Is it time to ban Serena from the Grand Slams?

Serena Williams. Oh yes, Mouthy-Serena-WIlliams. Once upon a time she was World #1 (actually she was #1 five times between 2002 and 2009). 

‘She is considered to be one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time’. (I’m quoting Wikipedia there). Hmmm. I disagree. The quality of her game may be comendable, but her on-court behaviour and outbursts towards other players and the umpires is a disgrace! She is far from a world-class player.

Note to Serena: Lacking respect makes you a pretty poor tennis player.

Personally, I’m fed up with watching her parade about on TV as though she is superior to all others. Get off your podium Williams! The interviews that she gives send shivers down my spine.

So, this year’s US Open Women’s Final had to be degraded by Williams’ rant to the umpire, Eva Asderaki. Williams, who was playing against Australia’s Samantha Stosur had returned the ball and (thinking she’d won the point) shouted “Come on!”. The only problem was that the ball had not bounced twice – therefore she had lost the point. This all happened at an important break-point moment in the match (in favour of Stosur). Williams being Williams, she became angry with the umpire and made several gestures and snide remarks about her during the next several games, warning her, “Don’t look at me,” and telling her that if Asderaki ever saw Williams coming toward her, she should “walk the other way”.

Even in defeat she is graceless. She couldn’t even hold her hand up and accept her mistake or any responsibility. Instead she said “I hit a winner, but I guess it didn’t count,… Hmmm – such sarcasm. I’m glad she was defeated. I would imagine that Stosur has a little more dignity.

Just who does Williams think she is? It was only two years ago that she was playing, yet again at the US Open (2009), when she started ranting at the lineswoman after a foot-fault. It resulted in the infamous “I didn’t say I would kill you. Are you serious?” comments being caught on microphone…. Oh the shame! I felt so sorry for the lineswoman that year, and for Klijsters who had her comeback tainted by Serena’s selfish outbursts.

World Tennis can do without threatening behaviour on court. High emotions and a thirst to win is one thing – but Williams is something else.

15 thoughts on “Is it time to ban Serena from the Grand Slams?

  1. Hmm. I think you are a little bit harsh. Tennis has had its fair share of tantrum queens (John McEnroe, anyone?) and they get fined and quite right too. But I think banning her would be a complete overreaction, given that similar outbursts against the referee in, say, football, are far more common and would hardly ever be judged so harshly. I find Serena unpleasant and arrogant, sure, but to be honest I think she is judged far more harshly for her behaviour than other sportspeople, and a lot of that is to do with the fact that she is a woman.

    Also, she hadn’t actually lost the point in question – it was just that the ball was still in play, so according to US tennis rules any loud shouting is counted as trying to put your opponent off. If she’d kept her mouth shut she would have won the point – Stosur managed to clip the ball with the racquet but there was no way she would have been able to return it. Clearly the umpire was correct but I can also understand how a player in trouble in a match and needing to pump herself up a bit could easily fall foul of this rule, and how frustrating that must be.

    Saddest thing is that everyone is talking about this rather than about Stosur’s remarkable achievement and the brilliant match she played.

  2. I’m not a tennis fan but I agree totally with you Jamie…
    These tennis players are supposed to be “Professionals”, so remember that this IS their day job.
    If you or I went off on a big mouth screaming tantrum at work we’d be fired because that sort of behaviour is deemed unexceptionable, unprofessional and is not tolerated in the workplace.
    How is her workplace any different than ours? I.. and if you agree to double standards then where do you draw the line?

    Plead stress of the moment? Come on, get real, people like her “work:” in the public eye for a few hours every so often, …tell your story about stress and fairness to the person being abused daily in any customer complaints department ( who have to grin and bear it) and you’ll hear tales of that they have to put up with that makes excuse Williams might have totally pathetic.

    Harsh because she’s a woman? No, if anything I think that the rules on ALL professional sports people should be tightened to to the point of zero tolerance,
    After all, they are millionaires who are also role models for kids and ambassadors for their sports as well as for the various products they endorse.
    I expect MORE from people like her therefore, than from professionals in other walks of life.She should be made an example of .. it might deflate the heads of any professional sports people who are totally unable to show any respect for other players, officials or genuine sportsmanship and give them a sharp reality check about behaviour expected of professional people.

    At the very least she should be forced to make a long public apology for her lack of manners and for being so arrogant… maybe a VERY large fine would also hammer the point home.
    Congratulation to Stosur, what a deep deep shame this match will be mostly remembered for all the wrong reasons.

  3. I don’t think I said her workplace is different from ours. I stated that I think it’s right players are fined in situations like this.

    Work every so often for a few hours? Um…I’m fairly sure being a professional athlete is a bit more demanding than that! Not that that excuses anything, but be fair.

    I don’t think zero tolerance is realistic or desirable – just as in a normal workplace there has to be flexibility to decide appropriate disciplinary responses in individual cases. Zero tolerance effectively means you end up banning people for slightly raising their voice against the referee. The only realistic and practical course is to have guidelines in place to decide responses – which inevitably means that sometimes decisions may not be good ones (as in this case – the fine is ridiculously low).

    And I’m sorry but I do think she gets more flack because she is a woman and women are still expected to be more docile than men. Footballer behave as badly as this and far worse on a regular basis, but to attract this level of vitriol they have to aim a flying a scissor kick at a fan.

    As I said, I think Serena is arrogant and unpleasant. I don’t defend her, I am glad she lost, and I think her fine was desultory. But banning her would basically be a witch hunt that would achieve little.

  4. Healthy debate. The first on my blog. I like it.

    I feel like I’ve stepped into the an umpire’s shoes. Game on. I wouldn’t dare state a score so far.

    Interesting points and all valid. I never actually considered the foul comments that come from footballers. It’s true that the comments that ‘flow’ from their mouthes are often extremely distasteful to say the least. Swearing, gestures, and more….

    I wonder about the amount of flack Serena gets. She’s made a rod for her own back in many ways. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that makes he ‘vulnerable’ (for want of a better word) to negative press.

    Coming back to the rants of a tennis player. Agreed – there have been lots of players through history who have shouted at the umpires and linespeople. I don’t disagree that in the heat of the moments and in the excitement of a game that the player wants to vent frustration – however, I don’t recall any other player having ‘threatened’ someone with their outburst. I stand corrected. I’m also not suggesting that she meant what she said – but a threat being shouted is quite different to “You cannot be serious!” being shouted along with a bash of the raquet.

    It’s true she ‘should’ be a role model to people. That’s part of the bargain of getting into sport (I think). Also, it’s true that YEARS of effort go in to building a career that she has. I hope that she reflects on her experiences and manages to move on positively from the whole experience.

    To more positive things – Yes, Sam Stosur is a fab player and should not have her win overshadowed.

    Thanks to you both for engaging in my writing. I’m pleased to have produced something that can spark outrage, debate and also open up alternative views for me to think about too.

  5. hey jimmy thought id drop by and see how you’re doing.. long time no see eh?

    Glad to see you are on top form with your writing..

    I like a little ranting on the courts… otherwise it can make some games very boring indeed… 😛

    • Welcome back after a long pause. How are you?
      I’m glad that you’ve popped back and commented. The writing is going really well, thanks. I love it.
      Ranting, oh yes – we all love a bit of ranting. Not sure I like ‘threats’ included in the rant though…..

      • apart from the incident with monica seles, when she played steffi graff, where she got stabbed by a mental spectator… there never really has been violence in tennis… apart from John McEnroe throwing his racket about.. so i dont think you really have anything to worry about jimmy 🙂

      • I remember that incident with Monica Seles – scary! I heard that she never played tennis in Germany again after that. I’m glad there is no more violence in tennis. Tennis is one of the more ‘respectable’ sports. There is a certain level of behaviour ‘expected’ in tennis. McEnroe – well, he was a drama queen.

        And – who’s Jimmy? Me? Haha – you’re too funny.
        Jay x

  6. Great debate!!

    I actually think this type of behaviour shows a total lack of regard and disrespect for colleagues that is just unacceptable. And it’s unacceptable whatever the job title. Be it footballer, tennis player, office worker. Be it by man or woman.

    The reason she gets away with it is because she’s so successful and for some it makes ‘good TV’.

    I think fining her is good – but even better would be a suspension, perhaps enforcing her to go on an anger management course if she states she can’t control herself and with no improvements in her behaviour I do think she should no longer be allowed to play.

    • Great debate indeed. I should have started a poll. I see that you said “for some it makes ‘good TV’” – oh dear! The things that people enjoy on TV these days. I’m all for a suspension and not a full outright ban. The problem is she tends not to admit to her faults.

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