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 cneblett 09/17/2009 at 10:23 AM

Serena got the point penalty and is in so much trouble for the abusive and threatening direction toward the linesperson. The racket being chopped down, the ball being thrust towards her while talking about sticking it down her throat, etc. The other thing to remember is that in an earlier match where she was called for a foot fault she just stood there and glared for quite a while at the linesperson. It was obvious she was saying do not make that call again. That time they had a clear view that she did in fact foot fault. So this has been brewing with Serena throughout the tournament. As for the punishment being done, I think she will get at least an addtional fine.

To the people who say no additional punishment, J-Mac got I think it was a 2 motnh suspension due to repeated fines, so this is not a unique situation of future punishment due to on court behavior.

Posted by pencil 09/17/2009 at 10:30 AM

Why would anyone think that a person has to use the word "kill" in order to make a death threat? If Serena had said "I'm going to take a ... knife and cut your...throat then obviously that would also be a death threat.

Posted by linda 09/17/2009 at 10:35 AM

funny how everyone seems to forget about the f words federer yelled to the umpire during the change over. because he is a man it's okay. if one person gets fined and hung out to dry and everyone should. let's not have a double standard because of race or gender

Posted by Mr Rick 09/17/2009 at 10:56 AM

oh for cripes sake Pencil yelling at someone is NOT a crime - if so, please provide me examples of someone who has actually been convicted of the crime of yelling at someone.

In order to do their jobs well, professional athletes need to bring themselves to the brink all the time, intellectually, physically, emotionally, on every level. They train and train until every cell in their body hurts. They are not allowed to have a bad day. If they do, they get completely vilified. Just look at Andy Murray - he left the USO over two weeks ago and he is still getting slammed here for the weak effort he put in.

Most people who watched that woman's final paid hundreds - many paid thousands - of dollars for their tickets, microphones and cameras from all over the world were trained on the match, sponsors with their millions of dollars expecting big pay backs for their investments, the pressure could not be any more intense.

You load the gun like that for these athletes and you don't expect it to go off sometimes???!

Seriously, get real.

Posted by les 09/17/2009 at 11:02 AM

It is NOT a double standard. S.W.'s explosion threatened with bodily harm. And The ASSOCIATED PRESS reported her words "I will kill you", as told by Frazier on Breakfast at the Open. IF this were INCORRECT, these entities would be SUED. But it isn't incorrect and there is no talk of a lawsuit. Without doubt, there is certainly audio equipment that was in use and could confirm easily the initial reports, but they are not being released to the public. The same goes for the visual technology for the footfault. Of course cameras can zero in on her footfault and show us clearly, just as they do for all the challenge calls, but for some mysterious (?) reasons, are refraining from doing so. Although from what I saw it was clearly a footfault.
And now, not only the linesperson's job is being questioned, but so is this very rational footfault rule for serving which has been part of tennis protocol for decades.
And so now, not only are linespersons in jeapardy, but even the game of tennis is under threat. And for what - and for whom?
To a previous poster: SW would like us to think she would have won - but she was losing at the point of infraction, so she LOST and she was the poorer player on that day, disruptive threat or not...

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 11:25 AM

Well said, Ryota. But she won't lose fans; she won't lose sponsors. Any on who cared about Serena before this will care about her that much more after this. Serena shouldn't have reacted the way she did--but she is human and she simply went with her emotions. I suspect she was more angry with herself than she was at that lineswoman--but she reacted in the heat of the moment, she was fined and that should be it.

What I find interesting though is the over-the-top reaction of some of these people. They act like Serena was actually going to hit this woman. It's incredible that none of them seemed to be this outraged when Lleyton Hewitt accused a linejudge of cheating in favor of Blake because they "look alike". Hewitt wasn't suspended; in fact, he wasn't even fined. John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors--or how about Jennifer Capriati who used F-bombs like a pacifier. They glossed over those. Justin Henin stole a match from Serena--but the French crowd thought it was nicer to boo the cheated and not the cheater. The tennis officionados never even cited her for that offense.

Now, Serena--who has been at the receiving end of a lot of injustice--is being paraded as a monster. Some even suggested she be permanently expelled from the game. Amazing!

Yes, TENNIS IS RACIST! We have seen lots of examples of this very fact. I notice how the girls never get the show courts at Wimbledon even though, Sharapova--who does, is much less accomplished than either of them. In the trophy ceremonies, their opponents get a peck & they get a handshake (though I suspect they probably prefer this). But the disparate way in which they are treated is exceedingly obvious & becomes glaringly so with every day that passes.

I think the USTA & tennis officials would be wise not to play the suspension-card with Serena. That would not go over well will the more objective members of the public. Mary Carillo & her ilk can scream all they want, but the fact is that Serena never physically threatened that woman nor was she ever going to physically attack her. The lineswoman can claim to be as afraid as she wants to claim but the applicable standard is not what she would have perceived but what a reasonable person given the same set of circumstances would have perceived.

Posted by zolarafa 09/17/2009 at 11:29 AM

Bhai Mirzai,
Roger is very talented , without a doubt. Abd because of that and his hard work, he usually has won his matches very easily. ( also the fact that many players melt down when they see him on the other side of the net). But he gets stressed when someone stands up to him and puts on the fight. It is not the lack of interest. Why would he not be interested in getting his 6th title if he has put the effort to get to the final?

He served well in the first set and was having fun with Delpo. It was becoming a beat down and Delpo turned the table on him in the second set and the trouble started.

Fed was nervous, because he cared. He didn't want to lose the match. But he was in unfamiliar territory after Delpo started to fire those forehands.

About Serena and the lineswoman;
what should the lines judge do? It is her JOB to call the faults. It may be right or wrong. If wrong, it should be challenged.
If foot faults at the last game are unacceptable ( And I think so too), then WTA and ITF should make it an official rule. That woman did her job and got scolded for it.

Serena lost control and did something she should not have done. worse, she did not even feel like apologizing for that. her justification is that McEnroe,Roddick, Hewitt,...and many more ( even Federer) get away with what they do on court ( none threatened a line judge of course).

So, what is the message here? That you can curse the judge and make racist remarks, call the umpire a B***( Bjorkman), but do not wave your racket?!

I agree that there is a double standard. I think the fine was not enough, but I think others should be warned too, not just Serena.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 11:30 AM

How about when Tim Henman hit a ball-kid with a ball that he slammed in anger at Wimbledon. Yes, he was defaulted but I don't recall any suspension. Which is more dangerous: threatening to do something or actually doing it? If you don't suspend players for actually engaging in inherently dangerous activity such as hitting the crowd with a ball; then you can't exactly suspend them for wishing or wanting to do so.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 11:33 AM

Les: S. Williams has been down matchpoints to Kim Clijsters before & she has come back & won. It's happened more than twice in their matches. In Australia, she was down 5-1 w/ 2 matchpoints & she still came back & won. That match was a long way from being over.

Posted by les 09/17/2009 at 11:37 AM

INTENTIONAL threats are not equivalent to unintended ones. Keep trying, but that linesperson was a VICTIM of abuse - publicly makes it no less a possible crime.
All this excusing away is why we end up with a judicial system that so often lets potential and actual criminals - especially celebrities - off
the hook.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 11:39 AM

les says: "It is NOT a double standard. S.W.'s explosion threatened with bodily harm. And The ASSOCIATED PRESS reported her words "I will kill you", as told by Frazier on Breakfast at the Open. IF this were INCORRECT, these entities would be SUED. But it isn't incorrect and there is no talk of a lawsuit."

This is just rubbish! Assuming she said she was going to kill someone, did she actually do it. Have you never made a statement such as that? Do people not make such statements every day. Has someone ever been convicted of making an idol threat? As you apparently seem not to know--you have to do more than just say the words to be charged criminally.

And just because these entities say it doesn't make it true. You are apparently unaware that news agencies write false things daily or write misquotes. If they were sued whenever that happened then people would be in court every second and there would be no news organizations left. Get your facts straight.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 11:43 AM

"I am not being paid to make a clinical diagnosis but am using the term to express an idea. Serena's way of thinking is sick and is something that if allowed to manifest is something that could drive her to do something similar to what Talliwacker did."

Elmers Glue: I think this describes you quite well. You sound like a "talliwacker". If an isolated tirade on a tennis court makes one a roving psychopath then you are most definitely unglued!

Posted by Well Left 09/17/2009 at 11:44 AM

That was the best Grand Slam I have witnessed and you capped it with a fantastic grade sheet.
Serena F? Yeah, that said it all.
Thanks, Steve

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 11:45 AM

Yea, JWhite--I'm sure Tom is crying buckets. Just the sought of fan he needs, one who is too childish to accept a different point of view.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 11:47 AM

"No body likes to get kicked in the mouth. And if it happens to you often enough, one day, you reach your limit."

Well said--Mim! ICAM.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 11:48 AM

JWhite says: "Serena will hopefully get a good suspension."

Dream On!

Posted by london 09/17/2009 at 11:50 AM

if serena gets suspended for that, i will feel like taking this f@#%%# computer and bustin it over the grand slam officials f@#$%##$ that a threat?

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 11:51 AM

"I think the ideas I expressed have a lot of uncertainty and are not definitive, but have enough merit to be included in the discussion. What bothers me is that Serena does not appear to be remorseful about threatening the life of another person."

This defies logic. The lengths to which people will go to make a point that does not exist is alarming..and also hilarious!

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 11:58 AM

LOL! Be careful, london; you might just be permanently expelled from society from making such an eggregious THREAT.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 12:02 PM

Besides, london, I wouldn't worry. Ignoring all the hysteria from some of these folks like the lovely Mary Carillo--USTA & ITF know that what she did did not reach a suspension threshold & they would be inviting a lawsuit if they did that. They would also need to explain why they haven't suspended other players who have not only said but have DONE a lot worse.

Serena's skin color & gender do not automatically qualify her for the eyes of fairminded people anyway.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 12:11 PM

"INTENTIONAL threats are not equivalent to unintended ones. Keep trying, but that linesperson was a VICTIM of abuse - publicly makes it no less a possible crime."

Les: quit trying to cloak your bias in righteous indignation. Idol threats made in anger & without premeditation do not equate to intentional threats. And intending to threaten someone does not always rise to the degree of criminality. We all say things we don't mean out of anger. Yes, even you in all your self-righteousness. Your analogy is faulty.

By the way, linespeople in ALL sports are abused daily--it is an unfortunate part & parcel of sports. Competition elicits adrenaline, it elicits pressure. People under intense pressure have been known to overreact--it is HUMAN NATURE; not an indication of psychopathy.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 12:14 PM

Mr Rick 09/17/2009 @ 10:56 AM: Absolutely WELL SAID!

Posted by prhoodeez 09/17/2009 at 12:35 PM

I totally agree with Samantha. Mary Carillo jumps on any bandwagon of the moment. I agree if you punish Serena then you must do it for the others. Did I hear something about punishing her by not letting her play the Australian Open in '10 ? What a joke the WTA has become....

Posted by robert 09/17/2009 at 12:48 PM

"oh for cripes sake Pencil yelling at someone is NOT a crime - if so, please provide me examples of someone who has actually been convicted of the crime of yelling at someone."

One Damir Dokic (father of tennis player Jelena Dokic) served some jailtime for saying (not yelling!) in a newspaper interview that he'll fire an RPG or put a hand grenade under the car of the Australian ambassador in Serbia if they do not put a stop to his daughter's spate of interviews in which she spoke about being regularly beaten by him.

Although he explained later on he was just bragging about possesing grenades and never meant to actually kill anyone, and he apologized, he got several months in jail. His crime: a threat of force.

Posted by ichuse2 09/17/2009 at 01:00 PM

I disagree with the call for Serena's suspension. As a matter of fact she is the only reason I watch or attend tournaments at all. I love that passion she shows on and off the court. Most players would not have even showed up for the press conference. She was still digesting what had just happened. Now, I have a hard time listening to anything you or Patrick McEnroe say (Why do you think he got Booed?). Mary Carillo is done in my book, she is a hypocrite as well. This incident told me alot more about you commentators/bloggers then it did about Serena. She has never ever done anything like this before and has been nothing but good for the sport even when it was not so kind to her. Federer dropped two F-Bombs and a Sh*t and you gave him a total pass. He told the chair ump to stop Fuc*ing talking to him. He said don't fuc*ing tell me when to talk (or what Rodger?? Was that a threat?) The WTA and USTA without Serena and Venus is going to be pretty pathetic. Please stop trying to speed up this process. Remember whatever you do to her has to apply to everyone else. Be careful what you wish for.

Didn't you or have a post the day after Serena's outburst saying that the lines-person should not have inserted herself into that semis match with a foot fault call? It seems to have conveniently disappeared.

Posted by Easton 09/17/2009 at 01:03 PM

It was a bad outburst.

She apologized fully...even if it was a tad late

She suffered the consequences - by losing the match (she has come back from similar positions in the past, notably against Kim in the Aussie Open a few years ago)

Talks of suspension and emphasizing the threat are excessive reactions. So too is any reaction that totally absolves Serena.

She's my girl - guilty, but not worthy of demonizing her.

Posted by Easton 09/17/2009 at 01:05 PM

what's the next big tournamnet?

Posted by Perry 09/17/2009 at 01:16 PM

You people are a bunch of idiot's. All of you sometime in your dreary lifes have deserved an F-, but of course those without any faults, please cast the first stone or move on!!

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 01:19 PM

"One Damir Dokic (father of tennis player Jelena Dokic) served some jailtime for saying (not yelling!) in a newspaper interview that he'll fire an RPG or put a hand grenade under the car of the Australian ambassador in Serbia if they do not put a stop to his daughter's spate of interviews in which she spoke about being regularly beaten by him."

Robert, there is no correlation. Dokic was in the privacy of his own environment when he chose to make a written deliberate & obviously premeditated threat. It does not quite equate to the same as making a statement within the heat of battle...when everything is barelling down on you.

Do you people not understand the concept of understanding? Though I suspect that all this shrouded ire is due to the fact that it is a William sister--especially Serena, the one who wins all the time & makes no appologies about it.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 01:24 PM

Steve: "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"

Yea, right--tough old bird. More like, tough old frustrated condescending cow!

Posted by Mr Rick 09/17/2009 at 01:25 PM

robert -

... I sense you are leaving certain other facts out of the Dokic story, but for one thing, I did not hear Serena mention using HAND GRENADES or other explosive devices...

c'mon dude

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 01:26 PM

"what's the next big tournamnet?"

Australia--or the Championships in November. Of course there are the fall indoors---Linz, Zurich, Porsche--all that crap where the 2nd tiers (Dinara & co) excel.

Posted by jojo 09/17/2009 at 01:33 PM

Well said about the foot fault and the consequences....that doesn't maen that I can't forgive Serena, aho was robbed blind against Jennifer Capriatitwo years ago.....the truth there, I am told by my best friend, who is an umpire, is that the German woman who made that infamous overrulle was not a top official. She was a last minute substitute because a group of chair umpires were suspended for falsifying their credentials at the Olympics, and sneaking into other events. Serena and mac both play on rage, and need to be reined in....for their own goods, and the good of the let's stop the shrieking.

Posted by Easton 09/17/2009 at 01:36 PM

I want to see Serena do well in some of those non-slam events now...too much of a layoff there.

She better get that booty movin in those tourneys.

Trivia...who will win more Slams in 2010...Kim, Serena or Dinara?

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 01:40 PM

Kim will do okay--but people forget that it is a whole lot easier to swing when no one expects you to win. It's gonna get a whole lot tougher from now on--cos she's now the IT girl along with Oudin, of course.

My money is on Serena. Dinara has too many kinks in her game.

Posted by Claude 09/17/2009 at 01:43 PM

Serena is an idiot: I've always said that and I always will. I will publically rejoice when she and her other evil sister retire and leave the game of tennis to people who are worthy of being real winners. She should be banned for a year for that tirade, there was no excuse for that: adults control tempers, that is part of being a grown-up! But then again she has the mentality of an amaeba!
I'm so happy she lost, she deserves it. Watching her TRY and slide on clay is almost as entertaining as watching her fake apologies and her STUPID press conferences. She sounds like she has the education of a 2 year-old. What a true idiot and what lack of class, intellect, education, tolerance, grace, kindness and beauty. She has, and is, nothing.

Posted by x 09/17/2009 at 01:43 PM

I doubt that Serena will be allowed to play in Australia. If she is then it would be a discrace for the USTA.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 01:44 PM

Mr. Rick: "I did not hear Serena mention using HAND GRENADES or other explosive devices..."

I did; right after she climbed on the "little" woman's head & clubbed her with one hand as she used the other to stuff the racquet down her throat. How could you have missed it? Send that girl to the Death Chamber!

Posted by Easton 09/17/2009 at 01:44 PM

Decent read, Babe. I am curious to see how Oudin does over the medium term myself.

Should be a lot of intrigue if Henin returns too...the fight and the backhand...

If healthy I am picking the sisters to take 3 of the 4...bullish, but quite doable. I'm giving the other one to Kim or Dementieva.

Posted by x 09/17/2009 at 01:49 PM

Shoving a ... tennis ball down a person's ... throat is a way of violently murdering them. Same as: Taking a ... knife and cutting your ... throat; same as: Taking a .... gun and blowing your ... head off.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 01:51 PM

We'll see, Easton. It will be an exciting year for sure. Although, I don't know if Dementieva will ever will only get tougher & tougher for her. That loss to Oudin will be devastating to her confidence.

As for Oudin, I think she just surprised some players. I was happy for her but she really does not have much more than tenacity going for her. She can really win only when the big hitters are crumbling--that woun't happen too often. I suspect she sill fade as quickly as she appeared. She will still win some matches but equalling her efforts in NYC will be near impossible. She just doesn't have the necessary weapons; unlike the other dimunitive player--Henin.

Posted by Easton 09/17/2009 at 01:53 PM

Wow, Claude!!!!

Do you really hate her that much???

Posted by Easton 09/17/2009 at 01:56 PM

Babe, i think dementieva possess the grit to get it done. surprising she has not won more on the big stage.

Oudin has the spirit, but i agree with you that she doesn't have much more. She needs a weapon...henin was not powerful, but she was precise, and could really find the angles.

Posted by David Nguyen 09/17/2009 at 02:03 PM

Darina plays like her brother. Up and down on a rollercoaster but I don't think she is consistent enough to bet on. Serena Dementiava and Klijsters can win.

Posted by x 09/17/2009 at 02:08 PM

I think Serena and Venus are intelligent multitalented mukltidimensional tennis players who have brought a lot of good things to the game. I cannot stand the way they scream whenever they hit the ball, so I rarely watch them play for more than a few minutes at a time. I was enjoying the Serena/Kim match because Serena did not scream (thank you), and because they both were playing great. If Serena would continue to not scream and show some real understanding and remorse for her incident then I would be a big fan.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 02:08 PM

Yes, Demmy has the physical gifts, but does she have the mental stamina. She's suffered some bad losses in the last 2 slams--that's hard to rebound from--espcially at her age.

As for Oudin; she needs help from her opponent--I mean, more than usual. She needed Petrova to crumble--which she usually will; she needed Sharapova's dfs & she needed Demmy's tightening--though, to my mind that is the match for which she deserves the most credit. She played well & Dementieva didn't really give it away--like her other two opponents did.

Henin was deceptively powerful. At first she played with angles & variety--but she later added power & she used it to win.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 02:10 PM

I agree, David. Plus her mobility--which the others have--is seriously lacking. She has to dominated the points to win & when she feels stress everything goes awry...that's when the dfs come & the forehands stand hitting the poles.

Posted by Easton 09/17/2009 at 02:15 PM

X, that's an interesting take:) The screaming part. Do they scream that much? If i recall correctly Sharapova is the real screamer on the women's side.

i know Serena lets rip a powerful primal roar when she wins a big point (which i absolutely love), but I never viewed her and venus as big grunters/screamers.

Posted by Colette 09/17/2009 at 02:17 PM

C'mon, Claude ... evil sister! Venus is a class act, on and off the court.

Posted by Easton 09/17/2009 at 02:17 PM

Ok, the men's side:

Is DP for real?

Will Andy R fade or continue his recent god form (pre US Open)

What's the likelihood of Nadal's career getting rail roaded by injuries?

Posted by C.F. 09/17/2009 at 02:21 PM

Wow, a lot of controversy in the Serena outburst vs. Federer outburst.

My 2 cents:

I do think Serena yelling at a lineswoman and saying that she'd shove the ball down her throat is far scarier than Federer being, well... b*tchy. Her gestures were a bit thretening in the context.

I ALSO think that it's pretty obvious, even while Serena was having her scene, that she wouldn't hurt anyone. Still, she certainly scared the lineswoman, and threats should never be accepted, so I agree with her being fined - and only fined. She said she was sorry, she recognized she was wrong in her outburst and she was very graceful in saying that the way the match ended doesn't take anything away from how beautifully Clijsters played. I think suspension is way too much. I wouldn't give her an F, too. She dominated the field till the final, I think she deserves more.

Now on Federer... here's the thing - when things don't go his way, he gets sour. We all know that, but that's his problem, not the umpire's, not ours. If there's a fine for profanity, Mr. Perfect should be fined as well. What I saw there was a champion forgetting the role model part and taking on the b*tchy role - a recurring one when he's not pleased. Yes, he is human, yes he can lose his temper, BUT he must be subject to the consequences, too. I don't like him less because he said a few swear words to an umpire who wasn't really a very good one. Federer didn't threaten anyone, so I wouldn't say the fine should be the same as Serena's, but I think he should be fined for swearing directly at the umpire. I find it odd that Serena may face suspension and Federer gets a free pass. Give him a silly, symbolic $500 fine, for all I care, but it's hard to see only one being punished - the one that apologized, I might add.

I'd turn Federer's A into an A-. Or B+.

Posted by Federer Fan 09/17/2009 at 02:29 PM

I agree with all the grades.

Here is mine:
Kim Clijsters: A+++, for great attitude and amazing skills

Federer: A+ for his willingness to fight even he has got 15 titles

Nadal: A+ for his great attitude even he is injured and has 6 titles

Djokovic: A, for his efforts to correct his and his family's PR mistakes

Darren Cahill: A, for his valuable education to recreational tennis players and spectators. He should get at least Johnny Mac's grade. Love his Aussie English too.

Tennis Channel: F- A+++ for giving fans opportunities to watch online live without charge. This is the right way to promote tennis!

Posted by JW in CA 09/17/2009 at 02:30 PM

Carillo on Delpo: "He's taller than Federer"

Enberg (fellow broadcast failure): "What?"

Carillo: "He's better at being tall"

These people get paid for this gibberish? I'm dumber for having heard that exchange. Carillo's comment regarding Delpo's height was not only dumb but insensitive. Being 6'7" comes with its own set of issues the rest of us cannot fathom.

Delpo's backstory is highly appealing and, clearly, he had won over the NY fans prior to his semi match with Rafa. You would think that somebody at CBS could have done some homework on Delpo prior to the finals. (Heck, just surf some of this site's message boards).

CBS, your coverage of the trophy ceremony sucked. You deserve a Heidi award for the way you treated Delpo.

If you want to know why the U.S. cannot produce any consistent winners on the men's side of the draw, look no further than the lousy play-by-play/"color commentary" we get in the booth for tennis' showcase events. Not even Johnny Mac can salvage the broadcast from these other two stiffs. Watch any other sports' showcase events, and the team in the booth adds to the experience. This gang detracts from it.

Pam Shriver, how mny times can you put your foot in your mouth during a tournament giving on-court interviews?

On he other hand, Gilbert, P. Mac and Cahill were great and MJF is easy to listen to and easier to look at. Jimmy and Martina were all right, too.

Kudos for Mac and Jimmy for busting out the gear and hitting some balls.

Andre Agassi had some nice insights during the first Roddick night match. Get Carillo out of there and get Andre in, no matter what you have to pay him!

Kudos to Melanie, Wozniacki and Clisters, and all the mens' semifinalists. You all played great and each of you made an appealing run in this tourney.

Delpo - you are EL HOMBRE!

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 02:32 PM

O yes, DP is for real. He has a hunger & a killer instinct. Any player who cries after losing a match (v. Murray at last year's open) he was never going to win--has a HUNGER. He is a great talent & he loves to win. But, admittedly, Federer did give away that match with his shenanigans & horrendous serving. He should have won in straights. Credit to Delpo for sticking around & stealing it!

I don't think Andy R will fade--but I have a hard time seeing him win a biggie. He has a lot of spirit & he never caves but he just doesn't have the game to stay with the other top players. His serve will continue to bail him out of some tight spots though. He played well at Wimby--but I don't know if he can sustain it. I wouldn't bet on it. I also think all that hype might have done him in--people now expect great things for him.

Nadal? That's tough--he's tough; but I don't always buy all this injury talk. Yes, he was injured--but his injuries always seem to take center stage when the heat is on. I think it won't work as well any more cos the others are hip to it.

I'm not saying he's faking but I question the extent & the timing. I also get sick of players not getting credit when the beat him cos he was not "100%". Delpo beat him fair & square--I saw no sign of hinderance in that match.

More than the injuries--I think Nadal's biggest problem is that he has been demystified. He has lost some of his mojo. I think that loss at the French did him in & I firmly believe that that is why he did not play wimbledon--his confidence was badly shaken & he felt the added pressure of defending his tremendous victory. I think he could have played if he really wanted to.

This is all speculation, of course, but that's my opinion. I firmly believe that players like Delpo have his number. The way to beat him is to hit him & hit him hard. He doesn't do well against power-- & it showed.

Posted by Easton 09/17/2009 at 02:36 PM

JW, the reason for the lack of US success on the men's side seem irrational, IMO.

Love your point re Andre...he's GOOD.

If only DelPo could motivate the football team...Then again, I support Brazil, so...

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 02:41 PM

"If you want to know why the U.S. cannot produce any consistent winners on the men's side of the draw, look no further than the lousy play-by-play/"color commentary" we get in the booth for tennis' showcase events. Not even Johnny Mac can salvage the broadcast from these other two stiffs. Watch any other sports' showcase events, and the team in the booth adds to the experience. This gang detracts from it."

LOL--JW! True, so very true! LMAO!! And some keep complimenting Mary Carillo--to me, tennis is the worse for her. She is snotty, condescending & totally lacking in analytical skills. She does not know the game & her conclusions are almost always wrong. JMac talks too much, but at least he knows his stuff--for the most part.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 02:42 PM

"Andre Agassi had some nice insights during the first Roddick night match. Get Carillo out of there and get Andre in, no matter what you have to pay him!"


Posted by Easton 09/17/2009 at 02:47 PM

Babe, I'm going to give Nadal the benefit of the doubt for now. I still think he's fearless, and has the game to win his fair share against the top 5.

I worry for him - Fed seems to move so effortlessly, while Nadal careens around the court. He's gong to hurt himself big time, I am afraid.

Elite men's tennis is in good hands. Hopefully Venus, Serena, Kim and Dementieva can hold up the female side...maybe Wozniacki(sp) too??

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 02:50 PM

"Elite men's tennis is in good hands. Hopefully Venus, Serena, Kim and Dementieva can hold up the female side...maybe Wozniacki(sp) too??"

To me, Wozniacki is overrated. She needs a weapon--a serve, a forehand. She will not beat great players with her game. She is a slightly better version of Oudin.

re Nadal: fair enough.

Posted by C.F. 09/17/2009 at 02:51 PM

LOL on the football part, Easton. It's funny, as any normal Brazilian, I'll usually root against the Argentines in football (soccer if the Americans prefer it). But in tennis that just doesn't happen, I was torn between my old love for Federer and my South American pride.

Well, but honestly, as much I enjoy seeing Maradona's grumpy face everytime Argentina loses on football/soccer, a World Cup without them would be just wrong!

Posted by Jay 09/17/2009 at 03:04 PM

Thanks for your 2 cents, C.F. You said exactly what I've been thinking. Serena's behavior was terrible, period. And, I don't believe that she actually threatened the lineswoman, but she said "I wish I could...." She held her racquet out towards the lineswoman, which seemed threatening, but, she was about to serve, afterall. I don't think that she had the presence of mind to put the racquet down before letting off her steam.

Scribes and commenters who devote paragraphs, articles and essays about her, while completely ignoring the other defending champion's profane-laden tirade, come off as biased, though they probably do not mean to. No, Serena's and Roger's actions were not the same, and hers was much worse. But, Roger had the benefit of publicly commenting on Serena's tirade, before letting loose himself, two days later. It was funny that as soon as Roger let the brown word fly, CBS switched to a commercial. However, the commentators told us that Roger kept going throughout the commercial break. Indeed, he put the chair ump in his place...something that even Serena did not dare do.

Roger proved that when backed up against a wall, any great fighter is ready to explode. Perhaps unwittingly, he gave Serena an argument for no further sanctions.

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 03:05 PM

Hasn't Argentina qualified for the world cup?

Posted by Babe 09/17/2009 at 03:13 PM

"But, Roger had the benefit of publicly commenting on Serena's tirade, before letting loose himself, two days later. It was funny that as soon as Roger let the brown word fly, CBS switched to a commercial. However, the commentators told us that Roger kept going throughout the commercial break. Indeed, he put the chair ump in his place...something that even Serena did not dare do."

I agree with you; but that chair umpire is just terrible. He has had many incidents & he is always very rude & condescending to the players. He had no business telling Federer to be quiet on or off the court. But, as much of a Federer fan as I am, I don't see why he gets a free pass & some one to skewer Serena.

Posted by JW in CA 09/17/2009 at 03:58 PM

Babe, in a sense you are right about the Delpo-Murray match at the 08 USO - a 19 year-old Delpo had no business expecting to win that match. That said, Delpo was up a break in every set of that match.

The fact that he expected to win and (was so disappointed in the loss) was something that won me over as a fan. You just had to know the man was going places after that.

I hope the Argies make the World Cup because watching football (soccer) tournaments without Brazil or Argentina is like watching US football games withour beer. And those female Argie fans rival Brazil's...

Posted by Lisa Stone 09/17/2009 at 04:11 PM

Congratulations to Juan Martin, he is a great player.

Posted by C.F. 09/17/2009 at 04:12 PM

Babe, they haven't qualified yet. I wouldn't say they're deeply in trouble, but they're in danger. JW, yes, yes, as a fair Brazilian woman I must admit that the women in Argentina are very pretty. Gabi Sabatini being one of their finest examples, of course.

Ah, on Federer news: he gets a $1,500 fine - that's better.

Posted by timIL 09/17/2009 at 06:19 PM

the chair umpire and the usopen commish did the right thing by booting Williams and her big potty mouth. Yes, she directly threatened the line judge and said "kill you". Even I heard it and I'm 1200 miles away.
the line judge did the right thing by reporting it immediately. We can't have thugs threatening bodily harm to anyone, much less a defenseless line judge...

Posted by Dave Nna 09/18/2009 at 12:22 AM

Carillo should just be fired, I look forward to not hearing or seeing her on TV during the WTA finals and Australian Open.

She lacks analytical skills and her comments are always empty, condescending and biased.

I wonder why people like Garisson (wimbledon finalist) who had better playing success than Carillo can not be hired, or even Chanda Rubin?

Carillo should just go.

I must also add that Edberg treated Delpo very badly during the championship interview. The boy literally begged to say thank you to his family and friends, yet federer got all the time to tell a story.

Shame on CARILLO, EDBERG and CBS for poor coverage

Posted by Jay 09/18/2009 at 12:08 PM

"I agree with you; but that chair umpire is just terrible. He has had many incidents & he is always very rude & condescending to the players. He had no business telling Federer to be quiet on or off the court. But, as much of a Federer fan as I am, I don't see why he gets a free pass & some one to skewer Serena."

You are absolutely right! I was as frustrated as Roger with the bad officiating during the mens final. Good thing that I was not miked!

Posted by olivier nguyen 09/18/2009 at 12:44 PM

I think the man who interviewed Del Potro at the end deserves an F for not letting Juan speak Spanish on the first request. Yes he did on the second request but come on, you can give the guy 3 mins to let him speak in his native language so he can speak to his parents and family. I say: Final Interviewer: F

Posted by olivier nguyen 09/18/2009 at 12:44 PM

I think the man who interviewed Del Potro at the end deserves an F for not letting Juan speak Spanish on the first request. Yes he did on the second request but come on, you can give the guy 3 mins to let him speak in his native language so he can speak to his parents and family. I say: Final Interviewer: F

Posted by suma 09/18/2009 at 01:25 PM

moderator pl step it.. gert at 7:45 pm was too much.. he has crossed d line

Posted by lois 09/18/2009 at 01:28 PM

John, Thank you I tried too look at everything that happened. I love Rafa and Roger and only want the women too be treated fairly,
however, if I were either one of the players I just stated I love best this is like a pin head on their enormous career's . To me these 2 are the beast and most calm of all the other players and Roger just expressed what he thought, he's right this taking all day to ask for a look-see is out of hand and someone has to make all players abide by the RULES.
VAMOS RAFA AND ROGER, Just go on as nothing happen and continue your Glorious Carree's.

Posted by Linnda 09/18/2009 at 02:20 PM

Why the words thugs, ignorant and uneducated when referring to Williams sisters. It makes me wonder what motivates these comments.

Posted by Ad-In 09/18/2009 at 03:02 PM

Excellent review, particularly the one on Serena. A professional tennis player who shows no respect for the game and the people behind it does not deserve any respect from anyone, no matter how many grand slams he or she has won.

Posted by lois 09/18/2009 at 04:25 PM

Linnda, I agree with your comments, I will admit that Serena took
things a bit to far, however, the words you mentioned that's being used and this HOOD thing is really getting out of hand. What is a HOOD? do the people that use the word so freely really know what it means, it is not a dirty word the way they make it sound. It simply means a NEIGHBORHOOD, some of us from this so called HOOD are educated(College), hard working and decent folks. Stop the name calling and BS-it makes the ones who uses it sound a little uneducated themselves. I some times don't like Serena's attitude and think that she should act a little more like Venus but everyone is different, so we all can't be the same. I still think she is a great Champion (her record shows that) but at she at times can let her competitiveness show thro too much. I did love the way she went to Kim ,apologized, shook her hand and wished her the best in her next match, unfortunately it took some of the GLORY out of her win and for that I am very sorry. GREAT JOB KIM AND ROGER. Now let's put it too bed shall we and go on to the next phase.

Posted by jd 09/19/2009 at 08:31 PM

she (serena) didn't seem remorseful enough? You have got to be kidding me. What does she have to do? I totally agree that Serena shouldn't have threatened the lineswoman's life, but there are two 'things' floating around here that bother me.

1. As wacky as it may seem to be, the fact that her threats were almost certainly a 'figure of speech.' I mean, she couldn't have truly threatened her life; at least, to have threatened her life on such a public stage would simply have been idiotic and impractical (as cold as that sounds.) So the argument for Serena as psychopath is just positively weak. Being physically threatening/intimidating is truly different from THREATENING SOMEONE'S LIFE. What Serena did certainly isn't commendable at all, but it was above all an expression of anger and frustration with the lineswoman and herself, and as such, probably wasn't that big a deal in her own eyes.

2. What does she have to do to be sincerely apologetic? or to appear that way? since when are we (or the WTA) the moral authorities for our athletes? We watch sports not just for wicked shots, but for stories/narratives, which are formed from the tensions of clashing personalities. Somehow wanting to almost be 'inside' Serena's mind and regulate her regret seems...contrary to the mindset we have when watching the sport? It just seems to be such a slippery slope to me, 'being sorry enough/seeming sorry enough,' and I honestly think it might be based in a bias against Serena - as the point at which remorse seems to be properly expressed is so subjective and vague that satisfaction is impossible. We have to take into account that Serena has been fairly respectful for basically a decade, not complaining about the 2004 incident, etc. - so we can't make the claim that she doesn't respect the sport. It's not our job to make our athletes moral paragons, we can only make sure she abides by the rules of the sport - the apology seems to me sufficient proof that she will in the future. I don't think she's sorry entirely - she may even feel she was partly right - but the call WAS debatable, wasn't it? No doubt she watched the video and rationalized her behavior to some extent.

Posted by faecoleman 09/20/2009 at 12:06 PM

As much as Serena's outburst was dispicable and one could have really felt for her had she not spoken so badly! I am also surprised that it is not mentioned of Rogers language which everybody could hear!
It is always when Roger is losing and when he expects not to, that he behaves so badly, re; miami masters, wimbledon 2007, he is supposed to be setting an example to others and this was disappointing, sure he is human and lost it but there is no need to speak to an umpire with so little respect. Grand slam champ or not. Standards need to be set and players need to know their boundaries for the sake of the sport.

Posted by DaveGF 09/26/2009 at 01:20 AM

Steve’s comparisons to the NFL emphasize the real problem tennis has created for itself regarding the rules. They are not applied fairly - or intelligently. Everyone says that Serena’s match-ending foot fault should have been called regardless of the situation. Obviously the sport is much less strict when Nadal or the champ, del Potro, walks around or bounces balls well beyond the 25 seconds allowed under the rules before serving. So let’s be fair, and let’s and go back to watching tennis played instead of rules-related dramas and the Monty Hall approach the “challenge system” had given us. The NFL limits challenges for one reason - they take time. Tennis is now the only sport that has access to accurate calls and that can be made INSTANTLY and they don’t do it! This is nonsense. Lines-people have worked very hard to help the game grow for years, but the increasingly faster shots and the available technology has made them obsolete. The umpire should be looking at all close calls instantly (or a techie in the “trailer” should) and there shouldn’t be questions about one’s looking at the player’s box, etc. Should a tennis player be penalized for an indecisive mind? What if Laver played today and we valued the gift of watching him play less than his “challenge speed”? Are you kidding me? We now need no lines people. We need an umpire to apply the rules equally to all, and we simply need a photo system to check foot faults. End of story. I love Serena Williams, and she did act like an ass, but since she was victimized by one perhaps correct call in a tennis world where that is secondary to, as Mary Carillo once called it, a “carny gimmick” system (before the networks seem to have called her off) and constant inequitable rules application, I think we need to really examine why the sport does not lead the way into the future. Please, let the “Challenge System” and inequitable umpiring go the way of shamateurism, long white pants and bloomers.

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