The disappointment and irritation of a 30 hour game delay were signs of things to come for Serena Williams in her 2009 US Open match in NY against Kim Clijsters of Belgium. Early in the Saturday night game, at the end of the first set in the match, Serena Williams displayed an act of unsportsmanlike conduct when she broke her racket in anger. This episode would prove minor in comparison with what came next, which resulted in the Serena Williams outburst video frenzy.
As Williams stepped in to serve a ball in the second set of the September 12 US Open match, she apparently stepped too deep. At least that’s what the line judge who called the foot-fault-heard-round-the-world thought. For those unfamiliar with the term and too busy or lazy to look it up, one result on Google says that a foot fault is quite simply any time a player steps foot inside the lines of the court when this move is illegal. The line judge obviously thought Williams’ foot was inappropriately on-court, and fouled her for it. A simple, technical violation. Right?
Wrong. Serena Williams’ outburst at the judge’s call was shocking to US Open fans both in the stands at Arthur Ash Stadium in NY, where the 2009 US Open is being held, and to viewers at home. Williams can be seen on video (and faintly heard, before her mic was turned off) unleasing an outburst of monumental proportions on the “offending” judge and gesturing wildly, her muscles flexed.
To any lip readers who may have seen the Serena Williams outburst video, linked here, Williams even appears to threaten to “shove a f**king ball down your throat” to the judge. Not very lady-like, Serena, but no matter. Though most of us would be fired for acting like we see her act on the video at work, Serena Williams is slated to compete, with her sister, Venus, as her partner, in the Womens Doubles portion of the 2009 US Open on Monday, September 14th. This match will take place at the same venue.
That she hasn’t been suspended doesn’t mean she hasn’t been disciplined. Williams’ outburst will cost her big time, even for a celebrity. Upon emergency review of the situation, the tennis great has been fined $10,500 by the Grand Slam tournament. $10,000 is the most a player can be fined for a single violation, and is for the incident with the line judge. $500 of that fine is for Williams’ earlier tantrum in which she broke her racket after being unhappy with a point call. These figures are according to a sports report put out by the Miami Herald earlier today, viewable here.
Kim Clijsters of Belgium went on to win Saturday’s 2009 US Open match when the foot fault on Williams demanded the point to be awarded in Clijsters’ favor. Don’t feel too bad for Ms. Williams though; she was awarded around $350,000 for achieving her level in the Semifinals of the 2009 US Open. With that in mind, let’s hope she responds with more grace under pressure in the face of future disappointments.
CNN televised broadcast
Google- “Foot Fault” definition
Miami Herald online, Sports Report