Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - "Much Better"
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"Much Better" 09/15/2009 - 6:50 PM

Dp It was the perfect ending; I was wrong again. Juan Martin del Potro beat Roger Federer in a chaotic Arthur Ashe Stadium yesterday and sent the tournament out with a festive buzz. From an instantly infamous outburst—forever to be known as “The Tirade” in tennis lore—to the best shot ever hit by the best player ever, to a spunky new American on the horizon, to a pair of appealingly humble champions, it was an Open that we’ll be seeing more of in future highlight reels. For now, let the snap judgments begin.

Juan Martin del Potro

What will I remember from this most logical and inevitable—though still stunning—Grand Slam breakthrough?

—Del Potro lumbering slowly behind the baseline as he set up to serve, and finishing by blowing on the heel of his right hand. It was a ritual that exuded self-assurance, and seemed to help him gather more of it with each point.

—Del Potro enlarging the court and ranging backward behind the baseline to track down a forehand in the corner and unleashing a flat line drive past his opponent. There were two remarkable aspects to this shot: It had absolutely no arc, and when it hit the DecoTurf, it didn’t so much bounce as skid, like something coming off ice.

—The Argentine, from the third set on, forcing Federer back with his heavier, thuddier shots. The world’s best was suddenly just hanging on for dear life, surviving with his squash shot. From my perspective in the 10th row off the baseline, it seemed like, if del Potro believed in himself, that it was only a matter of time before he would overwhelm Federer. For the day, at least, the sport had been handed over to a new, taller, rangier, more physical, and powerful generation.

—Del Potro’s player box. For anyone who’s seen all he ever needs to see of Anna Wintour’s straw helmet, Gavin Rossdale’s ever-ascending forehead, and his wife, what’s her name, this kid from small-town Argentina couldn’t have been a bigger breath of fresh air. He had his manager, his coach, Davin, and his trainer, Orazi (when I see the similar-looking Davin and Orazi next to del Potro at tournaments, my brain always goes, “Hi, my name’s Larry, this is my brother, Darrell, and this is my other brother, Darrell.”) Behind them were two rows of very empty, and very desirable, seats. When DP clambered up there afterward, all they could do was hug each other over and over; they didn’t have anyone else. The vibe wasn’t “us against the world,” though, the way it is with Maria Sharapova’s player box; DP doesn’t do confrontation. It was just “us.” 

—Dick Enberg opening the trophy presentation by asking del Potro how he felt, considering that the Argentine had claimed that the previous day, when he'd crushed Rafael Nadal, had been the best of his life. DP answered without missing a beat, and with maximum brevity: He said he felt "much better." 

—The sight of del Potro in the press room afterward. One of my favorite rituals at the Slams is the champion bringing the trophy with him up to the dais. I wasn’t shocked by DP’s win yesterday until I saw him behind the same silver cup that Rod Laver raised at Forest Hills when he completed the Grand Slam in 1969. Del Potro hunched low and, as always answered questions slowly and thickly. Finally, an Italian reporter had had enough. He asked, with mock exasperation:

“You always talk so quietly with this soft voice. Do you ever shout in your life, in your private life? Do you ever get angry?”

Del Potro, slowly and thickly, barely looking up: “Yeah, of course.”

—Finally, yesterday on the way into the National Tennis Center, as I passed through security and bag check and traipsed across the grounds to the stultifying press room one last time, I told myself how happy I was not to have to go anywhere near the place for the next 12 months. But as I walked out in the opposite direction after the final, behind a couple in matching blue and white Argentine soccer shirts who had their arms draped around each other, I’d changed my mind. There was a buzz around the grounds and in the air that I was going to miss; I wanted to see more tennis. A few minutes later, I got on the train back into Manhattan. The woman sitting next to me, who was coming from somewhere else, said, “Did you see del Potro?”

“Yes, I saw him.”

“I liked to watch him when he won,” she said, and put her hands over her face to imitate his emotional reaction after the final point. She had hit it: That was why I wanted to see more tennis, to see that emotion and relief that only a player who has won his first major can conjure. It doesn’t happen all that often nowadays, which only made the last moments of yesterday’s final that much more exhilarating. Thanks for sharing it with us, DP. A+

Kc Kim Clijsters

I wonder if she even feels like she’s playing her best yet. Give Clijsters credit: She saw an opening at the top, and she filled it. And she appeared to me to be hitting with more aggression—intelligent aggression—than ever, while the only difference in her movement was that she didn’t do quite as many splits as she did in the old days (that’s a good thing, by the way). While I’m surprised she beat both Williams sisters and went all the way so soon, I knew she would bounce back with no trouble. As with Jennifer Capriati in her comeback at the start of the decade, if you can hit big and through the court on the women’s tour, you always have a chance. Kim can do that, and she can move with a gymnast’s sure-footedness—she seemed to enjoy scaling the wall to get to her husband after the final as much as anything she did on court. More important, she put a smile back on the face of women’s tennis a day after Serena had scowled her way out of the tournament. The trophy ceremony was a love fest and a big welcome back for a favorite of everyone involved in the sport. Her daughter danced, Mary Jo gave her a hug, and the guy crying next to her husband was John Dolan, a WTA pr guy who has had more than his fill of pro egos, but who couldn’t help but become a friend of Kim’s. Would she have beaten Serena anyway? It’s not a lock, given Williams’ history of returns from the dead. But Clijsters deserved the win anyway. You should get something for not dropping an f-bomb at a line judge, shouldn’t you? A+

Caroline Wozniacki

She wasn’t the edgiest runner-up in history—the bloodthirsty sporting rivalry between the Danes and the Belgians just doesn’t register in the Big Apple—or the most famous. A few minutes before the final, I was walking in the hallway under Ashe next to a blonde with two racquets who was wearing a nondescript gray sweatshirt. I didn’t realize it was Wozniacki until I got back to my desk in the pressroom. And I’ve spoken to her before.

I feared a nervous meltdown in the final, but she didn’t show much, if any, fear. Wozniacki is refreshing all around: She doesn’t shriek or look up to her box all that often. She uses her brain, makes adjustments during rallies, and plays purposeful defense. She solved the riddle of Oudin by employing the moonball, and used it again to good effect in the final—let’s just hope the dark days of Andrea Jaeger are not upon us once again. Wozniacki is a natural at the game who also knows how to move forward, even if her volley is an adventure. She made Clijsters, a superior ball-striker, work for everything she got. A

Roger Federer

What does the greatest do after he’s the greatest? Pete Sampras went into a deep slump, rallied for one more major, and retired. He was 32, though, while Federer’s tennis afterlife is beginning at 28. Yesterday he was dwarfed by his younger opponent, and as the match progressed he had to work harder than del Potro to get on the offensive. But while he was outplayed by DP for long stretches, and on his heels much of the time, you might still say that Federer let this one slip away. He went to DP’s forehand a lot, even after the big guy found a monstrous groove with it. And serving for a two-set lead at 5-4 in the second, Federer opted for a drop shot on a key point that he ended up losing. It’s the shot that won him their French Open semi, but maybe he fell a little too in love with it here. Will Federer become overly besotted with his maestro image now that all the heavy lifting is done? His finest moment of the tournament was a between-the-legs shot. Don’t panic yet, though. Even Federer, who was two points from the title, termed this loss “acceptable.” After the year he's had, both professionally and personally, he better say that. A

Melanie Oudin

The only image that could match del Potro’s victory plunge was the celebration Oudin patented after her three upsets: staggering forward, hands-in the-air, eyes bugged out, she was the slightly berserk face of teen triumph, American-style. Don't try to resist. A

Mary Carillo

Right from the start, she was tough but dead-on in her assessment of the Serena situation, blaming the player, not the official, and calling for a suspension. A

Rafael Nadal

Making his second straight Open semi was an accomplishment. Enduring another, very different injury immediately after the knee problem was troubling. Getting run out of town by del Potro was embarrassing, and a possibly a reputation-diminisher in the locker room. But he’s been here before—remember Tsonga in Melbourne?—and returned stronger than ever. The down moments in his career just seem to make him hungrier. If that's possible. B+

Jimmy Connors

Who would have thought we’d wish that Jimmy Connors would loosen up a little? At least undo the top button on your shirt, before you strangle yourself. And stop asking Martina what she thinks—she's gonna tell you anyway. What you said, when you said it, was pretty strong. B

John McEnroe

Mac, Mac, and more Mac. Mac on your TV, Mac in your ear in the stadium, Mac’s eternally-not-quite-balding (how much Rogaine can one man use?) head hovering over the National Tennis Center. He didn’t waste any time making ESPN his territory. I think Brad Gilbert is in witness protection—who was that man in black doing a mixed doubles match on Court 12?—and Darren Cahill didn’t get a whole lot of love either.

But Mac is good. He’s still enthusiastic, and his insights aren't overworked—he never tries to claim that there’s more going on strategically out there than there really is. But his argument that “you just can’t call a foot fault” in the Serena situation was flawed (more on why below). He remains a player chauvinist to a fault. B

Novak Djokovic

What happened to the days when the Serb and his wacky family fought Federer tooth and nail? Now he’s been mesmerized and softly intimidated like the rest of the tour. In their semi, he stuck his butt out for Federer to hit, he prayed to the lord for help, he never acted like he could win the match, and he wrapped it up, as always, with a nice big hug. Smiling is great, but that’s not what most of us want out of a tennis match. C+

Dinara Safina

I’d have more sympathy for her last-minute move to Armstrong if she’d showed a little more in the match she lost there. As it was, Kvitova appeared to me to be every bit as good as the No. 1 player in the world. Reaching that spot may have been the worst thing that ever happened to Dinara. C

Andy Murray

Has he become too methodical in his preparation, to the point where he’s ironed out his creativity? For a player of such vaunted variety, he had no options once he got behind Marin Cilic. There’s no substitute for power and aggression, as del Potro, who just left the Scot and his many Masters titles in the dust, has proven again. C-

Serena Williams

A foot fault is different from a line call for at least one major reason: No matter how much control a player has over his or her feet, they can’t know for sure whether the call was right or wrong, because they’re looking at the ball at that moment. Could Serena have been that confident she didn’t foot fault at the moment she went berserk? She had been called for three others during the tournament, so it couldn’t have been a shock. Rather, she was protesting the idea of the call, of someone having the gall to whistle her for it on a second serve at 5-6 in the second set of the semifinals of the U.S. Open.

There are defenders, most prominently McEnroe, of the idea that “you just don’t make that call at that stage.” The concept comes from basketball, where referees typically try not to decide a game with a foul call. But refereeing in basketball is relatively subjective to begin with; there’s some kind of illegal contact on hundreds of plays during a game. In the final seconds, it’s just a matter of the refs raising their threshold a little for what constitutes a foul. Can we ask this of tennis officials? When should we tell them not to do their jobs and call foot faults? Only on second serves at 5-6 in the second set of the semis of the Open? On match points? In tiebreakers? After the eighth game of a set? No, the simplest answer, as usual, is the best—they should call foot faults when they see them, and players should make sure they don’t commit them. It isn't a trivial rule, either: There obviously needs to be a uniform place where players start points, and the back of the baseline is the easiest spot for it. If you start to allow players to cross the line by half an inch, it will soon become an inch or two inches or three inches, until no one is sure what they can do, or what they can call. 

If there’s a rule of thumb that we should import from another sport, it should come from the NFL. Foot faults, like overruled calls in football, should only be made when they’re indisputable in the eye of the line judge. If there’s doubt, don’t call it. But that criteria should hold true at every stage of the match. If the lineswoman in the Serena semifinal believed without doubt she saw a foot fault, she was right to call it. It’s the player’s job not to cut it that close. And whatever the reason for the call, its obviously the player's job not to threaten anyone.

Serena was angry, at the line judge and at herself. You could see her frustration building during the match. Now, like McEnroe, she’ll have a new, unwelcome addendum to her career bio: A Slam loss because of multiple code violations, because she said—screamed—words that should never be used on a tennis court, brandished her racquet at a line judge, and even went back toward her a second time. As with McEnroe, her temper and her talent are intertwined; as weak as her first apology was, there’s no question that the fierce emotion she showed in her outburst is, when it’s harnessed, part of what has made her an 11-time Slam champion. But that’s what makes her punishment for it all the more necessary, so we can get more of Serena the champion, the Serena who rarely argues calls, in the future. For our purposes today, two f-words—foot-fault—led to more f-words by Serena; they can only be answered in kind here. F

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Posted by easton 09/16/2009 at 04:40 PM

Serena was wrong, but I'm not gong to demonize her the way so many folks are doing. I fault her for givng her haters so much ammunition.

Posted by Betty 09/16/2009 at 04:40 PM

Definitely a D- for Mary Carillo.

Posted by Betty 09/16/2009 at 04:43 PM

But Federer used the "F.." word twice (2) and also the "S.." word so why wasn't he penalized for cursing???.
Why isn't this post emphasizing and commenting on this infraction by Federer?.

Posted by Racquet Throw 09/16/2009 at 04:43 PM

I disagree completely with McEnroe's statement that you should never call a foot-fault "in that situation." Whether it was the first point of the game or the last, a rule is a rule. It does a disservice to the game to apply rules sparingly. Why have any rules at all? What are we teaching people? That it is okay to swear and threaten people when the rules don't cut your way?

I wish tennis would look to another individual sport for guidance. In golf, the rules and integrity of the game are sacrosanct. For example, players call penalties ON THEMSELVES due to rules that make no sense. (e.g., Player addresses the ball to putt, steps away to realign and in the process, ball moves a fraction of an inch. Stroke penalty. Players call it on themselves all the time). You hardly see golfers swearing at rules officials or otherwise being jerks because of the rules.

With regard to the actual play in the men's final, I think Federer's ego and refusal to adjust his game lost him the match. Worse, you could see it coming. Roger's groundstrokes have two weaknesses: (1) he has problems with a heavy topspin ball on the backhand side (see Nadal, Rafael); and (2) his forehand breaks down against superior flat pace that skids. Both disrupt Roger's footwork which usually is the best in the world. DelPo exploited #2 repeatedly. Why Roger didn't attack DelPo's backhand with a combination of short chips and heavy topspin is beyond me.

That being said, all credit to DelPo. He did what he had to do to win.

Posted by Blockhead 09/16/2009 at 04:44 PM

It appears you can NOT read Betty. That, or you have no moral compass. If you don't understand the difference between a THREAT and cursing, you really need to grow up quite a bit.

Posted by Easton 09/16/2009 at 04:46 PM

Fed's my boy so I will give him the pass - like I give Tiger every time he busts a bomb.

I'm just pissed how the Serena thing is so overblown...that was no real threat...she literally threatened her...but what was the likelihood of that happening??

Posted by Easton 09/16/2009 at 04:48 PM

At least we can look forward to some extra competition on the women's side now...Serena and Venus are pumped no doubt, Kimmy is back, Dementieva is GOOD, and hopefully Oudin has some staying power. I like Flavia too...STRONG woman that!!

Posted by Blockhead 09/16/2009 at 04:49 PM

Whew !!!

Lots and lots of real dipsticks on here. Can't help you if you can't help yourselves.

Posted by Jed 09/16/2009 at 04:50 PM

OK, blanket derogatory statement for anyone who simply equates Fed dropping a couple of expletives and what Serena did--you’re all dumb and wrong. It’s not our fault that you have such intellectual deficits that you cannot see the quite apparent distinctions between the 2 incidents. If you seriously think the cases are the same then you are intellectually and philosophically challenged.

Posted by easton 09/16/2009 at 04:50 PM

Blockhead, I'm going to rip your head off and eat your children

Posted by Blockhead 09/16/2009 at 04:51 PM

Go for it.

Posted by Blockhead 09/16/2009 at 04:51 PM

Well said Jed !

Posted by easton 09/16/2009 at 04:52 PM

u feel threatened yet?

Posted by geikou 09/16/2009 at 04:53 PM

Blockhead: My apologies. Steve was wrong then. ^_~

For those who say things like this:
"that was no real threat...she literally threatened her...but what was the likelihood of that happening??"

I bet you if I got angry at my boss and told him that I was going to shove my pen down his throat, even without any f-bombs...I'd probably get fired, or at least reprimanded. Pretty unlikely that I'd actually shove my pen down his throat, but you know...

Posted by No Mames Buey 09/16/2009 at 04:53 PM

I wonder if the persons claiming

1 "foot fault is the rule, it must be called always, even on match point"

are also the same persons claiming

2 "you can't equate Fed's f-bomb/sh-bomb tirade at umpire Jake Gardner to Serena threatening the line jugdge"

Hey what happened to "rule is a rule", a code violation is a code violation?

Pure hypocrisy.

Posted by Blockhead 09/16/2009 at 04:53 PM

Not by someone like you - no.

Posted by Jed 09/16/2009 at 04:53 PM

No Blockhead is right, some real low level anaysis going on here.

Posted by easton 09/16/2009 at 04:54 PM

Quite verbose, there, Jed.

But how rational is that...measuring soemone's intellectual and philosophical levels based on a few tennis-related ramblings?

Posted by Dave Nna 09/16/2009 at 04:55 PM

Tigor or whatever you're name is...It is obvious you and Mary Carillo do not like stupid of you to make it obvious to everyone here.

Why am I not suprised that Federer was not criticized for his own tirade? afterall it was a final match and more people were watching...but that is the white media and you'll protect your own.

And Mary Carillo, for a b-rate tennis play with only ONE MIXED DOUBLES TENNIS SLAM under her belt, I don't know what qualifies her to comment on grand slam tennis.

I dare the USTA and WTA to fine Serena anymore than they have...

I thought by playing in Arthur Ashe Stadium meant anything to these people, apparently not, Tignor, Carillo and their friends think it should remain a white man's sport.

Posted by Blockhead 09/16/2009 at 04:56 PM

Oh here we go -- pull out another race card. Nice and very tired old try.

Posted by TB 09/16/2009 at 04:57 PM

I agree also, comparing the Fed and Serena situations is dumb. I guess its similar in that they both cursed, so yeah, if thats your level of depth and grasp of morals than Im really sorry for you, and maybe the population in general.

Posted by j5 09/16/2009 at 04:59 PM

Well as far as the meltdowns go fed's slip of the tongue was nowhere near as bad as serena's but as we know fed's temper and his game dont go hand in hand. They were both wrong for how they acted but still serena was moreso in the wrong than fed over a foot fault seriously. At least fed saw what was going on.

Posted by Jed 09/16/2009 at 05:01 PM

Sorry there scholar Easton, but I didn’t think any additional verbosity was needed to make such an elementary point. I have already read several posts earlier where others have spelled out this issue in painstaking detail, I felt doing it again would be superfluous.

Posted by easton 09/16/2009 at 05:02 PM

the Fed/serena comparison is not intended to put them on the same level. They have similarities, and on the one hand we are demonizing serena whiel there's no censure for Fed at all.

And why question someone's morals if we are simply saying the "threat" was no real actionable threat, and Serena does not deserve additional punishment? Since when is "morals" valuable only if it is expressed in the form of draconian punishment? isn't it also bad morals to call someone garbage and want the worse for them?

Posted by easton 09/16/2009 at 05:04 PM

You flatter me, Jed. I don't think either side can claim the intellectual high ground here. No need for it as a matter of fact. Most of us are speaking form emotion - we are either Serena fans or not, for the most part, and that division drives a lot of what we are saying, truth be told.

Posted by sss 09/16/2009 at 05:05 PM


Posted by keke 09/16/2009 at 05:07 PM

you are an idiot to agree with Corillo...the commentators constantly bash the williams sisters in whatever they do...there is a bias that most people are overlooking...we as hard-core tennis fans are the ones who pay our money to go watch these athletes not corillo and the other fools commentating...this outburst was the accumilation of numerous bad calls that they always seem to get especially in america their home country...americans welcomed clijsters who is not american than the WS why is that...every one knows the deal and while i do not agree with what Serena did, it seems you guys want her head on a platter...while laugh at and condone the behavior of others...get a grip...this was the final straw she could not take any more of this seemed to me there was a conspiracy to prevent venus and serena from winning this slam no matter what..and the footfaults were the only way they couldn't challenge the officials incompetence..

Posted by easton 09/16/2009 at 05:07 PM

night all...catch u later.

hopefully we will get to enjoy more good tennis soon, and more spirited convo in the mean time.

anybody here follow soccer??

Posted by j5 09/16/2009 at 05:07 PM

Are you kidding me samantha. Gasquet proved his innocence unlike Hignis who just cried and accepted her ban. The evidence backed up Gasquet's story. If she really wanted to play she would have appealed because I seem to recall she retired early because she felt over-powered. Oudin is super tiny compared to everyone else but you don't hear her crying do you? It's because she fights and works hard. So I'd hate to say it that added to her sentence also.

Posted by Dave Nna 09/16/2009 at 05:16 PM

Do not forget Serena initiated the hawk-eye system, after the umpire and lines people stole that match from her in an appalling manner and gave it to Capriati who still lost in the next round.

Hopefully something good can come out of this because at that point in a match no linesman should be calling a point that the player cannot challenge in a review system.

Again, I must reiterate that no commentator without a significant and successful career in tennis should be allowed to be on national televion providing commentary on how a player is supposed to win a match. So people like Mary Carillo who at best was a b-rate player and only seeded as high as 33 for a short time should not be on that job.

Again did I mention that she is a hater and a racist who has never had anything nice to say about Serena or her game? Who can ever forget the Australiian Open game she called b/w serena and sharapova. It just makes me sick thinking about it.

Watch out - Serena will come back with a bang in Austrialia and by then I hope ESPN will be smart enough to drop Carillo on her ass,...

Posted by Manly Norris 09/16/2009 at 05:20 PM

Great Post Steve, -

While I think the Hawk Eye system is a boon to the sport of tennis, I am skeptical that is accurate to within its 3mm margin of error, 100% of the time. While it is true that it must be accurate within 3 mm to be used in tournaments, the challenge videos we see do not display where the ball actually and truly strikes the court, but a interpretation of where it likely hit, within 3 mm, according to the cameras aimed down at the court from the top of the stadium.
There have been documented matches in other, smaller tournaments, where the Hawk Eye has proven to be off by inches.
When Federer was serving 5-4 up 30-0 during the second set of the men's final, Del Potro hit a shot wide of the doubles line. I was in the upperdeck and instantly recoginzed the ball as being out; nevertheless Del Potro's Hawk Eye challenge said that it was in. The fact that I instantly, along with many fans around me, saw the ball as landing out, as well as Federer's return to examine the ballmark again and again in disbelief makes me skeptical of our over-reliance on the system as well.
I absolutely support any kind of techonoly that can assist the human senses in keeping sports equitable and honest. The issue with Hawk Eye is that people have accepted it as an indisputable final-word in exactly where a ball landed, when it's only giving us an educated guess as to where the ball probably landed, at best within 3 mm., but sometimes, and in documented cases, much more than that.
It is those sometimes where human judgement should not automatically yield to an interprative techonology. For example, earlier in the tournament, Federer recieved a serve which clipped the net for a let, but failed to set off the let-calling machine for whatever reason. The sound of the ball striking the tape was obvious not only to Federer, but to me on the couch. Since the beeping-machine didn't go off the referee dind't call let and Federer subsequently lost the point. Afterwards he approached the ref and asked him why he didn't call the let. The referee responded by saying, "I trust the machine so much that I didn't think to make the call, I'm sorry," thus acknowledging his error in not calling the let and his complete subordiantion of his ears to the let-detector.
To use an overused metaphor, the human brain is the most sophisticated "computer" in the world. Sometimes machines simply do not work correctly. Remember, it's Hawk Eye, not "God's Eye".

Posted by noleisthebest 09/16/2009 at 05:20 PM

A very inteligent piece of writing. If I wasn't married, I'd fall in love with you!!!!

Posted by No Mames Buey 09/16/2009 at 05:25 PM

Carillo can make some good insightful comments, but usually is verbosely talking nonsense, often during the point.

The worst Carillo rant is about the Hawkeye/Call Review system. Carillo said "it forces players to call their own lines". What incorrect garbage.

I wonder if J McEnroe, who won a Mixed Doubs title with Carillo, "insists" on working with Carillo. Without J McEnroe, Carillo might be unemployed. Because objectively, Carillo as an announcer sucks compared to MJ Fernandez, Navritilova, Cahill, Gilbert, Courier, P McEnroe, etc.

Posted by Stewart Mawdsley 09/16/2009 at 05:39 PM

Manly Norris, the television replay on the Fed 30all points at 5-4 clearly showed the ball clipped the line by exactly the degree indicated by Hawkeye - jealous that you were there for that match but being in the upper deck of the place hardly makes you an expert on an out call that close. Fed is (justifiably) a little arrogant and quite frankly I think he gets a lot of calls his way just on reputation (see Djokovic 6/7 in challenges in losing 3 straight sets in the semis, not to mention the RIDICULOUS chair umpire erasing of his ace).

I actually think that replaying Fed/Delpo's 4th set tiebreak point over again was the right thing to do - Federer stopped playing the point erroneously because of a stupid fan (the chair umpire in the final was an IDIOT who did nothing about the raucous crowd), and Delpo won the point. Then he hypocritically and desperately asked for a chase review. Delpo was right to question why the ump allowed the review in the first place (Fed sure swore enough when Delpo was allowed to challenge). The only fair way to put the whole messy point behind them was to start again.

I really liked someone's suggestion earlier that foot faults should be like foul balls in baseball or let cords. They could count for a 1st fault but would be a let instead of a double. I am no fan of Serena and was in fact madly cheering for Kimmie, but you could understand why she lost her head.

I think Serena in many ways has already been punished in the eyes of the tennis community (her endorsement deals might also suffer a la Michael Phelps and his bong picture). I agree with many posters, I am more concerned that she is graceless and unapologetic most times in post-match interviews. I think the best suggestion was that she in fact be forced to play some of the smaller tournaments to bring in a bigger draw as a boon to the WTA. Community service, as it were.

I think John MacEnroe is pathetic distancing himself from Serena's behaviour as he as been much worse for much longer. Serena's offence seems to have created a media storm a la Don Imus and his 'nappy headed hoes' comment, where everyone is out for her blood. I personally dislike her, though she's obviously one of the best players, but I think she's being a bit crucified in the media.

Back where the attention BELONGS, Kim CLijsters and JM Delpo are two of the most feel good champions the Open has ever had. Outstanding play from both of them.

Posted by Samantha elin 09/16/2009 at 05:46 PM

J5, you're kidding me. Hey if you believe Gasquet's story about the kissing cocaine girl, I have some swamp land in the middle of Sweden you might be interested in. BTW, Gasquet made the no l most ridiculous story by an athlete on MSN. I can't imagine why anybody would doubt his story.

Posted by eugene Waterval 09/16/2009 at 05:59 PM

Steve, i don't agree with Mary Carillo about suspension for Serena. People make mistakes and your learn from it so Serena.Nobody is perfect. Mary Carillo never makes mistake in her life? she admits she never makes mistakes , is she god?

Posted by Shaun 09/16/2009 at 05:59 PM

I feel like this article is very good i agreed with alot of the grades that were given out, except for Serena Williams. She played a awesome U.S open up until that Semi-Final with Kim. Yes she lost her temper and said some choice words that were not needed or called for, but it was a very intense moment of a very intense match and a call that should have never been called in the forst place. Foot Faults are a rule in Tennis that is laughable. A player's foot being less than half an inch over the baseline doesnt help them at all espically in this type of tennis where the main stragiety is to blast your opponent off the court with power from the baseline. This whole incident by Serena was uncalled for and I do believe that she should be punished in some fashion but suspending a player like Serena is not the way to go about doing it, because your hurt hurtung Serena she has plenty of money and titles she could retire now and would be a hall of famer. Suspending her will only hurt the game of tennis and the Grand Slam tournaments that she wouldn't be allowed to play in.

Posted by Jerry 09/16/2009 at 06:04 PM

Hey 'a', please don't comment if you don't have all the facts. Roger said the 's' word AND HE DIDN'T THREATEN ANYONE! People like you that make judgments without all the facts are downright scary.

Posted by lois 09/16/2009 at 06:05 PM

RE: RAFA, the word BREVITY was used to describe Rafa's game with The Giant, I find that remark insulting,not funny and totally unnecessary to say. Injury may have played a very big part in the game with DelPo hitting the ball back so hard. Since I was a Nurse this was neither healthy or non painful and unless you wanted your guts all over the court, it is simply not a good position to play in. Rafa is very lucky he did not create a very,very longer utterly painful and serious tear and have to recup for months. As far as Rafa being ran out of town by anyone, now I think you are being just a little silly, I have never seen him run from anyone and his mental toughness seams too be even better than almost of them all (ie, Federer, over some dispute "Don't tell me to shut-up, I don't care what the S--- he said, I hope to see the girls and guys reprimanded the same-Serena Lot's more but Roger a little-even tho I love him-no difference). Con grads to DelPo and his win but don't start belittling other players because of it, this game changes everyday and players learn new things-who's to say the next time he can't lose. Maybe some of them may study his tapes and turn the tables.
VAMOS RAFA and ROGER, Don't let any of this junk get on your

Posted by Philip 09/16/2009 at 06:10 PM

Svelterogue, just more of your Federer hatred showing. Fed didn't look remotely silly, he just looked rightly angry about some very poor umpiring. IMO he was pretty mild, especially when the umpire was rude to him. I can think of a lot of players who would have exploded far more. I agree with those who say Fed should show his emotions more, but of course, not in an out of control way.

Posted by Corrie 09/16/2009 at 06:31 PM

I rewatched both Serena and Roger "incidents". All I heard Roger do was get angry with that appalling umpire's not enforcing the rules and treating him like a kid. He used the "s" word which is no big deal, most players say far worse and more very frequently.

As some one said, even Rafa gets away with a certain expletive during matches. Where I come from the "s" word is utterly innocuous, I hear far worse from kids in any public place.

Serena was MENACING and THREATENING. They are the two key words, not what swearing she did. That, plus she did it to a small defencelss linesperson, not the umpire, by approaching and standing over her. The only comparison with Roger is that his happened soon after hers, so they are lumped together by some pretty brainless people.

Posted by John 09/16/2009 at 06:33 PM

lois, great comment, you're completely right!!!!!

Posted by CeesterCee 09/16/2009 at 06:38 PM

Before Serena even started to play, I'd textd tennis friends that I thought she would "blow" in some manner due to the extended rain delays. I've been and still am a huge WS fan. However, I think what we witnessed was quite predictable. I think her impatience can really get the best of her. I was surprised the outburst didn't occur earlier and went down to the wire "Match Over!" I agree with other comments that when she is being interviewed after the fact (even on the second apology) there is frequently a dis-ingeniousness or disconnect with her analysis of the situation. All the WS naysayers are currently delighted and saying "I told you so." Venus demonstrated great maturity and handled Patrick McEnroe very gracefully. Serena thinks she can be the Telfon (nothing sticks)player related to this incident. I don't think so.

Posted by Roland 09/16/2009 at 06:50 PM

whoever wrote this article is pretty retarded. I definately agree with john Mcenroe, you can't call a foot fault on a critical point like that, especially since it wasnt even a foot fault. Although serena shouldnt have said the words that she did, she had a right to get mad and i believe if it werent for that call, serena would have came back and won the match as well as the tournament

Posted by Syed 09/16/2009 at 07:10 PM

Hey Tignon, and everybody who is speaking of how bad Serena's behavior was in the semis and saying she deserves more severe punishment, have you looked at all the past injustices done to her by tennis. Watch the link below and may be it will remind you of one, done to her by US open 2004 against Capriati

She maintained her composure then. FOUR MISSED CALLS!!!!!!! At CRUCIAL TIMES!!! She could have won that match. What? Did US open or WTA apologized to her afterwards???? Knowing full well with technology that she had been wronged? Did she have an outburst then?? So yes, when all of you are saying still her behavior was inexcusable, I say, after looking at just the 2004 US open incidence, it was more overdue!!!! I give a give F to US Open, not to her. (Sorry, my hands are trembling from the anger)

Posted by Syed 09/16/2009 at 07:21 PM

Hey Tignon and everybody else who's been speaking of how bad Serena's behavior was and how she should be punished more, take a look at US open 2004 serena vs J. Capriati. Link Below

Serena was epitomy of composure. FOUR MISSED CALLS against Serena!!!! At crucial points. She could have won that match. What? Did US Open apologize to her afterwards?? Did WTA?? Did the Umpire?? Or how about the line's person?? Still she maintained her composure. Even I am trembling with anger right now as I just watched that again. Yes, when people are being backed up against the wall time and time again, at one point, they are going to react. But when they do, it is our job as reasonable humans to look at their past experience and ask why have they reacted the way they did. This is not just an isolated one time thing that has happened to her. So I say that her outburst was long long long overdue!! It's the US open that DESERVES a bit fat F. Not Serena Williams.

Posted by ss canada 09/16/2009 at 07:44 PM


Posted by gdubs 09/16/2009 at 07:48 PM

Tignor you suck

Posted by Colette 09/16/2009 at 07:50 PM

A diehard Rafa fan, I picked Del Potro from the start. Unfortunately, I think he has Rafa's number. Hopefully, not on clay, no?

Think what makes players appealing is the combination of sincerity and humility. I guess it's hard to be humble when you're as good as Roger or Serena, but, much as I admire his graceful greatness, I've always found him to be a bit full of himself. Like Serena, he tries hard! Her recent attempts at sincerity were rather transparent, however. What I find super-ironic is her press-conference attire of the "Nike-Delicious" T-shirts. Unfortunately, I don't think Serena's "tirade" was what Nike had in mind when they delveloped the edgy messages with "nasty" and "vicious." Whoops!! I can't imagine that they will continue to use her in the campaign. Suppose they have a behavior-unbecoming-to-a-spokesperson clause??

Posted by Colette 09/16/2009 at 07:50 PM

A diehard Rafa fan, I picked Del Potro from the start. Unfortunately, I think he has Rafa's number. Hopefully, not on clay, no?

Think what makes players appealing is the combination of sincerity and humility. I guess it's hard to be humble when you're as good as Roger or Serena, but, much as I admire his graceful greatness, I've always found him to be a bit full of himself. Like Serena, he tries hard! Her recent attempts at sincerity were rather transparent, however. What I find super-ironic is her press-conference attire of the "Nike-Delicious" T-shirts. Unfortunately, I don't think Serena's "tirade" was what Nike had in mind when they delveloped the edgy messages with "nasty" and "vicious." Whoops!! I can't imagine that they will continue to use her in the campaign. Suppose they have a behavior-unbecoming-to-a-spokesperson clause??

Posted by west palm beach 09/16/2009 at 08:13 PM

Giving Novak and Andy M. the same grade. And to Safina...

I call it pathetic. I guess you always find a way to put down Novak's efforts.

The guy won over the crowd in NY, and fought until the end with out-of-sorts Federer (who showed the game like the one against Novak only the first set in the finals). I thought everyone noticed that, but it seems you didn't. And made it to the first SF on a grand slam this year. So I wouldn't say his performance deserved C+, probably B, or at least B-.

Posted by L 09/16/2009 at 08:17 PM


Posted by melanie 09/16/2009 at 08:41 PM


That was certainly an amazing final and one that I think Federer should have won. In the 1st three sets he was up and yet somehow each time he blew it. Is this the sign of someone who know has other more important things on his mind? Only time will tell.

I think Rafa did well to meet his previous best result at the US Open. it would be nice to see him injury free and fired up. As he said in his presser this year hasnt been that lucky for him. Sometimes Rafa life is a bit of a cow but if you stick at it, it will turn around.

Djokovic is a bit of a worry. he has the talent and he used to have the game. Seems to me that ever since he lost that heart stopper against Rafa in Madrid this year that he has just lost something. he had match points in that game and couldnt close it out. Losing that way is tough and I think its stuffed up his whole mentality a bit. Will be interesting to see if he can come back and starting winning again.

Andy Murray - never been a big fan as I found his game so exceedingly boring, but lately its even more boring. Wheres the flare, wheres the fun. it aint there. maybe all the talk about him being the next big thing has led him to believe it all without actually doing it?

Del Potro - his time has come and he did play so well. he has now proved that he can hold it together over 5 sets and win. But as someone else said now he has to do it all again. Will he be in the same boat as Roddick, Moya, Ferrero, Gaudio, Djockovic and win one slam, and never win another? With winning comes fame, and a lot of expectations. Over the past few years only two players have been handle that fame and expectations and win again and again - thats Roger and Rafa of course. if Del Potro can hold it together who knows where he will end up. the next year is going to be interesting.

For the women I agree entirely that Serena should be suspended. Waht she did to that linesman was crap. What sort of image is that setting for young kids all round the world? A terrible one and she should be made an example of. her attempt at an apology is terrible as well.

For me the star of the whole tournament was Kim. What an amazing run, she had to do everything the hard way and do it exceedingly well. Gone from her game is the ability to completely melt down and lose badly. She kept it together and its stories like these that are great for tennis. How many people do we all know who have kids and never return to the game? Playing sport is important to our mental and physical fitness, especially as the western world faces so many health probs such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity probs. maybe she will encourage people who are Mums to get off the couch and pick up the racquet again. Now that would be great.

Also that idiot who wouldnt let Del Potro speak in Spanish deserves to be dropped. I couldnt believe how rude and ignorant he was to say we are out of time. Cmon, this is an important moment in the history of the sport. Who cares if you are 2 mins later for some football match - give the players some respect!!

Posted by Azhdaja 09/16/2009 at 08:47 PM

west palm...shut up! I am fan of Novak, but the guy lost the ground totally! He not only chocked important points (like broken to love in first after he made a break), but he is talking trash in term of he was close of winning it??!!?? Are we all idiots? Or is it him? You be the judge.

Novak never talked about his own mistakes, faults, lack of concentration, sfot serve,..etc, etc. He was atlking about god and luck??! Is that a champion? Simply answer is: NEVER!

Djoko get real, or join the Niemennen, Gulbis, Tsonga, Tipsarevic and &co. The guy has a talent and he (WRONGLY) believes that enough??! lol

Wake up Nole and all of your fans. I already had. You're a chocker and big mouth.

Posted by Azhdaja 09/16/2009 at 08:51 PM

One thing to add: How bad from USO tourney organizer to install Jake Gardner for the chair umpire for the final match??!

Couldn't they put some more experienced and more composed referee? The guy apparently did poor job, and that's a shame on organisers. There were plenty of experienced and good umpires, yet they delegated a bad one?! Too bad.

Posted by nikre 09/16/2009 at 08:52 PM

I was a bit surprised that there was only just one mention of Dick Enberg's utterly hideous behavior towards Del Potro during the ceremony in the first two pages of comments, but after the third page I was relieved to see I wasn't the only one who was disgusted by it. He does not even get an F-minus from me - I would just dismiss Dick from my class for life! Poor Del Potro. I am glad you asked "permission to speak" once again - At least you had the chance to speak out to your loved ones just a little bit.

Posted by Rafael Nadal 09/16/2009 at 08:53 PM

Hello, uys i have arived in murcia and will watch Spain VS Israel....come to support! Rafa

Posted by Brian 09/16/2009 at 09:06 PM

I was with you all the way till the last bit on Serena. Sure, she overreacted and deserved the point penalty, the fine, and perhaps even a suspension. But had you watched the TV replays, Steve, you would have seen that the foot fault call was highly questionable, and ultimately the fans want to see a tennis match - or a basketball game or any sporting contest for that matter - decided by the players, not the officials. And the officials proved embarrassingly incompetent over the final weekend which was littered with overturned line calls - I believe that Djokovic won 5 or 6 challenges over 3 sets of tennis in the semi - and even some questionable judgment from the chair umpire Jake Garner in the men's final with regard to allowing late challenges. The line judge who called Serena's foot fault did not deserve to be threatened and abused like that, but she absolutely deserved to be yanked and to not call anymore matches in the tournament, perhaps never again. She deserves an effing F as well.

Posted by cup of tea 09/16/2009 at 09:06 PM

I think that Enberg felt pressure to save time because CBS executives had only alotted a fixed amount of time for the ceremonies. ie-If Enberg exceeded the alotted time then CBS would cut to their standard drivel in mid-sentence, and it would all be "Dick Enberg's fault".

Posted by daniel 09/16/2009 at 09:17 PM

all the Serena haters, get over yourself! she's not the first and will not be the last (uh hum, Federer) If you're going to pick on one then pick on them all. What she did was wrong and she admitted it, stop hounding her and move on. The call was ridiculous and totally inappropriate and as a player I totally understand you can get caught up in the moment and especially when the call is a lousy call as that one was. The facts are the facts, Serena 11 grand slams and everyone else??? WTA needs Serena and the Williams sisters so back off

Posted by Dave Nna 09/16/2009 at 09:35 PM

I have said it over and over again.

Mary Carillo does not have the qualifications to be commentating during these Grand Slam tournaments. At best, she was a B-rate player (i.e. highest ranking was 33 and she only won a MIXED DOUBLES grand slam title). Who the hell is she to comment on Serena's match. It is obvious she doesn't like Serena williams.

Serena played five (5) incredible matches (the only semi-finalist not to lose a set) until the match with Kim and that fool (Tignor) gives her an F? Isn't that stupid?

Shame on the USTA and US Open referee. Fans came to watch a fantastic tennis match and not to hear some ridiculous call by some a line judge.

Besides, we can't be sure that Kim would have won that match had Serena not be forefully ejected from the match. Judging from the history of their previous matches and Serena's experience of coming back and playing her best tennis when she's down, who knows, Serena could have won her 12th slam. But I guess the USTA and US Open organizers got their wish. Even the WTA, before by getting to the final, Serena could have regained the #1 ranking.

Shame on Tignor and Carillo.

Posted by daisyrawks 09/16/2009 at 09:46 PM

I agree completely with the Serena assessment. Comparing her actions to Roger Federer's is ridiculous: Serena didn't just insert an F-Bomb into a slightly heated conversation with the chair umpire. Likewise, Roger didn't threaten bodily harm against an official.

Also, the fact that others have behaved badly and not been punished in the past is not cause to continue to overlook that kind of behavior. Of course there needs to be consistency, but you have to start somewhere and there's no time like the present. She should absolutely be fined further and suspended. The 10k the US Open fined her is nothing: I'm pretty sure she made more just to walk onto the court in the 1st round.

I don't believe for a second that she's really sorry. It shouldn't take 36 hours to realize you put your foot in it. I was appalled as I watched her smile blandly through her press conference after the match, expressing confusion at the idea that she behaved threateningly or that she owed anyone an apology. Her first statement was almost self-congratulatory: praising herself for being so passionate and intense about what she does. The actual apology was too little, too late, not least because it apparently had to be dragged out of her.

Posted by name 09/16/2009 at 09:50 PM

daniel: In my 40+ years of watching and playing tennis, Serena is the first person I have ever seen threaten the life of a linesperson. And what tops it all off is that she is not even sorry about it!

Posted by name 09/16/2009 at 10:00 PM

Over the years Mary Carillo has been a big supporter of the Williams sisters. I think Mary was simply apalled at Serena's bahavior.

Posted by bob, cape cod, usa 09/16/2009 at 10:01 PM

Great job, steve.

Posted by Syd 09/16/2009 at 10:04 PM

Steve, well done. Some terrific insight here and I agree, Fed let this one get away. I put it down to fatigue. While at the same time, Del Potro "deserved" this win, if that makes sense.

I don't go alone with Kim "seeing" an opening. think that's a load of baloney.

But you get an A.

But please for the love of tennis, stop picking the winners will ya? You're jinxed! or rather, you are jinxing. :)

Posted by daniel 09/16/2009 at 10:20 PM

NAME, in your 40 plus years of watching tennis have you seen anyone get more lousy calls against them than Serena? Reminder, 04 US open? The root of all this was the outrageous line call. Tennis matches should be decided simply by the tennis and not by corrupt officiating. No one is more fair on the court than the Williams sisters. They rarely challenge any calls and they never try to steal any free points from their opponents. (Henin at the French open, Martinez Sanches at this years French). So who could blame her for getting worked up?! I'm tired of the anti williams sisters band wagon. They're magnificent tennis players and for some bizarre reason that bothers so many people. GET OVER IT

Posted by tlctaurus 09/16/2009 at 10:33 PM

I find it funny that people want to susend and fine and penalize the most sucessful woman on the women's tour. I have never seen any of the Russians fined for the illegal on-court coaching. I have seen Safina weck many a raquet. It's ridiculous. She was out of line, apologized, move on. Stop wishing to banish her from tennis so that your second-rate players can finally win a slam...

Posted by harold brown 09/16/2009 at 11:19 PM

Wilson57 nailed it! The commentators are atrocious. The choices of venue by amateurs. The choosers of talent worse than those they choose. Is there no tennis angel to watch over us?

Posted by John 09/16/2009 at 11:24 PM

Hehe, I'd like to see how many Del Potros and Federers will win matches with a healthy Nadal, wait!!
I remember Safin beating Sampras in the US Open 2000
I remember Hewitt beating Sampras in the US Open 2001
and I remember Roddick winning the US Open too, and? where are they?

Posted by Sue 09/16/2009 at 11:25 PM

Nice article! Thanks for applauding Mary Carillo, not being afraid to say McEnroe was wrong on the Serena matter, and why Serena should get appropriate punishment including suspension to ensure no one will attempt for future violations. It's about the integrity of this sport, as Mary Carillo said. She said it so well.

Thank you for standing firm on this!

Posted by ALYSE P OWENS 09/16/2009 at 11:41 PM

why would forgettable mary carillo want to suspend sarena and no one else who has previlusly lost it on the court. personally mary needs to get a life and mind her business which is not calling for the suspension of any one but herself for being overly opinionated and boring. have you ever lost your temper mary? oh, you have to do something besides be boring to have something to get excited about.get over yourself and let it go mary because no matter what does or does not happen with the incident if they take your advise, the tennis world is as ignorant as the person that hired you as a commentator.if the powers that be suspend sarena for the next major how about thet suspend you for life? fair exchange i say. nice win for the argentine and did roger cry again?

Posted by nakita 09/16/2009 at 11:50 PM


Posted by Bill 09/16/2009 at 11:51 PM

I think many of us are growing a little weary of the imminent demise of Federer each time he fails to win a major/minor. It is now a fact of life that he will not be able to win every match every time. His service game was beginning to falter in the Djokovic match to my recollection and continued to worsen in the title match; a difficult result to understand in view of his emphasis on that part of the game this year. His strategy was sound in using drop shots to a player far behind the baseline and taking away angles from the del Potro cannon forehand in the early stages. He used blocking returns of service almost exclusively on the del Potro second serve and this is also surprising especially in cases of multiple break point opportunities. He also seemed ill-prepared for strong service returns to his feet at the baseline in both Djokovic and del Potro matches. I find it remarkable that without the benefit of a strong service game he did as well as he did. Congrats to del Potro by the way.

Posted by EC 09/17/2009 at 12:19 AM

Regarding foot faults, how complicated is it to have instant replay cameras pointed at the baseline to allow players to challenge those types of calls? Then, what happened with Serena would've never happened. Regardless, there's no doubt that Serena is a bit of a drama queen and a loose cannon on a tennis court when things aren't going her way. What she did of course was a bit of a shocker.

Posted by Mr Rick 09/17/2009 at 12:42 AM

Double standard---double, double standard.

NFL, NBA, baseball players, etc. engage in tirades and profanities regularily on the field of play.

Flavia Panetta gave someone the finger on court earlier this year.

Roger Federer blasted the ref a couple of times during the US Open final. Yet he gets an A, and Serena gets an F.

She should be condemned, suspended, kicked out of tennis forever.

People have been just looking for an opportunity to roundly condemn Serena because she has never fit the mould of what a prim, proper female tennis player should be. So I guess they finally got it. But it's all very hypocritical and very unfair.

Tennis championships should be settled by tennis raquets, not lame foot fault calls.

The next time a cop pulls you over for going one mile over the speed limit when you are, for example, running late for a job boosting or possibly job ending event, good luck maintaining your own composure...

Posted by mike 09/17/2009 at 12:56 AM

I am not a bid Serena fan, BUT i enjoyed her outburst. The call was herendous, like a touch foul in OT in hoops, etc. Furthermore, the open did the same thing in the Hewitt / Fed final a few years back, so I suggest they prep their linesmen - no bogus calls in the big games. Let the players decide the outcomes. I like to see the players get into it a little like Serena did, because tennis is still a view as a sissy sport in the US and Serena made some headway in the right direction.

Posted by tennisforthebest 09/17/2009 at 01:13 AM

Nothing to take away from Delpo, but the way Federer played the final, anyone from top 6 would have won the match, even Roddick. Federer didn't serve properly, he should have served out the 2nd set and that would be it for Delpo, but he wasn't into the match for some reason. Very casual approach, kept hitting to Delpo's forehand, kept missing first serves, too many unforced errors and so many missed chances and then he said the loss didn't hurt either. What he doesn't care anymore?
Federer is type of player, once he retires it won't be fun watching tennis, so till the time he is around it would be nice if the real Fed shows up in the finals, that would be nice for us fans.

Posted by zolarafa 09/17/2009 at 01:48 AM

Federer was outplayed by Delpo after the second set and then he got nervous and lost the match.
Fed played great against Djokovic and outstanding against Delpo in the first set. But When Delpo did not go away, he started to get nervous. The way he gets nervous against Rafa. I knew he could lose the match when he started arguing with the umpire. I think he has won so many matches so easily, that when he has a fierce opponent that does not go away, it makes life hard for him.

I think Fed will win more majors but not as frequently as before. Still amazing record at the age 28. He has reached ll the GS finals and has won 2 of them.

Posted by zolarafa 09/17/2009 at 01:50 AM

oops, last sentece should read:
He has reached all GS finals (this year) and has won 2 of them.

Posted by james 09/17/2009 at 02:20 AM

i'll shove balls down serena's throat! lol!

Posted by MrSerenaWilliams 09/17/2009 at 02:53 AM

Steve, before posting inaccuracies about a tennis player on your blog, you probably should have checked out this *uncensored* video

and I have to warn you....the language is PG-13! :terrified:

Serena doesn't even say the "f" word...unless you mean "freakin"

Moreover, your LACK of acknowledgment of Federer's ACTUAL cursing out of the chair umpire (including more that wasn't seen on television, means that you using some sort of twisted double standard to harangue Serena on a "crime" that she didn't commit.

And like your (much more compassionate and intelligent) colleague Pete Bodo said, "did anyone really think Serena was going to hit this woman in front of 20,000 people and millions watching on t.v.?"

If you're nuts....but then again, after reading your high-and-mighty condemnation of Serena...I guess that's not too far fetched of an idea.

Real journalists do research. Thanks :)

Posted by Joseph madelo 09/17/2009 at 03:32 AM

Fed is a good sportsman but his fans are not. Until now many of them never accept the reality that Fed was defeated by Rafa (when Rafa was in Prime-i hope he can come back)in many occassions. That's why many of them prefer Fed to lost to other player except Rafa. Sad to say Rafa is early out of prime, his tennis moves and tactics are changed to compensate his physical problems.

Posted by ben 09/17/2009 at 03:42 AM

kim is simply the best at the open..i was rooting for her all along..
i think this is the first time a wildcard, unseeded and unranked player win the title here or at any other major..she always been supertalented..remember her won her first wta title in 99 at luxembourg at 16..and made to last 16 that year at happy for her..and remember when she won back to back Indian Wells-Miami in 2005 when came back from injury and not playing for months and her ranking at that time was somewhere outside 130..she always capable to do something what others can..she got great mind and personality for tennis..

well, the tirade...i always think she kind of a drama all along and the outburst really show glimpse of it..
screaming to people..what is that ??..dont understand why people behave such and then apologize..that is really bad..people might forgive but they will remember it forever..i dont think anyone like people to scream badly at them in any situation ever..
what that happen is really unacceptable for the player shouldnt behave that way , even when you are losing should be handled very discipline and professional and respectful, definitely no longer a fan now....
just look at Safina, she lost badly at Wimby, but she handled that loss very excellent and really positive and respectful..
there so many players who been playing for years and not winning but no such behavior.

so happy that DP won as im not RF fan..well done DP for getting it before Andy Murray, i would prefer Rafa to win so he can complete the major at age 23 , much earlier than RF who only did it at 27..hopefully Rafa will do that next year..go Rafa..

Posted by Jeff 09/17/2009 at 04:34 AM

Serena gets a F? She reached the semi's and won the doubles...does that mean every other women on the tour other than Kim gets a z?

Posted by Samantha elin 09/17/2009 at 05:54 AM

Well said Mr.Rick, those who want their two pound of flesh from Serena are people who were looking to condemn her anyway. Those calling for outrageous punishment like a year suspension and she should be kicked out are people who had a problem with Serena long before this incident and are just using it has an excuse. A good example of this is Carillo, go listen to her call of Serena 05 AO match against Sharapova and how she bashed and ridicule Serena throughout it, she's a longtime Serena hater. I don't recall this hypocrite calling for her double partner and childhood friend Mac to be suspended. In fact she has defended his outburst as the fault of bad referee errors. I would give her the grade of H for hypocrite and would disagree with Steve, it takes no courage to be a hypocrite.

Posted by Samantha elin 09/17/2009 at 06:03 AM

Agreed matches should be decided on the racquet of the two players, not an ALLEGED ff that only this linesperson saw. Even J-Mac who was calling the match and viewed the video said he didn't believe it was a ff which was called at such a crucial moment. I think J-mac who is certainly no supporter of Serena would know a FF if he saw one. I'm tired of referee errors and bad lines calling deciding matches. This happened in the Venus and Sprerm match when Sprerm was given a extra point by mistake and at the Serena, Capriati match which led to shotspot. Let's the players decide how the match end.

Posted by Pencil 09/17/2009 at 06:47 AM

mrserenawilliams: You don't know what you are talking about. Although Serena used multiple obscenities, the significace of her tirade was that she threatened the life of the lineswoman because she didn't like her call. This is something that I have never even seen in my 40+ years of watching tennis. Compared to this, the issue of obscenities is not even that important. What is even more significant is that Serena was not even sorry about threatening the lineswoman. People make mistakes, but Serena should have been mortified by her tirade, she should have been concerned for the welfare of the person whom she just threatened to kill, and she should have immediately and profusely apologized. But instead of immediately apologizing for actions, Serena didn't even apologize until 3 days later, and when she did her "apology" was more an attempt to explain and justify her outrageous threatening tirade rather than to express remorse. It appears that Serena "apologized" mainly after she realized that she might be suspended, not because she was concerned for anyone other than herself. This incident shows that there is something seriously wrong with Serena's thinking. She appears to have some kind of moral and/or mental problem. I think she is so competitive that she equates apologizing with "losing". This is not normal or right.

Posted by pencil 09/17/2009 at 07:10 AM

samantha elin: You are wrong. Serena should be suspended for 3-6 months because she threatned the life of a lineswoman and was not even sorry about it. Whether Serena meant what she said literally or not, she is responsible for the thoughts which she expressed. Personally I would take her tirade to be a credible threat of bodily harm, and this is a crime for which Serena could be criminally prosecuted.

Posted by pencil 09/17/2009 at 07:40 AM

mr rick: This is not about obscenities, it is about threatening to kill a lineswoman then not even being sorry about it. What is wrong with you that you totally ignore this? Are you unaware that Serena comitted a crime by threatening to kill the lineswoman? If nothing else, you and Serena should both now realize that when you get mad at someone you should not threaten to kill them or to do bodily harm - because it is a crime.

Posted by susan 09/17/2009 at 07:56 AM

oh boy call in the lawyers. there is no conclusive evidence on whether she said "kill" . that's still in dispute, accordin to all reports. let the investigators decide that one.

Posted by daisyrawks 09/17/2009 at 08:25 AM

I don't know that Serena actually said "kill" but the wording isn't the point. The point is that she behaved in a very threatening manner. I don't care if she was screaming about rainbows, unicorns, and fluffy little bunnies. A very muscular, angry woman brandishing a racket at you is threatening. That lady had been sitting on the court all night; she knows full well how hard Serena can swing that racket.

To all the people calling Carillo biased, I've heard her say any number of times how good the Williams are for the game, etc. I've also heard her disagree with Johnny Mac many times. When he was saying that foot fault should never have been called, she called him out on it. Some years back when Mac said that women shouldn't call mens' matches because they don't understand what the guys are thinking, Carillo openly disagreed with him.

Posted by daisyrawks 09/17/2009 at 08:34 AM

Also, to the person who posted the video of Serena in which her f-bomb was "frickin": that could very easily have been edited. I'm not saying it was; I'm just saying it's quite simple to do. Serena herself hasn't disputed the assertion that she swore, so I don't see any reason to think she didn't. Whatever the case, I'm certainly not going to go looking for facts at a celebrity gossip website.

Posted by UMAR Firdaus 09/17/2009 at 08:54 AM

Uhhhhhhh. Pity on Anti Federer fans, surely he's going to bounce back in a style of his own. His first serve % cost him, thats it. Even a 60% serve would have done the trick. But again no one is destined to win every thing.
Del potro is looking promising, i hope he doesnt transform into Djoko.
Nadal is awesome.
Murray was disappointing, so was roddick.
Overall Men's tennis in great hands. Newcomers coming, winning and trying to do what Federer has done.........and is still doing.
Watch out for French Open 2010, i think its going to be the best slam ever.

Posted by A Jackson 09/17/2009 at 09:35 AM

Seriously everyone think Serena should be suspend well like she said the line judge have heard WORSE!!!!!!!!! Roger use the F word too on live t.v. in daytime a least my kids didn't hear Serena cause they were in bed, but they heard Roger. I think the foot fault was a BAD CALL... I think Kim was given the TROPHY yeah she beat Venus, but if Serena had a chance we all no she would of came back my opinion I would not won't to win A GRAND SLAM THAT WAY!!!!!!!

Posted by Patricia H 09/17/2009 at 09:50 AM

I totally disagree with your F grade for Serena. Tennis is a very stressful profession. Of course it is now about winning and not about the money. Serena has played Tennis with dignity and grace for well over a decade. She and Venus have endured the boos and lack of support and respect from fans around the world, including America for years. They very seldom challenge the calls made against them. It was a long uphill climb to get racially divided America to respect the Willams sisters. They earned that respect by being superior tennis players. Let's be frank, they do not fit the "standard" America sweetheart image.

I am a huge tennis fan. I watch hours of tennis on television. It appears Venus and Serena receive the majority of the foot fault calls. In the future, players must have the opportunity to challenge foot faults. Of course, she was in the moment when she got so angry. Who wouldn't be? These athletics train very hard to be the best. I agree she could have handled the situation better. But who is the side line writer to give her a F grade. McEnroe and Conners have all behaved badly in the past. Is this a double standard?

Serena won her 1st major at the age of 17. She was never called America's sweetheart like Melanie. At every age, she has won a major. I am very curious why Serena and Venus have not been called America's sweethearts. I suspect it is because they are not white blonds.

No one really knows what was going on in Serena's head during that semifinal match. Who knows, she may have been steaming before she hit the 1st ball- she may have been angry that after many years of hard work, holding her head up high, she had never been called America's sweetheart. If you couple that with the fact that she was losing, that WRONG foot fault was probably the last drop that started the flood.

AMERICA do the right thing - recognize the Williams Sisters as a class act. After many years of demonstrating they strive to live above the fray - they are finally showing the strain.

No one is perfect - Allow Serena to learn from the high pressure error moment.

As for Roger F - I agree with his grade. The guy is just great. He has had an amazing year. If he never wins another major. He will always be the great one.

Posted by Janet Palmer 09/17/2009 at 09:56 AM

You should have mentioned Roger's cursing at the umpire. Serena was wrong, yes, but discipline must be for everyone. It was interesting to hear when Roger cursed at the umpire, the response of the commentators. Mary pointed out the cursing and Dick Enberg's comment, but its not venomous. Are you kidding me????

Posted by Bhai Mirzai 09/17/2009 at 10:02 AM

zolarafa: I agree with you that Fed got nervous when Delpo started playing good. Actually had the same impression in the QF against Soderling (which was a very similar match actually and could have gone Soderling's way).

But he did not play very good in the first two sets ---- Delpo played bad. Fed did not have a good serve in the entire match.

I agree with "tennisforthebest" that Federer genuinely looked not totally interested --- as if he wanted to win ONLY if it were an easy win, but was not enthusiastic about putting in an effort.

As for playing to the FH, I think that strategy was not wrong, but he just gave him too much rythm and too much width (should have tried to be closer to his body and in the middle).

Posted by Bhai Mirzai 09/17/2009 at 10:04 AM


Roger did NOT curse AT the umpire, but he used the curse words in his sentence. It was not good, but there is difference.

Posted by Adrian 09/17/2009 at 10:14 AM

In defense of Serena, I have yet to see a video that proves without a doubt that Serena committed a foot fault. The replays during the semi-final failed to show her foot going over the line. Yes, Serena went way too far in disputing what could have been a bad call. But who wouldn't have been incensed if you thought you had been slighted in one of the most important moments of your career?

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