nit pick. yes, serena overreacted, but she is competitive like any other pro athlete, esp. since she is a m ajor tennis figure. foot faults are too subjective, and in need of instant replay. I've been watching tennis on TV (and play it) for nearly 35 years

    September 14, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  18. Thomas

    No excuses, she gets paid big bucks to act like a professional and be world class.. she failed misrably and even worse continued to act like a spoiled child. An excuse should be made of her. Period, end of story.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  19. alonza

    give it a rest was she wrong yes banned for life,not taken away no way.was the call personal?

    September 14, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  20. mabel floyd

    this kind of conduct is the in thing today-courteous is out–polite is out–tattoos and guns are in. insisting your way must be followed by everyone or you have the right to be violent, ie antichoice–yelling at the pres of the united states during his address to congress–refusing to let children hear the pres since if they heard the pres they might respect him and they are busy teach their kids to hate him.
    serena and that guy who felt free to go on the stage and yell in the face of the young lady who had won an award and he did not agree with the choice are just following the crude tenor of the culture today. VERY SAD!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  21. Dianna

    Serena should be GONE!!!! Not even allowed to play doubles today! Not able to come back to the Open next year!!!!!

    She needs to apologize also!!!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  22. Trevor

    For those that say the call should not have been made, would you say that if a basketball player toes the line (lane violation) on a game winning freethrow the officals should look the other way?

    September 14, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  23. LaJuan

    OMG! Double Standards get over it she yelled at an official, people how many times have we said things in the heat of the moment. CHILL OUT

    September 14, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  24. They Call Me Forrest

    Venus and Serena Williams have saved the game, made it more popular than ever, were forces for equal pay for women at Wimbledon, and have raised the "purses" for all players.

    Let the rest of the women pay the William's ladies a commission for how much they've done to enrich them. Serena can pay this silly fine out of those proceeds.

    John McEnroe was an order-of-magnitude worse in his temperment ... at a time when tennis was even more civil ... and he never faced something like this.

    On a match point .... or anything close to it .... if a foot fault is going to be called, it should be an unmistakable violation that gives the transgressor an advantage.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  25. Kevin

    One, leave race out of this incident. Two, if this was a foot fault then you call it whether it was the first point or match point. I've been a sports' official for over 20 years and I get bored with individuals that want to get away with something late in the game/match because the score is close. People don't want to be penalized because it "affects the outcome of the game." If officials don't call these things then the "cheating" player or team affects the game in a more harmful my opinion (it should be noted that "cheating" here could be intentional or not). Third, if a football, baseball, or basketball player did this to an official they would be suspended. If tennis officials don't do something like this beyond a VERY minimal fine then it becomes open season on officials for athletes that can afford it.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  26. Enrique

    If a player abuses his/her racquet fine them, PERIOD. And please do us all a favor and "do not" make a race issue out of it.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  27. Bob Dog

    Serena should drop out of tennis and go into the NFL. He bulk and power would make her a great outside linebacker.

    But she also had brutal power and a terrible temper. She might also want to be a defensive end, rush the passer, and get a few sacks. There would have to be alot of interested teams.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  28. Jackie in Dallas

    Perhaps the the entire money purse she was slated to get should be given directly to a charity of her choice...and she should be forced to take anger management classes.

    Tennis is not like football or baseball or basketball - it is supposed to be a cultured, civilized sport. It was bad enough when McEnroe was the bad boy - somehow it seemed less jarring for a man to be so rude and crass. Serena shouldn't take up channeling his bad temper and expletives. Disagree, fine, question a call, fine, but do it with class, Serena!

    Of course, it does beg the question why there wasn't a camera angle being filmed - at least for the use of the judges - that would show, once and for all to see whether Serena DID line fault. Overhead cameras, and ones focused on both serving lines should be employed. Then, should a player question a call - politely - both views could be used to validate the call.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  29. Race is still an issue!

    I can't believe some of these posters calling for Serena to be banned forever. They must be in the same league as the ones who can't let Michael Vick have a second chance. I see it as being RACIST!

    People are all concerned about their doggies and tried to make pitbull fighting an Urban thing, but it didn't start there and Louisiana only recently banned cock fighting. I didn't see this level of outrage at the people who took government $ for the Katrina animals, only to leave them in atrocious situations either. And the Godfather of dogfighting was White, but I didn't see the outrage when he was arrested:

    [He's been called the "Godfather of dog fighting," the "dog fighting don," and even the "Babe Ruth of dog fighting." Since March 9, Floyd Boudreaux is being called something else: an accused felon. On that day Louisiana State Police arrested Boudreaux, one of the most infamous dog fighters and breeders in the United States, along with his son Guy.

    The arrests, which sent shock waves through the dog fighting world, were the culmination of a three-month effort by state and federal law enforcement agents, The Humane Society of the United States and the Louisiana SPCA.

    Father and son were both charged with 57 felony counts of dog fighting and two counts of animal cruelty, following an early morning raid on Boudreaux's property in Broussard, Louisiana.]

    So, it's ok for John McEnroe to curse and scream and others to break rackets, but not be called for to be banned for life, which proves my point. Maybe Palin should be jailed for inciting threats against Obama during the presidential campaign. Also for lying about her lying about being against the "bridge to nowhere".

    You "double standard" people need to get a life!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  30. A.J.

    I believe that Serena should be fined and lose her prize money. I would even agree with the USTA if they levied another serious fine on her, or put her on a lengthy probation. What she did was wrong. However, I do not believe she should be suspended. The board should look at the context of the situation. The score was 30-15 in the US Open Semi-Final. Serena was down but she certainly didn't believe she was out. Tensions were running high, and the umpire called a foot fault. Now, if Serena foot faulted, it is the umpires job to call it, but many of us there and even the commentators were baffled by the call as it did not look like a foot fault. It really looked like a case of overofficiating. Serena overreacted and she should be admonished for that, however, I don't think it is just to conduct a witch hunt. Let us not forget that McEnroe was glorified for his fiery temper. We should ask ourselves why that was the case? I'm sure interesting answers will pop up, ones that may even include the words, "race" and "gender".

    Congrats to Klijsters for winning as I think she deserved to win.

    And please, let's leave Kanye West out of this argument, what he did was downright wrong and absolutely foolish. That's a different story.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  31. Jack

    To Informed: You're making excuses for an out of control athlete. She was out of line and out of controls at the Oregon football player last week. It may have been the absolute worst call in the history of tennis – it doesn't matter. Her reaction was a deplorable but not all that surprising for a spoiled and out of touch millionaire athlete. Serious sanctions by the USTA are in order.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  32. sandy

    Serena was being human. Frankly I enjoyed seeing that side of her. So often in the past few years, tennis has seemed very mechanical. Seeing that the players have emotions and are passionate about their job is refreshing.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  33. Larry

    Serena has an attitude problem. She is not a good ambassador for the sport. When she loses, she rarely gives her opponent any credit. She has stated that fashion is more important to her than tennis. She is a fantastic player but any praise for her beyond her playing ability is unwarranted.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  34. Saundra

    Racism in a commentary.
    Black athletes are more likely to be demonized over the same behavior shown by non-black athletes. Black athletes are more harshly criticized, rebuked, and punished for their behavior than white athletes. Even the terminology used to describe the incedent had overtures of racism "unprecedented". Her actions weren't unprecedented but have become part of the sport. There is a long long history of outbursts on the tennis court. Maybe every one should take a closer look at the line judge that made the call. Maybe Serena's outburst was somewhat justified. Maybe the officials are trying to cover up the bad judgement call by focusing on the reaction instead of what initiated the reaction. Jon Wertheim wants to casually dismiss the line judge call but you can't separate the call from outburst that followed. Please scrutinized your commentators before you let them speak on air. He was so critical of Serena and used double speak when decribing her actions as opposed to the actions of other tennis stars that I question his motives for calling for a bigger sanction against her. Maybe his racism gene needs to be monitored.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  35. Lisa

    I think some of the fine money should be given to the poor line judge. That poor women was probably scared sh87less. I know I would be. Regardless of whether or not it was a bad call, Serena should have challenged the call like a professional and not act like a thug.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  36. Mike S., New Orleans

    I don't think John McEnroe every physically threatened a tennis official with bodily harm, which is what Serena did both verbally and physically.

    Why isn't anyone talking about the fact that there were hundreds of witnesses in near proximity to Serena, and when she said "I didn't threaten to kill her" many of them shouted "Yes you did Serena."

    Bigger fine, no paycheck for this year's open.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  37. Dianne

    Racial? Here we go again, the famous cry. She should have been banned from participation in the doubles, fined heavily and made to apologize to the line person and then we all move on. She has no remorse for what she did, you could see that last night. If she doesn't apologize then she should be banned for a longer period. Problem here is she thinks she's bigger than the sport.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  38. Missy

    If this was a guy acting up on the court it would not be an issue. We see athletes in football, basketball and other sports mouth off all the time. She needs to pay her fine and that is the end of it. To suspend or ban one of the greatest female athletes in the world is just sexists and racists.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  39. StLouisMAN

    Frank Blocker, She did threaten the judge–not once, but twice, approaching her in a very intimidating manner, screaming at her. Given the size difference, I'm not surprised that the judge wad frightened. I would have been. Needs to be suspended.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  40. big guy

    Serena is entitled to have a bad day....she had a "knee jerk reaction"....havent we all had a bad day at work?

    forfeit the prize money or donate the money to a suspension.....and let the women move on. It is what it is.

    Serena- We still love you kid

    September 14, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  41. Mavis Bank

    No excuses for what Serena did and the USTA must deal with this unfortunate incident in a condign and exemplary way. However, let's not get carried away with our biases and double standards as McEnroe and other male tennis players were serial abusers of the officials and were treated differently from Serena and probably never criticized by all of us who are posting on this forum.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  42. dave

    Fact is tennis needs the williams sisters more than they need tennis. Without them ratings and ticket sales plummet. If not for the williams sisters Womens tennis in the US would be on life support. Only when venus and/or serena compete does anyone in the US watch. There are like 3 US women ranked in the top 100 (only one not named williams). Noboby cared about womens tennis before them and when they retire nobody will care again.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  43. Daniel Smith

    I think the focus should be on the call. The call was not correct and I agree with John, you do not make the call on match point. The line judges
    felt disrespected and they are human. It's not fair and investigation should include the line judges as well. In society if we can accept this behavior from a man, why not from a woman.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  44. UGF

    It was inevitable that some of the readers would end up speculating on whether Serena's words were a threat or not, making this all quite a Clintonian moment. And we could not just help throwing in the R card. The fact of the matter is that she repeatedly insulted a Line Judge. End of the conversation. And she did not even apologize. She is a world class athlete, with such exposure, who is a role model to millions of kids. I will give her a C in behavior and an F in sportsmanship.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  45. CINDY

    Yet another tirade from an over-indulgenent prima donna. What's new? Wasn't she taught as a child to control her temper tantrums? Obviously not!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  46. Pat Lee

    Why is it when black athletes have meltdowns and say or do something that is not usually typical for them, as I believe is the case with Serena, all you "white" people feel threatened? Serena did not put her hands on the official nor did she throw anything at the line judge, so what's the big deal. Serena lost the match, that should be punishment enough. What about John McEnroe and his antics? I think he's great! Really, all this talk about banning her is ridiculous! The Williams Sisters are women's tennis right now. If it weren't for them, who would be watching or going to matches? Either you want them to win or you want them to lose. Either way, you're watching. What's the real issues with these young ladies? People have made comments about them from how they look to insulting their parents. How much do they have to endure to be respected for what they've accomplished?????? And yes, they have other interests away from the tennis court. It's called having a balanced life. C'mon people, get real!!!! What most of you have to do is be honest about the real reasons you don't like the Williamses!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  47. s.k

    Yes, Fine is not going to work at all for these top players. If you really want to teach a lesson and send a bold signal to the sports world, suspend her for an year or so. Because, being a top player she should lead by an example as lot of youngsters look up to her and follow this sport. Also, please don't bring racism here, there is no room for it to discuss.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  48. Claude R

    She should at the least be suspended for a period of time from grand slam event. If the average person, like most of us, spoke and acted that way at our employment, we no doubt would be fired. Why should she be treated any differently, because she is in tennis and makes far to much money. Band her from the courts.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  49. Joe

    Maybe the John McEnroe tapes should be reviewed before coming down hard on Serena?

    September 14, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  50. JJ in NY

    It shows Serena's true colors.... that of a sore loser !

    Serena acted like a petulant and spoiled little child, and she should be penalized accordingly . What does it say about the integrity of the game if there's a double standard for the "superstars" ?

    September 14, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  51. Casey Joan

    Go check back and see what all the good old boys used to do and say when they got a bad call. Leave Serena alone – continuing to rant about this is in the same poor taste as her outburst and leaves the door open for sexist and racist charges. She moved on and now it is about time that the media and press move on. ENOUGH!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  52. Liberty

    Serena should have known better. Not simply about her outrage, but that the media has longed itched to find fault with her and her sister Venus (the black bullets of tennis). They do not fit the traditional look that many Americans feel is represents success in this country. She had to know this. She and her sister are too successful and too Black in a field that whites used to dominate. Shame on you Serena for taking the bait...shame on the media for looking for it. As far as sanctions, she has been fined according to the game, it is enough, she nor is any sports figure a role model.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  53. StLouisMAN

    She should get suspended. How long? NO sure, but she did threaten an official and she looks like a giant! She could easily injure someone in a fit of rage.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  54. Jennifer

    Hello John McEnroe?! These comments suggesting Serena should be suspended indefinitely are absolutely ridiculous. She has done an amazing amount for the tennis, along with her sister (of course not all by themselves, but have made a major contribution). Her actions were terrible and completely indefensible, but definitely NOT unprecedented! And to suggest she be banned from the sport is equally terrible and ridiculous. John McEnroe was not only not banned, but he is celebrated! I do not know if it is because Serena is a woman or because she is Black, but something is wrong here.

    Also, this "outrage" that is being tossed at Serena reminds me of what is being thrown at President Obama, or even at Tiger Woods at times. A top ranked tennis ranked golfer....and President of the United States. These are not positions ethnic minorites typically held. And some people are mad about it. Their "country" is being taken from them and they "want it back." What's really happening is they are scared and feel like what is "rightfully" theirs is being taken away. I'm not saying that all of the people calling for Serena to be banned or indefinitely suspended are racist, but let's take a look at ourselves for a moment at all of this hate that is being spewed by the left and right. I think we can admit there may be a racial element to the discussion (which is COMPLETELY different from being racist). This county is so divided, and yes, I think latent racial prejudices or feelings are being expressed is almost everything these days, even tennis.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  55. Mary in CT

    Comparing Ms. Williams' bad behavior to past bad behavior by Mr. McEnroe is a shoddy attempt to justify a professional athlete behaving badly. Mentioning that she usually doesn't behave this way or that the foot fault was a bad call are weak excuses and are also again, trying to justify and excuse bad behavior. This type of rationale is enabling and sending the message that unprofessionalism is okay if you have a "good" reason.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  56. Rahni Oates

    Serena Williams acted as a human when encountered negativities. Presently, I see a double standard here in tennis. When John McEnroe played he use to get angry at the linemen and scream at the chairperson. As a Serena Williams fan, I feel its going too far to suspend her from future slams. This is a double standard society!!! If Serena Williams get suspended from the future slams, her fans will begin a boycott.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  57. rowdygowdy

    COME ON WERTHEIM!!! You've got to be kidding me! This is not unprecedented. JOHN MCENROE went into a tirant every time he set foot on the court! This went on for years. And guess what, he ended up with a job as a tennis commentator....what a joke. Fernando Gonzalez did it earlier in the day. No penalties imposed.

    Venus and Serena had foot faults called on them throughout the entire tournament. Venus had 6 foot faults called in her first match. Serena had one called in her 2nd match. She stared the linesman down to let him know that you started with my sister so don't start with me. There is indeed a conspiracy against the Williams sisters!

    Serena may have been over the top with her actions, however, the foot fault call was bogus, unacceptable and very suspect. Everyone knows that Serena is notorious from coming from behind and winning matches when being match point down. She did it at Wimbledon.

    When will tennis get to the point that the game is just I support Serena 100%. The foot fault call should not have ever happened!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  58. Elle

    when a Conservative Joe Wilson let loose "YOU LIE" to our President, this shows how incidents like Serena William's are tolorated in our society. Serena's outburst is regrettable but a politician yelling and interrupting a joint session of Congress is much, much worse.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  59. Jack S

    I think that if a white male, aka John McEnroe did the exact same thing there would be a much milder reaction from the public. Gosh, why is this different? Because she is a woman and because she is black? I just think the sport needs to be consistent with similar past and future transgressions.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  60. Carle

    The first rant might have been forgivable, but then she came back and laid into the line judge a 2nd time. Didn't know when to leave well enough alone. That's where she x'd the line, figuratively, if not actually (as in the alleged foot-fault). She should forfeit her winnings, be expelled from all aspects of this current tournament and then be placed on probation for the next few tournaments. Sounds reasonable to me; but these days people are out for blood.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:12 pm |

    I think maybe there is a creative solution. I mean, maybe if there was a film showing that she step out over the line. This has happened to many people before her why are we making her out to be the bad person. NO one should make an out burst when some one speaks to you. You have to respect the people in charge. I don't think giving someone a fine is the answer. Maybe put that person in someone else's shoes. Have that person do there job for the day

    September 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  62. margaret clark

    Serena should be suspended from all tennis events for one year.

    She has talent, money, fashion sense and so much going for her but no class. She needs to check out Derek Jeter..........he is a refined example of a mega sport individual.........respectful of all and humble. Listen up

    Trumbull, CT

    September 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  63. Steve Vasquez

    The reality of Serena's outburst is due to her competitve nature just like Greats Jordan, Muhammad Ali, and so forth. I mean she has done alot for the sport first for being African American and being wealthy people need to realize that shes not a mean person sometimes the mind gets over taken by anger remember one thing shes a champion not once or twice many times also everyone needs to be postive and give her time we are human the last time i checked.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  64. Reggie

    I agree she was totally out of line and she should be fined and suspended. I would go as far suspending her permanently. Maybe make her sit out of the next grand slam tournament. A bar has to be set as to what is and is not acceptable. I agree with Matthew, put a camera down there so you can challenge it.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  65. Ardent

    The Williams sister have changed the face of tennis just like Tiger Woods changed the face of golf. It is no longer so boring as viewership has skyrocketed. There are many haters that want the weaker to have a chance in tennis again so by any means necessary they would like the truly talented to be at as much a disadvantage as possible. The call was wrong. Williams' behavior was wrong. If Serena apologizes, that would be ridiculous as she has been punished too much thus far as it is. She's a woman. I thought women were equal. McEnroe had regular meltdowns! Very much a double standard...

    September 14, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  66. ds vicent

    Ladies & gentlemen, it's called sportsmanship! Serena showed none of it and it is something far too many of todays money spoiled atheletes display. Everyone who has played sports has had close calls go against them, but you try to handle it with a touch of decency & humility. Unfortunately, many of our modern atheletes have become pampered, catered to, spoiled, millionaire brats that feel they, because of their social & monetary status, are beyond reproach regarding social conduct. It's an "in your face" Sportscenter world!!!! Live for the highlight!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  67. Joyce

    It is so disgraceful of Serena to act this way especially since the World was watching. She should be suspended for at least a year from any Grand Slam match and the fine should be a lot more than $10,000.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  68. enough


    The fact that she didn't even apologize shows that she's a disgrace, no class human being.

    Just get rid of her.

    I hope that line judge would sue her and bankrupt her.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  69. Mike

    I think if this were Wimbledon it wouldn't have happened even the racquet breaking moment i don't think she has alot of respect for the U.S. Open tournament.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  70. jason

    Shes a spoiled brat who was throwing a tantrum. She lost my respect forever. What is sad is she won't learn from it because she is ignorant.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  71. just my thought

    Ok what she did was not good at all, but look at all the other sports icons that do even more. I think that she is being picked on. They didn't want her to win anyway, just by the comments that were make about this girl being out for 2 years and just having a baby they favored her. 2 black females basically taking over tennis, I think is a little more than some can take. Obama is enough for them right now. Have a Blessed day

    September 14, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  72. K2TheX

    Seriously? Some of these folks who are saying 'unprecedented' and 'ban for life' are either idiots who are clueless about tennis history or something less charitable.

    By no means should she go unpunished. She should get exactly the same punishment as all the others who have done exactly the same thing before. Which is basically a fine and a knock to her rep.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  73. Phil

    All the idiots trying to make it a race issue need to let their own racism go. YES Serena is being held to a tougher standard than McEnroe and several of the tantrum throwing MALE players. It ISN'T ABOUT RACE IT IS ABOUT GENDER. The Powers That Be in professional tennis expect men to throw tantrums and they don't do anything but women are not allowed to be emotional.

    Personally I think they should hold every player to the same standard of behavior and yelling at a ref/judge/umpire should not be tolerated in any sport by any player period. ALSO saying don't call a foul at that point in the game is stupid. Either something is a foul or isn't ignoring it during certain parts of the game or when certain players are involved cheapens the sport.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  74. Amy

    I almost got the feeling in Serena's post-match news conference that she was on the verge of accusing the lineswoman of racism for even feeling threatened by her outburst. What's that called: blaming the victim? Serena seems to feel entitled to act as badly as she can get away with. She's not crazy about her job, she's just crazy.

    Female tennis fan.
    Santa Monica, CA

    September 14, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  75. Janice

    Poker players call it Tilt. It's what happens to us when things continually don't go our way during competition. It grows and grows till the player eventually implodes. That's what happened to Serena. A bad match and a likely bad call and she lost it. It happens.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  76. Orkay

    Serena should be suspended for a year...we have to build ethics not sportspersons....rules should be followed by all....

    September 14, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  77. Shakeena

    Serena should not be suspended from the game. Just like any other player, she let her emotions get the best of her. She should have to pay a fine and apologize for her behavior on the court. People make mistakes everyday, but it doesn't mean that she she be suspended from next years tournie. What happened now she not affect her game next year people. Besides Tennis wouldn't be worth watching if Serena and Venus Williams weren't playing. Let the truth be told, she and her sister are the reason why more minorities watch the game of tennis. She made a mistake, now people should get over it. There are bigger issues to deal with.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  78. jay m

    John McEnroe cursed the officials everyday, why the outrage now.Clister would have won on her on, she didn't need the help of the line judge.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  79. elleoop

    I am a huge fan of Serena, but her behavior was not acceptable. There are two things I will never forget from this match:
    1) How she pointed her finger at the lines person and used the f-bomb.
    2) How the Nike logo, so prominently displayed on her forehead, just lost it's lustre for me.
    She earned her money for the tournament, so they should not take this away from her. A fine will not curb this kind of behavior because it's shoe-money and a suspension will only hurt tennis and tick off Serena fans who just think she had a bad day.
    Sponsorship is the key. I will never be able to look at the Nike logo again without thinking about this outrageous moment in tennis. Serena tarnished not only her image but Nike's image.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  80. Josie Charlton

    No excuses for Serena Williams, but , I also have watched many matches with Mr. McEnroe and being kind to him, he had little respect for anyone when he was angry. She should apologize to the young people who idolize her. Her contributions, and lasting CAREER to tennis, not money should be the concerns.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  81. greenkathy

    I do not understand why Serena was called for the racket violation when Gonzalez was not, during his match with Nadal. The racket did not break in that case, but otherwise is was a similar incident.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  82. NHC

    I agree with Frank Blocker's comments below.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  83. JMarie

    Open note to the Line Judge:

    I cannot imagine the terrible feeling you probably guess is that you made a good call, because you would not be in that chair if you were not a proven professional.

    The tirade directed at you was completely unjustified. I hope you are able to keep your privacy and dignity - my best to you for all things bright and beautiful.

    Ms. Williams should mail $500,000 (or more, and after tax) to you with a public apology to you. A real apology. Not her self-centered tripe.

    My hat is off to line judges, referrees and umpires everywhere for the important and often thankless role they play.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  84. Anon Y. Mous

    "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

    – Martin Luther King, Jr.

    This has nothing to do with the color of Serena's skin; it has everything to do with the content of her character.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  85. C. Thornto

    This is not the first time a tennis athlete has had an outburst. Shall I bring up the name McEnroe. Move on.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  86. Ben

    Anyone saying she should be BANNED from tennis or suspended for a year is a complete MORON. Serena made a huge cost her the match and thus the tournament. She should definitely be penalized, suspended a tournament, or maybe even next year's US Open. However, that's it. GET OVER YOURSELVES PEOPLE!! Banned from tennis, seriously? You have football players that kill people and beat their wives but you want to put a more strict penalty on someone who got pissed off because of a bad call and yelled at someone in response because she has a little emotion in one of the most stressful moments in life (Yes, down 15-30 in a game that will lose you the match is a highly stressful moment then to have a phantom call against you give your opponent 2 match points!!)

    September 14, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  87. peter cohen

    Serena's behaved disgracefully. Her failure to apologise speaks for itself. She should lose all prize money won at the Open, be disqualified from playing in the doubles final, and banned from playing from at the next grand slam event.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  88. g.

    It's bad when someone(Joe Wilson) can say anything he wants to the highest position in this country and not get any punishment because his emotions got the best of him. But when Serena has a game on the line and gets a call, that obviously was questionable, that costs her the game and she also lets her emotions get the best of her they're considering suspending her. Other than the obvious what's the difference? Oh, yeah, let's not forget John McEnroe and others who have also lost their cool on the court. And the others who have heckeled the president during his speech.........wait a minute that was a first, isn' t that unprecedented?

    September 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  89. Jonathan

    How very quickly we forget Nastase, Connors and Mc Enroe – none suspended for any length of time whatsoever and the latter was habitually guilty of suspending play while he cooled off. Ms. Williams lost her cool in a competitive professional sport, happens every day internationally and life goes on.

    She has been punished appropriately by her sport administrators.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  90. Irishkisses

    Cannot compare this to any other outburst. She didn't at the line judge...she was bold enough to get into their face. She really needs suspension rather than a fine...fines are too easy to meet by these overly paid fullof themselves athelets.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  91. margaret

    It all comes down to her being outplayed, losing, and not being able to deal with it. That's all. She could not stand being outplayed by an exceptional player and her self-esteem was in question. SHe acted out to deal with it and took the joy from Kim and put attention on herself. I have seen this personally and it all stems from self-esteem and how you can deal with losing. Some people just can't stand losing.SHe is a role model for young african american girls. HOw shameful for them to see that behavior!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  92. Tanya

    Serena is not the first & not will she be the last. This was a first for her but review some of the 10 'gazillion' matches played by others in the past and see who else has done it. I guess the best way to eliminate heavy competition is to eliminate the player for lynching!!! Who knew?!!!
    Grow up people, it was surprising for a Williams sister but everyone has a bad day.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  93. Roger

    The sport needs to decide whether threatening a judge is acceptable or not. If not, the punishment has to hurt. 10,000 is not a relevant fine for S. Williams.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  94. Honest Abe

    Here come all the racist and prejudice people : "ban her for life" Why don't you people get a life. Joe Wilson disrespects the president and what..... Serena disrespect s officials and here we go.... Where are the calls to ban him from congress... Where were the bans and witch hunts for John Mcenroe? couldnt spell his name correctly. I have an idea, lets get tiger woods to throw a club and we'll kick him out of golf. or better yet lets go punish vick again. GET A LIFE!

    September 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  95. balls

    wow, one year ban? suspended indefinitley? C'mon people, the punishment needs to fit the crime. Give her a big fine, but i dont think banning her is reasonable at all. Manny ramirez got suspended about a third of a season for cheating. and you want Serena out of the game for a whole year just for swearing? i bet you are the same people that want the death penalty for those caught selling marijuana...get real.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  96. Steve from PA

    Serena was out of control and should be punished accordingly. She is so used to winning that she feels that is almost her destiny....sorry Serena, but Kim beat you hands down!

    Serena has a very good example with this type of conduct in her father; I'm surprosed this has not happened before,

    September 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  97. Michelle

    For crying outloud! The punishment should fit the crime. Everyone is ready to lock up or execute everyone who has a mis-step. Come on! How many times have you said something you realize you shouldn't have? Does that mean you should be sent up the river? Of cousre not. Since she has never done anything like this before, I think the fines and an apology are sufficiant. Anything more would be overkill.

    September 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  98. Quincy

    Serena's behaviour was terrible, however i feel she is being singled out and has been punished and berated enough...John McEnroe did worse..Kanye West is a hopeless case..Joe Wilson, the less said the better. Serena's was in the heat of the moment in a tense match she was losing ,so bear with her people. What she needs to do is publicly apologize to the line judge and maybe another fine from USTA ..but suspension is totally uncalled for and unwarranted......why are people scared of an woman but accepting of an angry man in the same sport eh?

    Serena has suffered enough and the USTA should be careful on how they handle the situation...

    September 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  99. Sue D

    Frank – get off the racism kick – people like you like to make racism the excuse for everything that goes wrong – She should have controlled her temper and chose her words more carefully – no matter what color she is!!!!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  100. Linkswords

    All I have to say is the following:

    ** Several townhall meetings were interupted with screaming, shouting and pointing fingers in elected officials face and it was labeled as "SPIRITED DEBATE"!

    ** An idiot congressman ( refuse to call his name) openly threatens & calls the President of the United States a lie and immediately apologizes to the President, but refuses to apologize to fellow House members & Senate members. Refuses to apologize to children for his actions (grade 3 through 12) so that they do not act like him. The Secret Service should have dragged him out, held him for 48 hrs. and questioned his motives. (this guy reminds me of a domestic threat)

    I am ok with Serena!!!!!! She had a very spirited exchange about what she was very passionate about.

    September 14, 2009 at 11:59 am |
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