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Stupor Saturdays 09/12/2009 - 9:29 PM


By Pete Bodo

I spent this afternoon working on a piece for about the Super Saturday concept, a "tradition" that was wildly popular with some fans, especially high rollers who couldn't be bothered helicoptering in from the Hamptons for anything less than something with "Super" in front of it  - and even for that only because it's always been the hot ticket. Anyone looking to score status points, or to hob-nob with the likes of The Donald (Trump), was always keen to get hold of a ticket for the (notionally) penultimate day of the US Open. It was just one of the many things that turned me off about Super Saturday, the most over-hyped concept in tennis.

The players have shown a remarkable deal of tolerance for the Super Saturday concept, even in its present, less lethal form (the women's final is no longer the meat in the SS sandwich; it's now a separate night session and ticket, played in television's prime time). After dispatching Fernando Gonzales in the conclusion of their rain-delayed quarterfinal in a mere 30 minutes (the cost of those 30 minutes was having to call a Monday men's final, but with the rain still falling at 7:55 pm, it looks like Nadal was awful lucky to play at all today), Nadal echoed the over-arching argument against Super Saturday:

"I think the players prefer don't play Saturday and Sunday in a row, because - for example, that's my feeling, no?" Nadal was at his charming best here, displaying a kind of tongue-tied humility, and reasonableness that wins him friends and admirers. "If one player have the same match like I had in semifinals of Australia this year, you lose the final. It's impossible to win the final, believe me. So depends on how is the match in semifinals, you lose a lot of chances to play the final, no? But it's everything the same, so that's fair."

This argument has been made countless times by legions of players, pundits and commentators. Yet the commitment by the USTA to play both men's semis on Saturday, instead of Friday (as the other Grand Slam events still have it), remains steadfast - in the face of all opposition.

As tournament director Jim Curley said yesterday, in yet another bloodletting over this issue, "From a much larger perspective, from a tournament perspective, we think that being able to have the men's semifinals on network television on Saturday and the women's singles final on network television in prime time in this country, followed by a great slot on Sunday afternoon on network television (is great). It's important from our USTA perspective to promote and develop the growth of the game. It gets to a much larger audience, and that's one of the reasons we do it."

The USTA/CBS position is more defensible than the more outraged critics acknowledge, and part of the problem is the almost reflexive cynicism with which those institutions are often regarded. But I don't buy the idea that these institutions are driven by "greed"; they're powered by the desire to succeed and produce the best product. Greed in general is for losers, and they almost invariably pay a heavy price for it (Bernie Madoff, anyone?). Whereas if you succeed, at least in an enterprise as potentially lucrative as pro tennis promotion, the rewards automatically follow. That is, doing something right, or at least in an appealing way, makes greed a moot issue. I suppose you can call the effort to maximize profits "greedy," but refusing to get the most out of your "product" isn't exactly noble, either.

If a musician refuses to tour to support an album, or a writer eschews the radio talk circuit, that's his business. But when an outfit like the USTA feels no mandate or pressure to perform at the highest level, it's downright harmful.

The one thing I'm certain of is that the USTA has managed to turn the US Open into a tournament of enormous international and domestic impact, and the experience of the typical fan visiting the tournament is almost uniformly positive - or better. I'm not sure it would be any different if the men's semifinal would be played on Friday, which is my main beef these days with the Super Saturday approach, even in the current Super Saturday Lite form.

I broached this subject in the presser with Curley and Gordon Smith, Chief Executive of the USTA, and Smith said, "Well, I don't think it's a schedule (the Friday semis)  that everyone wants by consensus, because Super Saturday has been hugely popular for a long time. . .We have talked about it (a move back to Friday). We will continue to talk about any option we have that we consider would improve the tournament. After this tournament we'll go back, as we do, and reassess all of those issues, including that one."

The important point is that the Saturday schedule, for better or worse, has become institutionalized and widely embraced. Because of the success of Super Saturday, going back to the alternating day format would seem regressive, if noble. Basically, CBS and the USTA created a monster; that the monster has been an enormous net-plus makes nostalgia for the good old days, when all of 8,000 people showed up for the US Open semifinals and there was no television coverage, seem wrong-headed.

One huge "problem" that Super Saturday-antis can't really reconcile with their point of view is that the system has produced remarkably few finals that were clearly sub-par because of the toll taken on the semifinalists. In fact, McEnroe, who played the late match in that notorious 1984 Super Saturday marathon, beat Lendl the following day (see my piece at for more details on that).

So I don't really see any way we could - or should - go back to the Friday semis, as much as I believe it's the best and fairest approach when it comes to the quality of play. We've had many top-drawer US Open finals; the complaints about Super Saturday have really been more conceptual (which is valid enough) than realistic. Another way to look at the SS dilemma is this: Isn't amazing, the extent to which the players have stepped up and answered the challenge of Super Saturday? It's a testament to the resiliance and drive of the players. Frankly, I'm kind of glad they're the kind of guys who can and will take on a daunting challenge, and find a way to surmont it.

Of course, the problems this weekend were caused mostly by the weather, and that's ignited the debate over the roof. It's funny, but suddenly Arthur Ashe stadium no longer seems so state-of-the-art, and the tight weekend scheduling only emphasizes even more emphatically how convenient it would be for the stadium to be covered. Here's what Smith said about that:

"It would be great to have a roof today, would be great to have the money to put up a roof. . . but it's a much more difficult decision than that, and the reason is that we're a non-profit (corporation). Our mission is to grow and develop the game of tennis. We spend a lot of money we make on the Open on grass roots tennis. . . so the question is, are you going to spend $100 million or more, on a roof that you might use once a year, which would be the average. Or is the money better spent promoting the game? Because over the last five years, grassroots tennis has grown tremendously, tennis is growing more than any of the traditional sports in our contry. So it's a very difficult balance to make."

What he left unsaid is that an extravagent outlay for a roof could be interpreted by IRS officials as a violation of the USTA's non-profit status. Entire teams of lawyers at every layer of government now have divisions that scrutinize the legitimacy of non-profit organizations and how they spend their money.

USTA President Lucy Garvin has a planning group studying the roof and other construction issues,  but I wouldn't expect them to come up with a recommendation for a roof any time soon (although an architectural firm has already come up with a preliminary plan).

This, too, is where the wheels fall off any theory about the USTA and CBS being in cahoots to screw tennis pros, steal our money, blah, blah, blah. . . all for their own glory and benefit. One British pressman pointed out that Wimbledon was under "pressure" from broadcasters to come up with a roof. Now wouldn't CBS have a great interest in seeing a roof over Ashe?

"CBS would love to have no rain," Smith said. "They'd love to have a roof (note to Smith: Hey, suggest that if they want the roof so much, they can go out and buy it!) . But again, going back to Jim (Curley's) point, this is the first time in 40 years that the tournament has had back-to-back Monday finals. We'll obviously take our broadcast partners opinions into account, but let's face it - there's a bigger issue in London than there is here with the rain."

Personally, this Super Saturday Lite (thanks to the advent of the prim-time Saturday night women's final) is a lot better than the previous version. One thing that always amazes me in these discussions, and they come up all the time on the much larger platform of national policies as well, is that people sometimes forget that each tennis major, like each nation, has its own indigenous way of doing things - its own philosophies, traditions, objectives, fears and aspirations that exert a shaping influence on every institution. It's as silly to expect the Americans to do something the way, say, the French do it as it is to ask the French to do it the American way.

This holds true in tennis, too. The majors are among the most cherished and jealously guarded of national sporting/cultural institutions. Has any event insisted on maintaining its organic integrity more than Wimbledon? Isn't that one of the reasons Wimbledon continues to enjoy pre-eminence?  I don't like the Super Saturday idea much, and I wish there were a roof over Arthur Ashe stadium. But I can live with what the USTA has created here, and I think the players have discovered that they can, too.

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Posted by stewakr 09/12/2009 at 09:52 PM

Any good feeds out there for the semis?

Posted by vamshi 09/12/2009 at 10:41 PM

It is such bull crap for people like Wilanders to claim that Nadal has had a tough schedule based on one rain delayed match. Federer would be playing the second Men's semi-final and in all likelihood that is going to be a tough long one. Now, who is complaining...

Posted by tina 09/12/2009 at 11:01 PM

Earlier I was so happy that I had canceled a "Super Saturday" viewing party - but now I'm sorry. This was the real ladies' "final" as far as I'm concerned.

Serena could have pulled it off, but wow -- I'm just speechless.

Posted by rock 09/12/2009 at 11:11 PM

Kim defeated Serena in straight sets!!!!Steve's forecast/predictions strikes again!!!Poor Serena.How many times steve pick murray to win grand slam,but to no avail.Everytime steve picks him,he is loosing very badly.

Posted by q 09/12/2009 at 11:18 PM

"Frankly, I'm kind of glad they're the kind of guys who can and will take on a daunting challenge, and find a way to surmont (sic) it."

So much macho BS on this blog lately. FYI women play back to back days as well, although none of the players should have to. Be glad when the players unite (possibly strike) for change.

US Open 2009=FAIL

Posted by jerkstore 09/12/2009 at 11:20 PM

The USTA blows

Posted by zephyrus 09/12/2009 at 11:28 PM

I have been watching tennis for well over forty years and in all that time I have never heard anyone go off on a linesperson the way Serena just did. That includes Nastase, McEnroe, Connors, etc. This will hurt her career unless she makes a more convincing apology.

Posted by Ian 09/12/2009 at 11:30 PM

Serena definitely deserved the second code violation and the resulting point penalty--you see could exactly what she said to the linesperson (even with the sound turned off). She enunciated perfectly and practically demonstrated with her hands what she was going to do to the linesperson with the ball.

Part of it was ridiculously funny in a bizarre, surreal way (because it's Serena) but unquestionably it was WAAAAYYYYY over the line. Not fun for the linesperson to be abused--even euphemistically--but I'm shocked that Serena lost it so blatantly on match point. Shocked that a champ of her unquestionable caliber would not have the "moment" in mind, and know the rules. She deserved to be thrown out of the event, undoubtedly.

For a champion, that brand of "losing it" is completely outrageous, in a number of ways. I love Serena, but the loose cannon aspect of her mouth came back to haunt her this time.

Too bad for Kim, but Kim was going to win that match, quite probably. Unfortunate, for Serena.

Jehovah must be *disappointed*...

Posted by sw 09/12/2009 at 11:33 PM

Serena Williams has no class. Kim was kicking her butt and was robbed of celebrating properly. This isn't the hood where one can threaten to beat people up. I predict that she will be hurt by this incident. No class whatsoever!!!

Posted by The40love 09/12/2009 at 11:34 PM

A surprise ending of the SW and KC semi!

To me Serena needs to apologize to both the line women and Kim!

Posted by Sher 09/12/2009 at 11:37 PM

[Greed in general is for losers, and they almost invariably pay a heavy price for it ]

That's kind of what's been happening in hte past couple of rain-delayed days, no? they could have had a much better schedule if they weren't so greedy.

Posted by stufen_oddberg 09/12/2009 at 11:41 PM

Reading her lips, Serena said: "I'm going to take this tennis ball and shove it down your f..kin' throat..." - then she continued to elaborate with by rule she at a minimum deserved the point penalty after receiving the warning earlier.

Posted by Corey 09/12/2009 at 11:42 PM

First off, the line judge should not have called the foot fault on that point -- if it was super blatant, yeah, but while I think the call was technically correct, it shouldn't have been called there.

BUT! Once it was called, what happened then was pretty much Serena's fault. You can't threaten line judges in front of thousands of fans and millions in the TV audience. She was going down, just serve out, let Kim celebrate, and then save your choice words for the tournament committee later.

She probably would have gotten away with it -- after all, Serena will be Serena -- but she returned to serve up another helping of "Hot Damn!" (Obscure reference to yet another classy Serena W. t-shirt, not) It was only then that the umpire asked the lines woman to relate what had been said. Just ugly, ugly, ugly and sad -- that's why I was rooting for Kim.

Posted by stufen_oddberg 09/12/2009 at 11:45 PM

Serena was serving so she had a chance to come back and win the set and the match. Tennis is so unpredictable that nobody knows what would have happened if Serena had won that service game.

Posted by Corey 09/12/2009 at 11:45 PM

Good one Joe! You've run rings around us logically.

Posted by codepoke 09/12/2009 at 11:47 PM

Thank you, Pete.

I love your writing anyway, and the blue collar, nitty-gritty reality you bring to this whole, fantastic world of tennis, but this one is really helpful. Every day I punch the clock and every now and again I'm asked to do things that would make Dilbert laugh. The funny thing is that me standing where my company tells me to stand, with my finger stopping a hole in the dike, feels stupid but actually makes us big money.

These execs have to question the Dilbert-worthiness of our requests, too. They keep hearing American tennis purists griping that no one's coming along to fill Sampras' shoes, and then they hear us griping that meaningful tennis is played during hours when people might actually watch it, and played without the dubious benefit of a (usually retracted) roof.

I really love your pragmatic love of the sport and your fair representation of all us loonies in the bin.

Posted by knownaim& 09/12/2009 at 11:49 PM

my respect for serena has increased 1000fold. the big question is did she foot fault. where is the mac cam? bring it back!

Posted by Ben 09/12/2009 at 11:49 PM

Serena lost because she's out of shape. She has an ugly sense of entitlement playing in a weak era when many of the top players either retired prematurely or are injured. She has the most talent on the tour, but can't expect to win forever lugging around 25 extra pounds. Besides, why should the fans be excited to watch players who aren't dedicated enough to try outside the grand slams or condition themselves properly?

Posted by stufen_oddberg 09/12/2009 at 11:52 PM

She acted like Connors more than McEnroe because Connors said some truly mean and nasty things when he lost his temper in a match. But in 2009 there is no room in the rules for it. Therefore McEnroe's classic collection of on-court tirades figures to be unsurpassed forever!

Posted by Bill Walsh 09/12/2009 at 11:54 PM

You never see Serena smash rackets or abuse officials, so I'm chalking this up as a rookie mistake. I really don't want to hear the McEnroe view that you suspend certain rules at match point (he doesn't think foot faults should *ever* be called), but I do wish I could see a more definitive angle to make sure the call was right. If it was wrong, well, I'd be furious, too. I might even say things that would be cause for a point penalty. And like Serena, I'd deserve that penalty.

Posted by Stewart Mawdsley 09/12/2009 at 11:56 PM

What an awful end to an incredible match. If this had gone to 3 (or even if it hadn't) it would rank up with the Dementieva/Williams Wimbledon semi as the match of the year. It was one of the best matches Kim has ever played, she won ~70% of her second serve points compared to 33% of Serena's 2nd serve points. Meaning she was winning the majority of the rallies, and playing much smarter than I've ever seen her play (she can't resist going kamikaze on a high ball lol).

The real shame is that Kim was robbed of being able to properly celebrate an incredible performance. Truly the work of another defending champion.

I will say though, while I have always disliked Serena despite her incredible ability, if I had been foot faulted to give my red hot opponent double match point in a super tight semi, I probably would have lost it just as bad as she did. In my eyes she redeemed herself by being surprisingly good natured and classy in her press conference, something she is not known for when she loses a match the regular way. She gave Kim credit for her level of play and admitted she made a mistake in losing her cool, she did not try blame away the situation. So she saves some face for me on that account.

And she is one of the few people who've ever come back from being down match points to win a major. Don't think it would have happened this time with Kim playing at a higher level, but it's a shame we'll never know.

Posted by Sher 09/12/2009 at 11:58 PM

[oh, you say he would never do that. well, i suppose you're right. after all, a guy who verbally berates the shot-spot system (see: wimbledon final, 2008 for a prime example) would never do that. after all, he's completely classy.]

Omg, the poor shot-spot system. I think Federer should apologize immediately. Hawk Eye's feelings have been hurt. It's completely the same thing as a living breathing woman!

Posted by tina 09/13/2009 at 12:01 AM

[Besides, why should the fans be excited to watch players who aren't dedicated enough to try outside the grand slams or condition themselves properly?]

Because, Ben, tennis at the professional level is, one might say, only 50% physical. Serena probably weighs less now then she did when she blew everyone away to win AO 2007, but is known for coming back from the brink, match points down, fighting off multiple break points. That's what this fan gets excited about.

Posted by fartington_gasmeyer 09/13/2009 at 12:02 AM

I enjoyed the match because neither player screamed at the top of her lungs on every shot!!! I had anticipated having to change the channel after Serena found her screaming voice but to her credit she never did.

Posted by g 09/13/2009 at 12:28 AM

Hey line judge - Welcome to NY!!! This isn't Europe. BS is BS and someone should call it how it is. Calling a questionable foot fault is ridiculous in a close to match point situation. Serena may have gone too far, but she is saying what anyone who has watched the tournament was thinking. BTW Kim had a baby, in case they did not mention it on TV.

Posted by Foot Faults Faugh 09/13/2009 at 12:39 AM

"I can live with what the USTA has created here, and I think the players have discovered that they can, too."
Thanks for being the voice of reason. I know people were frustrated this weekend, but in the big scheme of things, I enjoy the unique challenges and excitement of the US Open despite the hiccups.

But why does Super Saturday have to be about "high rollers" and class? As in the previous post about Federer's spending, this reveals more about the writer's socio-economic hang-ups than the actual subject. (Middle class American obsession with wealth and the middle brow misconception that discreet spending is how the real upper classes do it.)
As an ordinary person, who doesn't have a lot of time to watch tenns when working a job, I am grateful to Super Saturday. I also think SS is friendlier to a wider audience, who might enjoy blockbster tennis on a lazy weekend day. I also think the Saturday-Sunday tests the players' mettle in the grittiest New York way. It's not an inconvenience for players to "tolerate." They need to rise to the occasion.

Posted by Mike 09/13/2009 at 12:49 AM

This match shows what we've always known about Serena- totally CLASSLESS!!! Because of her attitude I've never thought of her as a true champion. Kim beat her, and she just can't stand. It's a shame that someone with such ability and talent has to act like a spoiled, rotten brat. Serena needs to get a clue, grow up and realize that she is not the center of the universe.

Posted by Matt Zemek 09/13/2009 at 01:03 AM


If the USTA and CBS made a new arrangement/contract to have the women's final Sunday at 4:30 (after NFL football), and the men's final Sunday night at 9pm, after 60 Minutes, a lot of the displeasure about Super Saturday and the lack of rest time would go away. Not all of it, but a lot of it.

Surely the USTA and CBS can find a better schedule plan.

This is the 21st century, after all.

Thanks for thoughtfully addressing these issues.

Posted by rudy3 (proud Rafaelite since 2005) 09/13/2009 at 01:04 AM

Its not Super Saturday, its the Men's final on Sunday that should be adjusted.

Many times for me the men's final feels anticlimatic after the big day of tennis on Sat. Plus the final is shuffled in after the NFL Opening Day hype.

The men's final of the USO is to big a deal to be given also ran status.

Move the men's final to Sunday night prime time. Its the Prime Time sessions that give the Open its indeginious personality that Pete suggests.

To me, the men's final in Sunday Prime Time, thats the answer...oh and a retractable roof.

Posted by lois 09/13/2009 at 01:18 AM

Serena, class has nothing to do with it as some of you can't wait to say, it was stupidity and lost of patience for waiting to play on all these rainy days. I am surprised that there were not other lost of tempers or even fights, maybe if they find a better way too handle rainy days this won't happen. So blame her but also blame the Tournament handlers.
Got all your messages Lynne, Red and Toonie and I am glad to greet you as treasured friends. tonnie I like lots of players like Roger,Our new little great player-Melanie, actually too many to name but Rafa is my BABY. Congrads Kim,you were and still are a Sweetheart.

Posted by Mrs Tennis 09/13/2009 at 01:27 AM

On Serena (formerly "Lady Drama"; now moved on to be "Mistress Drama":
I've been away from commenting for a while, but have kept up with the conversations. After watching Serena and Kim, I was just going to write one word to sum up my feelings about Serena. That word was going to be...In-ex-scuse-able!!!!!

But after reading through the comments here, I see that several blog-mates have some legitimate opinions about her also, so I don't feel intimidated about saying Serena really needs to get some help. For her to act like that first of all in front of her mother, then in front of her fans, and finally on international TV just confirms what I've been thinking for a long time about Serena: She really lacks character, class and humility. When she's winning, she's happy, arrogant and condescending. When she's losing, she's bratty, obnoxious, and sullen. It all adds up to make one unattractive athlete. I absolutely do not understand how she was voted fan favorite.

And while I'm on it, I'll say right now that Venus gave her the Wimbledon championship this year because of the way Serena reacted to losing last year. I've been thinking about and remembering Serena's reaction and attitude for a whole year before this year's Wimbledon, and I wondered how Venus would handle the pressure I know Serena put on her. I'm sure Serena worked Venus over emotionally. It's called emotional blackmail. And sure enough, just as I thought would happen - Venus caved. Now, there will be responses that say that Serena outplayed Venus, that Serena was the better player, blah, blah, blah. But anybody watching Venus playing through this year's Wimbledon had to have had little doubt that Venus would be holding up the trophy in the end. Not so. Little Sis pulled a tantrum last year and big Sis couldn't handle it - and definitely did not want to go through that again this year. Hence....

So, back to tonight's tournament...and another Serena loss.

To Ben @11:49 - When I posted a blog a few months ago about Serena's weight and her need to (1) lose it and (2) get in shape - I was practically blasted off the page by angry defensive blog-mates saying that Serena is fine the way she is.
Well, Serena-fine-the-way-she-is-Williams got blasted off the court by Kim-on-her-game-Clijsters. Serena needs to tend to her fitness, her weight and her attitude. What we saw tonight is the real Serena. Outed, finally.

To Bill Walsh @ 11:54 - I have seen Serena smash rackets before. As a matter of fact, one of the last rackets she smashed was a diamond racket she had won in some tournament. The commentators could not believe she had destroyed such a valuable racket. Secondly, Serena is no rookie. She's almost 30. She's been on tour for over a decade. And finally, Serena should have accepted the call, gone on to serve and kept her mouth shut.

So, let's hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Another ugly American (And I am an American, so don't think I'm biased)misrepresents American players. Serena embarrassed me tonight. She embarrassed herself. All just because she was losing and was clearly outplayed by a worthy opponent. I'll be watching Kim and the other young lady in the final. And good on them.

Posted by lois 09/13/2009 at 01:38 AM

I just read 1 of your blogs and I am very disappointed. I am sick of that word the HOOD and what is that suppose to mean. To me it sounds contrite and blatant prejudice, stop with the insults -no one is better than anyone else no matter where they come from. some of us come from as you say "THE HOOD", went to college,was raised correctly and are good people. Stop scooping certain people in a pile and making them seem as tho they are all the same. I admit what Serena did was stupid but waiting around not knowing when you will play your game can have a very negative affect on any one.

Posted by Andre 09/13/2009 at 01:46 AM

I somehow agree with Mike and I would say that Serena should be punished by Tennis Association and excluded for the rest of the year. Plus NIKE should suspend their endorsement for the rest of the year also. Money talks and that would show all the kids there who watch the game that it is something a player at that level should never do. I am 100% sure that Venus would never do that. Serena is now like a little spoiled player with a lot of money and thinks she can win with violence. Serena has no excuse and should stay home for the rest of the year reading her notes and write a new one: Violence is not a way to win, it's just a sport and losing is part of it and it's called a lesson.

Posted by Mike 09/13/2009 at 01:52 AM


Give us a break. Poor Serena, having to wait, not knowing when her match would be. I think Kim was waiting too. Why didn't we see her acting like a two-year-old? Because she has what Serena hasn't- CLASS! Serena feels like she is entitled to win, and when she is soundly beaten she just can't take it, and her lack of maturity comes out. As someone said earlier, when she is winning she is all smiles and laughter, but when she loses you see the real Serena. Not a pretty sight.

Posted by Marshall1 09/13/2009 at 02:07 AM

Don't know why Nadal is complaining again.....
If anyone can play a semi-final and recovered quickly and come back and win the championship, it will be him (see Australian Open 09)
I think the both winning semi-finalists have to play again next day if they win, but I don't see Federer or possibly Djokovic complaining.
To people who said Nadal is not a strategist, he requested playing earlier tomorrow. If it rains later in the afternoon in Fed/Djoker's match, then he will have enough time to rest. I am so sick of people saying Nadal is "simple".

Posted by Observer 09/13/2009 at 02:22 AM

It just seemed like the wrong night for tennis for all involved. There was a sense of tension and irritability in the stadium, from the weather, the stop-and-go delays, confused and worn out fans.

I think Serena wins it on a sunny Friday afternoon with a contented audience.

But the palpable stress seeped in to this woman and it ended like a bad movie on a Saturday night.

Posted by nikre 09/13/2009 at 02:28 AM

I am not sure about the "spelling" thing, but we sure learned dynasty does "end" with nasty...Such a shame.

Posted by gypsy 09/13/2009 at 02:33 AM

All Nadal does is whine and complain...the weather, schedule, etc. Has anybody else notice that the crowd always roots for his opponent? Soderling at FO; Keifer and Monfils at USO? Nobody wants a freakish (per Agassi no less) beast to win. All he ever does is to whip that stupid topspin lefty forehand to his opponent's backhand! Geez, what a thinker!! My friends and I are all rooting for Del Potro! Go Juan!!

Posted by jewell - Campaign for Fedal Disarmament 09/13/2009 at 02:51 AM

"Nadal was at his charming best here, displaying a kind of tongue-tied humility, and reasonableness that wins him friends and admirers."

It's a nice thought, Pete, but *bitter laughter* - have you read the 20 pages of comments saying "that's just his evil plan to ruin tennis and mess up his opponents!" lately? ;-)

Interesting arguments about Super Saturday...I could possibly be convinced by the uniqueness one. *frown* Although I don't want to be, really. Damn.

Although the focus is always on the men, I guess it's the same problem for the women, two, the consecutive day thing with SFs on Friday and finals on that right?

Posted by Cotton Jack 09/13/2009 at 02:55 AM


I'd love to think that this post would help stop the whining that goes on hear about scheduling and "disagraceful" rain etc etc. I doubt it. Nice try, though, appreciated from this corner.

Posted by jewell - Campaign for Fedal Disarmament 09/13/2009 at 02:58 AM


Honestly, Jewell.

Posted by Ray T. 09/13/2009 at 03:15 AM

Wow ! Broken rackets, pointed fingers, F bombs and threats of violence in only one match. Thank you Serena for finally showing that women can indeed be just as vulgar and abusive as those so-called chauvinist pigs. Maybe now, people at large will finally understand that SOME women aren't always the victims they pretend to be...what a despicable bully !

Posted by DMan 09/13/2009 at 03:43 AM


Would you please reveal exactly how much the U$TA paid you for this post?

Could you please cite 5, a measly 5 people, who don't have luxury seats, but bought grounds passes for the first week, or had tickets for Ashe in Section 304, Row O, who said their US Open experience was a good one. Just 5 please.

You say Stupid Saturday is a good thing. It's a good thing because it's all we're served with, over and over again. The U$ Open, which is run by the U$TA and CB$, only cares about TV ratings. It's all about TV ratings. And this ridiculous nonsense that having men's semis on Saturday and finals on Sunday helps 'grow the game.' Oh really? Just how does it grow the game?

Why does it make sense to play men's semis and finals (best of 5 sets) on consecutive days? When all the other majors don't do that?

We all understand tennis is second to NFL, but even when CBS wasn't doing football, they still had the ridiculous Stupid Saturday schedule.

Fans and players uniformly agree and want a revised and better schedule. Semis and finals played on alternating days.....just like other majors. But what happens? CB$ and the U$TA win. Because they get more $$$ with the current schedule. And money talks. Big time. Just like the extra ca$h you were handed for writing the fluff piece to say, "oh boy what a great concept, this current set up we have. Everyone loves it."

Americans are dumb, by and large. We like to believe things just because they are repeated over and over. WMDs anyone?

I can only say it's comforting to know the U$TA and CB$ will lose money because of the weather. And lack of a roof. Ironic because next year's ticket prices will double as a result. The U$TA will have to make up for their lo$$e$. You know they are 'growing' the game. And of course that's so evident by how many great players we have?!

Posted by hiram 09/13/2009 at 04:03 AM

The lineswoman "shouldn't have called the foot-fault"?

OK, so now linespeople should exercise their judgement of when to make calls?

The ideal linesperson is a MACHINE, with eyes and no judgement.

Posted by pogiako 09/13/2009 at 04:20 AM

Looking back, for the last 5 years Roger played 2 consecutive days and won. He always played the second semi final and not complain of enough time to rest. While Rafael requested a late first round start is complaining again for the 2 consecutive days of play just in case he wins the semi. I understand he also complained the hard court that is so hard on his knees. Lucky for him, Wimbledon and the Australian Open had been soften like a clay court fitting to Nadal's likeness. By the way, it will not be called hard court if it not hard.

Posted by hiram 09/13/2009 at 04:28 AM

Why don't they do away with let-cord rules while they're at it?

Serena was an idiot for berating a lineswoman for doing what she is instructed to do: MAKE CALLS IMPARTIALLY.

That means that the lineswoman makes the call regardless of the point in the match.

I imagine that before being employed each linesperson is asked a hypothetical question such as:

"It's match point, fifth set, 14-15, 30-40. The player serving has struggled for 15 years on the tour, lost 4 close grand slam finals, never won a slam, comes from a broken family, voted most sportsmanlike on tour, does lots of great charity work, and he's playing against the number one in the world, a nasty, unlikeable, arrogant, privileged, linesperson-abusing moron. The number one has been verbally abusing the linesperson during the match. The server foot-faults. Do you call it?"

Correct answer:


Posted by Alicat 09/13/2009 at 05:39 AM

You said it's not fair but you see no need for it to change?

And we're suppose to be thrilled because a finals match hasn't ever suffered because of the scheduling? Uh, huh. Let's wait until someone runs out to hurt a player before we work out a way to prevent it. Because we humans have no imagination or anticipation that it might be a problem in the future? Sheesh. What are you on about?

Posted by Miike 09/13/2009 at 05:54 AM

Just saying ... the 'Mike' that made the last couple of posts is not the one that the Fed KAD has posted here pretty regularly for the last 3 years.

I believe it was a bit much to be so critical (foot fault) in that situation, but it in itself didn't lose Serena the match ... Serena's outburst did, IMHO. How many times have we seen top players get hit with a borderline call at the worst times, compose themselves ... and come back to win?

Bad timing with the call ... but Serena went over the line in more ways than one.

Posted by Geraldine Straughn 09/13/2009 at 06:59 AM

To Zephyrus,Ben and Mike three a------s have you all ever done or said anything in the heat of the moment.I am not making an excuse for Serena,what she did and said was downright stupid because she is such a great player who can come back and has done so many times before,but to berate her like that is the same as she did to the lineswoman, to call her overweight and not fit is idiotic,is she the first player who broke a racquet.Sure she went too far but to dock her a point on match point is stupid and vindictive.
By doing that Kim was robbed of an outright win, we will always wonder could she have come back to win that set and then to go into a third set.Without the Williams sisters American tennis is in the DOGHOUSE be glad we have them to fly The American tennis flag pray that they do not retire just yet and hope that Oudin can follow in their foot steps she certainly looks real good.

Posted by DP 09/13/2009 at 07:01 AM

Wow, what a pathetic whitewash effort by Perrotta...
Whether or not Serena footfaulted is irrelevant.
This is about a professional athlete losing control at a crucial moment. This is about a supposed "role model" loudly and shamelessly cursing a game official in front of millions of fans and children, and then lying about it to the press. Mary Carillo was right when she said Serena deserved an Oscar for her "performance" at the presser.
Serena should be disciplined by the WTA and USTA. She should be sued by the lineswoman for intimidation and verbal abuse. She should be dumped by her sponsors. Her behavior was borderline criminal.
But of course she's beyond reproach here...wonder how long my post will last before being yanked by the PC police.

Posted by Anne 09/13/2009 at 07:10 AM

Agree. Perotta's article was a joke. Because the big issue here is really foot faults, isn't it? Good heavens...

Posted by M-life 09/13/2009 at 07:20 AM

I don't know which was uglier, watching Gonzo wait 3 days only to come out and just hand the over match without displaying any strength of will to take it (as he did not win a single point during the 2nd set tiebreak, and lost the 3rd set to love).

Or Watching Serena & Kim battle relentlessly for 2 sets, only for Serena to behave like a school yard bully and lose the match because of it.

I think Serena preferred it this way actually. She now doesn't have to admit that she was beaten fairly by a better player on that day. She would rather lose on a technicality than admit defeat.

As for those who say the line judge shouldn't have called a foot fault in that situation regardless (like you Corey). A lines judge has a a specific job, call out balls and foot faults. If he/she doesn't do they're job on a account of "the moment," then they compromise the job they were hired to do, compromise they player standing on the other side of the court, and really they compromise the integrity of the game. Everybody has a job to do, from the chair umpire, to tournament officials, line judges, and players. The game is at its best when everybody does their job to best of their ability. If the lines judge sees a foot fault- then call the damn foot fault! The topping on the cake was Serena coming out in her presser to say that she "doesn't understand why the line judge might have felt threatened?" Ridiculous & shameful.

Okay- I've reconsidered. Serena performance was by far more ugly than even Gonzo's, which is saying a lot.

Posted by leemur 09/13/2009 at 07:32 AM

Totally concur with DP and Anne. Perotta completely missed it this time. The foot fault rule is a nundane but completely necessary parameter of the game, just like hitting the ball inside the lines, and there's no good rationale for bending that rule on big points.
The real subject hear is character.

Posted by Philip 09/13/2009 at 08:10 AM

Most players usually know when they are foot-faulting, because on a regular basis most of us who actually play tennis approach the line in a particular way so that we make sure we are not committing any infractions. Secondly, to say that there is no advantage to getting a little closer to the net to serve when you are struggling to get your serve in in the first place is a lie. I've called people on their footfaults and the result is that their serves are less effective than they were when they were footfaulting.

Posted by steveg 09/13/2009 at 08:11 AM

I think many of the men's finals have been compromised in the past. Agassi's epic match against Becker on Saturday killed his chance to win a career changing match. Sampras, because he wasn't as big of a draw as Agassi, played a quick and quiet match earlier in the day and was resting by the time Agassi played his grueling match. Andre said he could barely get out of bed the next day. Also, Ferrero had to play several days in a row against a fresh Andy Roddick. The reason why Mac won his match against Lendl, was because Ivan had a 7-6 match in the fifth match as well and was ridiculously sore too. The level of tennis was severely compromised. And there are more examples to prove this point but I cannot go on.

Posted by Tom 09/13/2009 at 08:15 AM

I, too, was pretty surprised that Perotta would blame the line judge. If the foot fault rule is bad, change it through the proper channels. We can't expect lines people to call it at their discretion.

In the heat of the moment some people can't control themselves, so I don't judge Serena TOO harshly for her outburst. What is pretty lame, though, is her reaction afterward in the press conference.

Anyhow, hats off to Clijsters!

Posted by M.J. 09/13/2009 at 08:23 AM

It's funny to me how some people act as if it were a foregone conclusion that Serena would have lost. Maybe these folks have never seen Serena play before or know her history, because she's won tons of matches where she was down and out (duh). So had the foot fault called in error not been made, she wouldn't have even been down match point to lose on a point penalty; she would have been playing to even it up at 30-all, then who knows what would've happened. Now they need instant replay for foot faults because of blind old bats like that lineswoman.

Posted by TennisFan2 (vamos flying under radar) 09/13/2009 at 08:35 AM

"She should have kept calm," Oracene said of Serena. (from

+ 1 million

No excuses for her behavior - she definitely should have held it together but get real people, Serena is not the first pro to blow up and she certainly won't be the last.

If the foot fault call was made against Federer in the same situation (SF, rain delays, 2nd serve at the end of the match) people would be calling for the judge to be drawn and quartered.

Posted by Chany 09/13/2009 at 08:57 AM

You know guys ... I used to come to to see what my fellow tennis fans are talking about. And truely I am disappointed. Much like my fellow American's have been disappointing me lately with politics. Why is there so much hatred around?
The call was wrong, Serena was wrong. Serena got the penalty and accepted it. She shook hands with Kim and gave her interview. She moved on...time for us to move on.
Let's cheer on Kim for she played an incredible match and I hope she wins the Open. Nuf said from me.

Posted by Game Lover 09/13/2009 at 09:02 AM

"Anne 09/13/2009 @ 7:10 AM

Agree. Perotta's article was a joke. Because the big issue here is really foot faults, isn't it? Good heavens..."

100% agree with you guys!

And yes it's an issue of character not only with Serena but with some of the Americans at large that have self promoted themselves and her shamelessly too much, starting with all that crap that "she's the real #1" and so forth. Or with the interview of the player that lost Melanie Houdin and not the winner first (Wozniaki) etc.

Serena should be asked by WTA to publicly apologize to the linesperson, to Kim and to the tennis fans!

Posted by dean c 09/13/2009 at 09:19 AM

a recent newspaper article revealed that Serena always threw a temper tantrum when she lost at any childhood games. It got so bad that Venus would just let her win to avoid the emotional meltdowns. That must still be part of their psyche, no doubt.

If a foot fault is meaningless, then change the rule. A linesperson should not make a judgment call. A it's really a weak argument to say it was only a fraction of an inch - if it was a ball out wide by a fraction, should we not call it? The game has rules; they give structure and integrity to the sport.

Posted by daylily 09/13/2009 at 09:22 AM

Most unfortunate for Kim and Serena that the match ended in such a manner....making excuses for waiting doesn't hold water. oh puhleeze, go back and time the mens' matches at wimbles 08 and then talk to us of waiting. serena shouldn't have been foot faulted, she should have controlled herself and finished out the set in a more ladylike way and let kim have the joy of victory. now it's bittersweet and i hope kimmie takes it all.

meantime, i trust today will be the day that rafa defeats del popo and gets that particular monkey off his back, figuratively speaking. i'm delighted he gets to play first, that he had an enforced day off, and "Bubbles" and i fully expect for him to take advantage of these opportunities.

vamos, rafael!!!!! venga!

*drags walker out to patio to stir cauldron*

Posted by M-life 09/13/2009 at 09:22 AM

I didn't read Perotta's article until after I posted. Like most here, I usually think he is a pretty level headed guy but in this case, I have no idea what Tom is talking about. A rule is a rule. If they are not enforced, even if they occur against your favorite player, the game is cheapened. A reffery in a basketball game commits great injustice when he doesn't call a traveling violation against a star player. There is no way a line judge should be blamed for doing their job well. What is TP thinking, what did he smoke last night???

Posted by JWhite 09/13/2009 at 09:38 AM

I personally don't care for foot fault calls but I could not agree with you more M-life, I cannot believe what TP wrote about the issue. You cannot defend Serena for what she did not matter what the situation. And saying that the lineswoman should not feel threatend? The words comming from Serena's mouth was a threat, "I swear to God, I'll [expletive] take this ball and shove it down your [expletive] throat, do you hear me?". I believe that is a threat TP and it angers me that you would deny it. If she would have said this outside the tennis courts to someone and that individual would get the police involved Serena would have beeen charged. Stop trying to glorify Serena, it is so typical of the American media to do so.

Posted by James 09/13/2009 at 09:38 AM

When are the serious questions going to be asked about the 'comeback' of Kim Clijsters and whether or not there is any evidence of performance enhancing supplements which may have been used in her preparations. It is very difficult to believe that any professional athlete, male or female, can leave a sport for the close to 3 years that Ms. Clijsters did, and return, playing at a performance level that surpasses that shown before her hiatus. It's absolutely unprecedented. Were any types of analysis done on her body fluids? It is possible that the hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy, and the period shortly after delivery, can mask use of performance enhancing substances (after childbirth of course)? I am shocked that these kind of inquiries are not being made in the press. Being a mom makes for a kinder story, but it has nothing to do with what is happening on the court. HOW she trained is the better story. Too many athletes today for the sake of winning, cook up deceptive schemes to enhance their performance. There is no precedent for what Ms. Clijsters has thus far been able to do in her return to the tennis court. To supposedly not have picked up a rackect in 2 1/2 years, and then to WALK over everyone (including the Williams'), after only 3 matches, is quite unbelievable. I am convinced that better play (phenomenal play) through chemistry may be afoot here. Based upon her play thus far, one can now only assume that Ms. Clijsters is the best female tennis player ever.
A very fishy comeback indeed!

Posted by Rob S. 09/13/2009 at 09:41 AM

M-Life @ 7:20, you're so right - I hadn't thought about that until you mentioned it.

As with so many times before, Serena has never copped to being outplayed by anyone. Her post-loss conferences were always full of excuses on how she wasn't at her best, pseudo-injuries, etc. Never ONCE in her entire career have I heard her say, "she played well." Maybe she alluded to it once or twice, but her usual insistence of her losing the match versus the other woman winning it always comes through loud and clear.

The ridiculous ending (which I feel is the final comeuppance for Serena ) to this match will, as M-Life has pointed out, only serve as a great platform for Serena to once again dismiss a loss to a better player as situational and not related to her tennis. Of course, we all saw Kim playing in top form, and the likelihood of her winning the match on that last point was very great. It's too bad for a number of reasons that it didn't happen. And I really would have like to heard what Serena's excuse would have been if it had gone down that way. It would have been as pathetic, self-absorbed and shallow as her behavior on the court last night, I'll bet.

Posted by tina 09/13/2009 at 09:43 AM

Smashed racquets go almost unremarked upon in this day and age, perhaps because it is seen as a mode of self-flagellation. Hell, even gentleman Fed has done it! And the code violation for racquet-breaking is automatic, so you never hear the chair call it anymore.

The fact is, tennis is held to a different standard than, say, basketball or football or hockey, where the men drop F-bombs and threaten refs pretty routinely. Or simply go at one another on the field/pitch/ice.

Serena has come back from match points down so many times, if she'd kept her cool it's possible she would have done it again. I was in Indian Wells for the ugly controversy and booing of the sisters, but this was even uglier. At the end of the day, the person it hurts most is Serena herself.

When making generalizations about "Americans at large", however, I might suggest some people bear in mind that we're a nation of 350 million individuals.

Posted by comment 09/13/2009 at 09:48 AM

What a stupid text from Perrotta about Serena´s case! The lineswoman was there to take care of the rules. It was Serena´s fault, not the lineswoman! You want to ignore the rules, to ignore if someone step on the line for a fraction of an inch? Why not the same for an out? Or net? Or else? Does someone who has millions has more right to yell and threaten poor one (in this case the lineswoman) because he/she is rich, famous and successful? Or it is because Serena is an American? It is also pity that nobody had courage to do the same thing to Roddick when he has done the same thing, saying in public a lot of F words to the officials.

Posted by jojo 09/13/2009 at 10:21 AM

I'm not a Serena fan.....I like subtlety in tennis, a la Andy Murray or Fabrice Santoro and Roger Federer. I don't lik escreaming and intimidation, but , that being said, I've got nothing against Serena personally...I can see why she lost it, especially after the way she was robbed in the Capritati match a couple of years ago....that was the worst decision ever made by an umpire in the history of over-rule a correect call that was INSIDE THE SIDELINE
from ACROSS THE COURT is just about as unforgiveable as it gets.....there is a politically correct story about this call that you all should best friend is a linesman for years....he was the one who made the footfault call on Safin where Safin went off and refused to play the last point of a match ( I asked him if the foot-fault was obvious, he responded by saying it was close, but a rule's a rule)......anyway...he told me that the German woman who was in the chair when Serena was robbed against Capriati was inexperienced and incompetent, but was placed there because another woman was unavailable, and they like to have women
in the chair to give a politically correct "mix" even when there are better qualified men available....they also like to have the correct sprinkling of minorities around for the cameras as linespersons.

Posted by mick1303 09/13/2009 at 10:32 AM

Funny bits from ESPN mb:
Andre was defaulted in San Jose a decade ago, for cursing out a lineswoman at the Siebel Open. He called her a word that rhymes with "runt."
Does anyone have a clip of Andre Agassi when he hit a tennis ball at a line judge????
He is white so of course not. He wouldn't do anything bad.
Federer once pushed an old lady in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs while laughing like a mad man.
Since Fed is White the media buried the story.
Sampras once robbed a bank killing 14 people in the process.
Why do you think they called him Pistol Pete?

Posted by grimbo 09/13/2009 at 10:36 AM

I have been a supporter of the William's sisters all their careers (although I have no sympathy when they lose because of failure to put in the work). I hope, that the deserved negativity from this incident does not spill over to Venus as she is a totally different person whose sportsmanship on the court has never been called into question.

This meltdown unfortunately revealed that Serena believes that she is entitled to win because she is super talented and super strong and has generally been able (at least in the slams) to use her natural talent and strength to dispatch generally weaker opponents. In Clijsters she was matched in strength and stroke play and had she been in top condition, mentally and physically she would have won. In other words, a dead on Serena can beat a dead on Kim any day...but she was not dead she was being beaten.
She was probably so steamed from losing that she transferred that frustration to the line judge but what emerged was a horrible and ugly 'bully mentality'. She showed her true colours, including a mean spirit and unfortunately confirmed a lot of charges made against her in the past.
To whom much is given, much is expected and she has fallen way short of that. You cannot be a role model with that behaviour, you must rise above the situation with grace and class. Arthur Ashe just might be turning in his grave. She may have managed to set back his accomplishment of smoothing the way for african americans in tennis by several years.

I see a lot of references to race and class in the posts but any rational person knows that money and class do not ecplipse personatility traits so there is no need to transfer one's biases to try to explain or justify this situation. Venus is coming from the same environment and there is no one who can fairly and impartially conclude that Venus would have behaved in the same way. I challenge anyone to cite an instance of raquet abuse or unsportsmanlike conduct from venus on the court. Leave her out of this, she is not to be blamed for the recalcitrance of her sister.

I can't say I no longer support her, but I certainly will be ambivalent towards her progress on tour. She has been given too much by tennis and tennis fans to have behaved in the way she did.

I am sorry for her mother and her sister both of whom have exemplary qualities in their approach to match play and showing support.

Serena will determine what this incident does to her career. If I were her pr camp I would advise her to make a public apology, admit that she was being fairly beaten and that she lost it becayse if that, but that she regrets her actions.

That was one of the ugliest sporting scenes I have ever seen in my life. I was actually quite horrified, much less an impressionable child to whom she was a hero.

Posted by jojo 09/13/2009 at 10:39 AM

Why were all the commentators so sure that Serena was the favorite?
Did anyone realize that there were reasons that the Williams sisters lost their dominance in mid decade? And the reasons were Justine Henin, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, and Kim Clijsters.....Kim is clearly playing as well or better than ever...Serena is past her prime....Kim is quicker, hits the ball very hard (she was #1 in the world even when she didn't hit it hard), and is a proven champion, with great crowd support and no the parent confidence thing, which all the players get for one last great run....I'm not surprised at all she won.

Posted by rustam tahir 09/13/2009 at 10:39 AM

Pictures from the early rounds. Monfils, Tsonga, Querry, Cilic.

Posted by Meredith Branch 09/13/2009 at 10:44 AM

Phillip, I agree with you. While committing a foot fault by being an inch or so closer to the net hardly gives the server an advantage, having to avoid doing it adds tension to the server. she has to think about serving but also be aware of the service line, one more variable. that does make a difference.

My psychiatrist husband watching Serena's melt-down said that she'd get a 72-hour hold at a hospital for behavior like that. As a former attorney, I think she could get an assault charge against her.

Perrotta? He didn't even get what Serena said correct if you look at what other writers said.

Maybe the foot-fault is a dumb rule, but you have a have a bright line or where do you "draw the line"?

Posted by Rin_tin_tin 09/13/2009 at 10:47 AM

I think the "experts" who say the footfault should not have been called are wrong. The pro players and the expert commentators suffer from the same kind of arrogance - that they are more knowledgeable and more important than the rules of the game. Compare these additudes in tennis with those of pro golfers for example.

Posted by Jerell 09/13/2009 at 10:48 AM

James, don't be a hater man.

Chany, I understand excuse for them, but Serena opened herself up to stupidity thanks to her stupidity.
For the sake of this tournament, the men must have an epic semifinal, and Caroline Wozniacki plays well in the final.

Because what Serena did last night, as a massive Serena supporter, MASSIVE, was one of the worst things I have ever seen in sports.

And it emboldened the racists (or the haters) on her because of her stupid moment.

When Serena and the tournament director, lines person, and chair umpire were all convened together, and Serena said "She did not say she killed her", someone yelled "Yeah, you did" from the stands.

No question, Serena was clearly threatening her. The racket, the language. Yeah, she was blowing off steam and I definitely believed she would not attack her.

But still, no question she was there.

It is a moment that will haunt her for the rest of her career.

No other champion would have done that, ever.

Not Federer (despite him having his moments), not Nadal.....Not even her sister would have done something like that.

Venus would have never come close to doing something like that, at all.

Posted by arbiter 09/13/2009 at 10:59 AM

Serena said to the line person: „You squinty eyes” - isn't that racist remark?

Posted by Rutherford_B_Hayes 09/13/2009 at 11:01 AM

It is almost impossible for any tennis player to exhibit perfect behavior on the court at all times, and when one comes close the journalists criticize him for being boring! What I as a tennis fan ask of Serena is that she ACKNOWLEDGE HER MISTAKES and try to do better next time. For example, I give her credit for not screaming at the top of her lungs on every shot last night - which allowed me to watch the match without changing the channel.

Posted by Tim (The Devil Has a Laptop! ) 09/13/2009 at 11:01 AM

Serena's career just turned a corner, for the worse... im telling you this doubles match is gonna be very, very interesting, and she's got to take resopnsiblity for what happened, and not cop out with "i cant remember, Im moving on' i mean what kind of message is that to send to millions of kids who idolize her as a fighter and champion?

Posted by embug 09/13/2009 at 11:02 AM

With deference to Matt... yes, there has to be a solution other than Stupor Saturday served up per usual. The USTA says it looks to improve the tournament (USO), promote and develop the game - its only legitimate goal, and the question of quality of play threads together improvement and development priorities.

What about the players... listen to them. Nadal said there's no way to win the final if he plays the day before, example well taken was his thriller with Verdasco - one of the top matches of the year.

The ATP and WTA should step up to the plate, too. They are the players' representatives.

Super Saturday reminds me of the Roman Coliseum and throwing gladiators to the lions to entertain the citizens. I don't understand, like come on let's get to the honest part of the conversation, how the USTA and CBS - or whatever media giant it choses to contract with - can espouse their public relation oriented reasoning to the tennis community and not have one thought about the bigger, quieter, lonely secrets imbedded in their minds - profits... money... rating points... advertisers...

It's not bad to make money. But the love of money remains the root of all evil.

Stand back USTA... look to the players... listen to them. They are the foundation of Super Saturday and the super-duper U. S. Open. No healthy players, no quality matches, no tickets sold, no advertisers, no mega-media CBS.

Posted by Tim (The Devil Has a Laptop! ) 09/13/2009 at 11:02 AM

abiter, dont even go there unless you have evidence to back that up, thats just vile

Posted by BackHandLob 09/13/2009 at 11:03 AM

Players may be only only foot-faulting by inches now, but if the foot-fault rule were scrapped, they would definitely start stepping much further over the line to gain an advantage.

Posted by taijibargain 09/13/2009 at 11:04 AM

If Serena had served a let on match point that didn't dramatically affect the flight of the ball, it would and should still be called a let. I disagree with McEnroe and all the others who say that a foot fault shouldn't be called on an important point.

Posted by Gone_with_the_wind 09/13/2009 at 11:06 AM

For Serena to make the comment to the lineswoman shows that there is something seriously wrong with Serena's thinking. She acts like a bully. MacEnroe and Connors acted worse than Serena, but the rules were different back then.

Posted by Tim (The Devil Has a Laptop! ) 09/13/2009 at 11:06 AM

this schedule sucks! TWO doubles matches on after nadal? roger and Novak are gonna play at 7 pm at the earliest, because even a straight set beatdown by nadal takes 3 hours at the least with all his fidgeting around, then the womens' doubles, then men's doubles, another 3 setter you can bet, they clearly are going for the 'lets end Rogers streak at 5 titles' here ... rafa's victim stance elicits the sympathy he intends, and the favoritism, too....

Posted by Michael C. 09/13/2009 at 11:10 AM

Meredith Branch - i concur with both you and your husband. The lineswoman didn't have to feel as though Serena would actually follow up on her threat to shove a tennis ball down her throat. The sheer fact that a threat was made coupled by threatening body language constitutes a reason to feel threatened.

I cannot believe how Serena fans are making up all kinds of excuses for her tirade and behavior last night. It was completely unacceptable for a world class athlete to behave in that manner, regardless of gender or the sport. She deserves sanctions of some sort by the WTA. An absolute disgrace to the sport.

Mind you, Serena is not some hot headed 16 year old rookie, playing the tour for the first time in a pressure cooked situation. She is a tour veteran with multiple grandslams and an understanding of the rules of the sport. She HAD to know that THREATENING a linesperson was in no way going to help her cause. Ask the ump to remove the linesperson, call for the tourney ref - just something other than curse out the linesperson! I mean, really?

And to echo a lot of other posters, I am in disbelief over Perotta's article. You have just got to be kidding me. Regardless of what someone's take is on footfaulting, the rules are the rules and the lines person cannot be faulted for doing her job. Theyre there to be impartial regardless of who is playing and regardless of where in a match the call has to be made. Its been said about line calls that if the ball may be 99% out, but that means it was still 100% in. Same should be said for footfaults. Heck, Serena is a "professional". Its what they do for a living and a mighty fine living it is. I don't think its too much to ask that pro tennis players don't cross or come in contact with a white line as part of their earning millions of dollars striking a yellow ball.

Posted by Tim (The Devil Has a Laptop! ) 09/13/2009 at 11:10 AM

im cringing even thinking of what Richard Williams is gonna say about this, please show restraint, Mr Williams, there's really no room to blame anyone but Serena for this one, the best role model move of all would be for a big apology for losing her cool, and hope this goes away... a few top notch men's matches would help her, too..

Posted by arbiter 09/13/2009 at 11:11 AM

I have found it on the net. If they only published the whole tirade by Serena, that would eliminate all speculation. They seem to be protecting her. She has said much more than just that one sentence they keep on repeating.

Just imagine, for a second, what would happen if Djokovic, for example, said stuff like that??? One could expect that his career would be instantly over. There would be no hesitation from the media...or anyone else.

Posted by carnap - Pax 09/13/2009 at 11:12 AM

tina @ 11:01am

"Earlier I was so happy that I had canceled a "Super Saturday" viewing party - but now I'm sorry. This was the real ladies' "final" as far as I'm concerned."


In the words of Navratilova, "Woman is a fact; lady is an opinion."

Posted by comment 09/13/2009 at 11:13 AM

Venus is great, in everything. Serena not.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 09/13/2009 at 11:13 AM

Matt Zemek - Since most people go to work Monday morning, a late 9 PM start on Sunday night for the mens final would not be great for ticket sales or TV viewership. Just not a practical solution.

While I understand Pete's sentiments about Super Saturday being a way to test the mettle of players, etc. - I think that consideration should be given to how much more physical tennis has become today, compared to 10 years ago. The quality of the finals so far hasn't been affected to a great degree, in part because there haven't been cases where the second semi-final has gone the distance and lasted over 4 hours. But, as Nadal said - it could happen, and then we'll be back to all the whining about how player X was too tired to play the final. In fact, you know if anyone can make a match last over 4 hours, it's Nadal !

Posted by Tim (The Devil Has a Laptop! ) 09/13/2009 at 11:13 AM

look, we all konw she said a lot more, and I think for the entire PR of the sport, they might want to keep it quiet, because if there's anything remotely controversial in Serena's statements, all hail will break loose, and could ruin her career for sure...

but finding it on the net lol isnt exactly proof of all that much so lets hope some real journalists can report the truth...

Posted by Philip 09/13/2009 at 11:15 AM

Well, Meredith, I do think an inch makes a difference. It is a game of inches as they say. A let cord is a matter of a fraction of an inch sometimes. If I am standing an inch onto the baseline, the serve I usually hit into the net by a quarter of an inch when I am standing behind the line is going to go over the net when I am standing on the line. Stepping on any fraction of the line is cheating whether it is done consciously or unconsciously, that is why players are required to know where they are standing when they serve.

Posted by arbiter 09/13/2009 at 11:17 AM

let's just say that I trust the source of that part of her statement. I don't have the confirmation yet, but I will look for it and post it when I find it.

We all agree that she said a lot out there, and that it should all be published, not just a tiny part of it, don't we?

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 09/13/2009 at 11:19 AM

Tim - The schedule on shows that the doubles matches will be on Louis Armstrong, so Fed should be able to take the court as scheduled, not before 4:30 PM.

Posted by Nam1 09/13/2009 at 11:20 AM

I too was very surprised at Tom Perretas article, isn't the line judge supposed to call a fault when he/she sees one or do they have discretion to the timing? By the standards of the article, the lines person should have not called it becoz it was match point??

Bizarre...and Serena's behaviour afterwards was disgraceful, anyone who behaved like that to anyone else at work would be fired immediately, same old , same old , famous rich people thinking they can act anyway they please and not pay for it. She deserved the point penalty, so what if it was match point?

Posted by carnap - Pax 09/13/2009 at 11:24 AM

I'm blaming Avid's letters for Serena's epic fail. It was obvious interference : )

Posted by Icarus 09/13/2009 at 11:25 AM


Some great remarks, as usual.

Well, it's just difficult to argue against all the arguments that put Serena's scene as an unjustifiable act. But... come on, I've seen the DF point over and over, and I simply can't understand how the line judge made something like on 4-6/5-6, 15-30.

Every tennis fan knows that the foot fault rule is mainly indicative in pro matches, it's like an invisible control of player's serving positioning. From time to time, it should appointed just to know it's there. If you give a close look to some match replays, you get the feeling that in many occasions the judges don't see or chose not to call the FF.

I'd never make that decision.

Anyway, seems to me that Serena's attitude definitely attracts these situations.

Posted by Jerell 09/13/2009 at 11:32 AM

I could see the glee on Tim's face last night and in this situation.

And see, those are the type of people Serena has emboldened with her actions last night ladies and gentlemen. The people that dislike her the most, this gives them food for fodder and absolute bliss to spew their hate and use her despicable actions last night.

Then the hate travels to Richard Williams, who has no business being in this situation. And heck, soon it may come to both Venus and then Oracene, despite Oracene saying Serena should "have been calmer" and controlled herself.

You give your haters a sniff, and they will breathe it deep and exhale it at the last minute possible.

Posted by Icarus 09/13/2009 at 11:37 AM

On Stupor Saturday (said it last year):

Unbelievable that the players could have to play five-setters (9-10 sets, possibly) in two consecutive days.

Please, don't bring the McEnroe story of 1980-somethings. The game is totally different, much more physical right now.

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