Liguori: Another ‘Heat Of The Moment,’ Losing Moment For Serena Williams

By Ann Liguori
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Not sure I know anybody who picked Samantha Stosur of Australia to win the US Open title, particularly against Serena Williams, three-time US Open champ and heavy favorite to win it all. But I must say, I was totally impressed with Stosur’s game, focus and her strategy! The 27-year-old Stosur stuck to her game plan and was able to silence Serena, 6-2, 6-3, in a match that was marred in controversy.

As great as Stosur played and as much as Serena credited her opponent’s fine play after the match, this final will unfortunately be remembered for another Serena tirade on the court, this time against the chair umpire!

Sound familiar? Two years ago at the US Open, Serena threatened to “shove a ball down the throat” of a line judge in her semifinal match against Kim Clijsters. With Serena serving at 5-6, 15-30 in the second set, Serena missed her first serve and her second serve was called for a foot fault, which at 15-40, put Clijsters one point from victory. Serena cursed at the line judge. The chair umpire gave her a point penalty for unsportsmanlike behavior. It happened that the point penalty was match point. Clijsters won. Serena went home runner-up. She was injured last year so did not play the US Open and this year, she came back from injury, looking as strong and hungry as ever to win her fourth US Open title.

But Stosur outplayed Serena, winner of 13 Grand Slam Titles! She took the first set 6-2 and then in the beginning of the second set, it seemed like ‘déjà vu all over again’ as far as Serena ‘losing’ her cool.  In the first game in the second set with Serena serving, Serena yelled “come on” after she made a good shot. The problem was, she yelled before the point was over and Stosur may have thought Serena was calling the ball ‘out.’ The chair umpire invoked the ‘intentional hindrance rule,” and awarded the point, which was a break point on Serena’s serve, to Stosur which gave the first game to Stosur. The ‘call’ so angered Serena, she unleased a tirade at the chair umpire which continued during the change-over. In fact, for a moment there, Serena thought the chair umpire was the same umpire as the one who called her 2009 US Open semifinal match against Clijsters. (that was not the case).

Some of Serena’s tirade toward the chair umpire was caught by the cameras. Serena said, “If I ever see you walking down the hall, you better look the other way…You are so unattractive inside. Who would do such a thing?…Giving me a code violation because I expressed my anger? We’re in America!”

Most thought Serena’s anger would pump up her own game but Stosur did an excellent job in handling the distraction and staying focused.

Drama aside, Stosur’s serve was ‘on’ while Serena struggled with her serve. Stosur was able to put pressure on Serena every time she missed a first serve. Stosur said she “hit the right spots at the right time and tried to vary it as much as I could. Serena did not get a clean hit on a lot of my balls and as soon as I had an opportunity to go for winners, I did it.”

Regarding what Stosur thought about the ruling which gave her the game on break point: “The rules of tennis are there for a reason and the umpire made the call that she felt is right. I can’t remember the whole point. Everything happens so fast with the crowd and the noise…”

After the match, Serena admitted that she was not familiar with the rule. In her post match interview, she seemed to have amnesia about the entire tirade saying that it was another “caught up in the heat of the moment” experience. That sounds familiar as it was the same excuse she used when she lost her temper during the Clijsters match. Serena did say that “when you are an athlete, we train all of our lives, since I was three, we live for these moments and everyone lives to be in the final of Wimbledon or in the US Open, hopefully I’ll be back here next year. We all as athletes give 2000 per cent. I do every time.”

That excuse didn’t work two years ago and doesn’t work this time either. And with Stosur already up a set, she continued to play lights out, not letting the interruption and the crowd reaction distract her.

Welcome to the Grand Slam Championship club, Stosur. You’re a much welcomed new member!

Impressed or surprised by Samantha Stosur’s win at the US Open? Leave a comment below.

  • J. McEnroe

    As an American tennis fan, I was totally embarrassed by Serena’s behaviour AGAIN! She has made it VERY easy for me to root against her, even thought I rarely root for an American to lose to a foreigner! Serena, PLEASE find some CLASS and clean up your act.

  • mary

    This match really is about Sammy Stosur and her rock solid performance. Excellent serving, rallying, mental toughness and focus. So happy for her. She knows exactly what it takes to beat Serena and she did it. Sammy went for winners when she had the chance and she connected. Serena was impressed. She knows she got outplayed.

  • Ashamed

    True color does not change, as you can see from her unrepentent behavior. Why do you think you are so special? Just because you won a lot of slams does not put you abovel the rule. Violation should be punished, isn’t that the American way??

    I would say, she is not only ugly in appearance, but also inside :-(

    Shame on her and I feel shame of being an American showing this kind of behavior in front of the whole world on such a speical day.

  • WDDB


  • mg

    The chair ump was required to make the call, which is totally correct. Marion Bartoli lost a point making the same error, earlier. Serena can grump about it, but her problem is that she uses threatening speech. No one else does that and she must stop it. Sammy totally outplayed Serena. Totally. I wish we could focus on how well Sammy played. Am so happy for her.

  • Jessum

    Serena shows her true self in these moments. Her nice-person facade is just so sponsors will keep her. She’s a vicious person with anger issues and paranoid insecurity. Can’t wait till both Williams sisters are gone from the sport, and we can return to some class.

    • Elizabeth

      Totally Agree Jessum! BTW, if anyone’s looking for two up & coming young Americans to root for who behave with couth and class, you should check out Madison Keys and Jack Sock. My husband & I saw them play in person when we visited the Open this year and were incredibly impressed with their play and how they handled themselves on & off the court.

  • Love tennis

    This is another stupid rule in sports. Serena wasn’t trying to make Stosur miss, she was just trying to pump herself up. The shot was a winner, anyway. Stosur couldn’t get it. Why was it OK for John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors to yell at judges, but when Serena does it, it is “abuse”? They took the point away, and Stosur won. There is no need to “punish” Serena for being passionate about her game!

    • mary

      No, this is not punishment, it is required that the chair ump follow the rules. A player cannot be yelling words during an exchange of play. That is distratcting and unfair to her opponent. Serena just jumped the gun. Did you know that Marion Bartoli was also lost a point for the same thing. Players know you can’t be shouting during play. And, Sammy totally outplayed Serena.

      • Love Tennis

        “Sammy” only “outplayed” Serena because Serena wasn’t playing well. Rules may be rules, but that is a stupid rule. People are yelling out in the stands throughout the game. Why should the players not be allowed to yell? And, to “Jessum”: Tennis was boring in the period after Martina and Chris and before the Williams sisters, and it will be boring again when the Williams sisters retire!

    • mfenimore

      Gimme a break . . . how would you like it if I yelled at the top of my lungs just before you are going to hit the ball!? What was Serena even thinking? Heck according you, she may as well yell “Miss It!” Every time Samantha was about to hit it.

      Also, what games are you watching where the crowd of people are yelling during a volley?? Yes, in between serves the fans are loud and yelling but as soon as the volley starts they shut up. The only thing you hear during a volley is maybe an Ohhh or Ahhh on close plays and great volleys. If ANYONE in the stand yells during a volley the point can be cancelled and replayed if the chair umpire agrees it interfered with the game.

      I’m surprised Serena didn’t get kicked out or forfeit the game when she said “If I ever see you walking down the hall, you better look the other way”. What does that mean?? If Serena DOES see the chair umpire what is she going to do? Attack her. Now she not making threats to umpires outside of the game.

      Every here a baseball manager say to an umpire if I ever see you in the parking lot you better look the other way?

  • jvwalker

    This was inexcusable behavior on William’s part and she appears to have anger management issues. Explicit or implied threats of violence have no place in a civilized society. Her mother enables this nonsense by stating, “I don’t know why this happens to us.” The culture of victimization hits tennis. Serena should be suspended from the majors for 1 year for a consistent pattern of abusive behavior.

    • Elizabeth

      Totally agree Jvwalker! The culture of victimization cannot be allowed to go on like this. Serena’s shown a pattern of threatening behavior and there’s no place for that on the tennis court.

  • jackie

    serena is a great champion she will bounce back-l blame all this on the scheduling-players were tired playing match after match with no breaks.why did the men get a day off

    • jvwalker

      How because they play Best of 5 instead of Best of 3. You might want to look a the 5 setter that Djokovic played against Federer. Give me a break.

    • Elizabeth

      In the words of Johnny Mac: You can’t be serious Jackie!! You blame Serena’s Ghetto outburst (telling an umpire “don’t even look at me”!) on the “scheduling of the players”? Serena has shown a trend of letting her true “unattractive” character come out when she’s under pressure. In life, most humans do show their true character and colors when they’re under pressure. (You’ve heard of ‘Grace under pressure’, right?) Serena’s game might be good, but her character sucks and she showed this in her totally inappropriate and unprofessional Ghetto tirade last night. Sam Stosur deserve soooo much credit for keeping it together when Serena decided to behave badly only to have the blind pro-American crowd become a distraction to Sam. Thank God we have new up & coming African American tennis players like Madison Keys who behave in a way we can be proud of. Ghetto and Diva behavior is out Serena……I’m predicting she doesn’t win another Major ever.

    • jon

      the reason the men got a day off is because the lower men’s bracket have played several days in a row. It would be unfair for the winner of the lower bracket to compete with the winner of the upper bracket who had rest days.

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