For better and for worse, the 2009 U.S. Open will be unforgettable on the ladies’ side for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, there was an unprecedented number of top seeds who stumbled in the early rounds. Secondly, the wackiness of the weather on the last weekend. Thirdly, 2005 champ Kim Clijsters’ remarkable run to the finals after a two year absence from the sport. Fourthly, Caroline Wozniacki becoming the first Danish player to reach the finals at a major. Lastly and lamentably, for what can only be labeled as ‘Serena Gate’.
The incident- Improbable that anyone watching missed it. However, here’s a recap of the events which resulted in Serena Williams being defaulted, costing her the match. After dropping serve in the first set which led to Clijsters capturing it, Serena smashed her racket and was given a code violation warning. Later, Williams facing double break point, which were also match points, was called for a foot fault. This prompted a diatribe by Serena including the statement that she would “shove the f****** ball down [the line person’s] throat”. So in accordance to the rules, the chair umpire awarded her a point penalty which left a bitter note since it was match point for Clijsters. Irrespective of the line person being right or wrong, Serena’s behavior was out of bounds.
Serena is not Venus, nor vice versa– Other than Kim, the person who deserves the most sympathy is Venus Williams because this circumstance may mark her career. Ever since their arrival on the tennis scene, these sisters have often been regarded as a singular entity. Their playing doubles at times does not help the matter. The peculiar part is that they are not even twins. At least if this were the case, it would be justified. Yet, people still view Bob and Mike Bryan as individuals. Sometimes, it’s forgotten that these siblings have divergent personalities. With that being said, it’s highly unlikely had the tables been reversed that Venus would have reacted in such a fashion. Therefore, in a small corner of Serena’s mind, she must be hoping that none of this stain sticks to her big sister’s tennis shoes.
Kids & Role Models-Whether parents like or not, many athletes have assumed the position of idols in their children’s eyes. Serena’s sorrowful outburst was certainly witnessed by tons of partisans. For mothers and fathers this is the perfect opportunity to reinforce to their offspring that this sort of behavior is not to be emulated. Moreover, that they should select tangible persons in their lives, their own parents, uncle Charlie or cousin Jane if their comportment is exemplary as their true heroes or heroines. Even John McEnroe, whom Serena cited as an idol at her press conference, known for his over the top conduct in his heydays stated he “could not defend the indefensible”. I suppose with age comes wisdom. Hopefully, Serena’s future possess the same pearl.