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NEW YORK -- Serena Williams' profanity-laced, finger-pointing tirade at a U.S. Open linesperson drew a $10,000 fine Sunday, and more punishment could follow from a broader investigation into what the head of the tournament called her "threatening manner."
The fine -- not quite 3 percent of the $350,000 in prize money Williams earned by reaching the semifinals -- is the maximum on-site penalty that can be issued for unsportsmanlike conduct at a Grand Slam tournament.
"The average individual would look at that and say, 'A $10,000 fine for what she did? What are you guys, crazy?' The answer is: the process isn't over," tournament director Jim Curley said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Bill Babcock, the top administrator for Grand Slam tournaments, will review what happened Saturday night, when Williams yelled at a linesperson who called a foot fault with the defending champion two points away from losing to Kim Clijsters in the semifinals.
If Babcock determines Williams committed a "major offense," the rules allow for a fine as high as all of a player's prize money from the tournament -- and a suspension, although Curley did not mention that as a possibility.
Williams also was docked $500 for smashing her racket after the first set of the match. Because she was issued a warning then, her later actions resulted in the loss of a point.
The foot fault resulted in a double-fault, which moved Clijsters one point from victory. Williams then was penalized a point for her outburst; because it happened to come on match point, it ended the semifinal with Clijsters ahead 6-4, 7-5.
Clijsters won the championship Sunday night by beating Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 6-3.
Babcock did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But Curley said the inquiry probably would include reviewing TV footage, checking additional audio feeds from courtside microphones and interviewing Williams, the linesperson, the chair umpire and possibly spectators.
"What she did was unacceptable. It's unacceptable behavior under any circumstances. When you're on the court, and you are waving your racket toward a linesperson and using profanity, it's just simply unacceptable," Curley told the AP. "When you look at the tape, it's pretty clear that the way she approached the linesperson, with her racket and in that manner, it was a threatening manner. It certainly was."
The names of linespersons are not disclosed as a matter of practice at the tournament.
He also said the tournament considered -- and decided against -- preventing Williams and her older sister Venus from participating in the women's doubles final Monday. Venus put in some work on a U.S. Open practice court Sunday; Serena wasn't with her.
Serena Williams did make an onstage appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York on Sunday night, where there was no mention of what happened 24 hours earlier. She did release a statement through a public relations firm, acknowledging that "in the heat of battle I let my passion and emotion get the better of me and as a result handled the situation poorly."
She did not apologize for the outburst, which made the "most viewed" page of YouTube with four different versions that totaled more than half a million clicks as of Sunday night.
After what may be recalled as the most significant foot fault in tennis history, Williams paused, retrieved a ball to serve again and then stopped. She stepped toward the official, screaming, cursing and shaking the ball at her.
"I swear to God I'm [expletive] going to take this [expletive] ball and shove it down your [expletive] throat, you hear that? I swear to God," Williams reportedly said.
The official also said Williams used the word "kill." The official declined to be identified because the tape was still being reviewed.
Fans began booing and whistling, making it difficult to hear the entirety of what Williams said -- and she refused to discuss specifics afterward at a news conference. An AP reporter -- provided access to replays -- could not verify Williams used the word "kill."
When Williams turned her back, the line judge went over to the chair umpire to report what was going on. The line judge then returned to her seat, and Williams pointed and began walking toward her. The line judge then headed back to the chair umpire's stand. By now, tournament referee Brian Earley was on the court, too.
Earley could be heard asking the linesperson what Williams said.
That's when Williams walked over and said to the line judge: "Are you scared? Because I said I would hit you? I'm sorry, but there's a lot of people who've said way worse."
Earley again asked the linesperson what Williams said. Whatever the linesperson said, her reply seemed to startle Williams, who said: "I didn't say I would kill you. Are you serious? Are you serious? I didn't say that." The line judge then said, "Yes."
The episode dominated conversation at the U.S. Open on Sunday, including whether the line judge should have made the call in the first place. Foot faults are rarely called at this level, particularly in possibly the final moments of such a significant match.
"In my opinion, you can't call a foot fault there. Just out of question. Can't do it. It was so close. Not as if it was an obvious foot fault -- it was minuscule," TV commentator John McEnroe said. "I've seen Serena come back from that position a dozen times against top-flight opponents. The match was not over."
The chairman and CEO of the women's tennis tour, Stacey Allaster, issued a statement calling Williams' conduct "inappropriate and unprofessional."
"No matter what the circumstances, no player should be allowed to engage in such behavior without suffering consequences," Allaster said. "I have spoken with the USTA about this matter and I agree with the action they have taken."
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2 September 2010
Another controversial foot fault at the US Open at Flushing Meadows has prompted calls for tennis to extend the Hawk-Eye challenge system to include foot faults. One year on from the explosive incident that saw Serena Williams docked a penalty point after she was called for a foot fault in her semi-final against Kim Clijsters, Andy Roddick left Arther Ashe Stadium practically foaming at the mouth after a similar incident in the third set of his second-round loss to Janko Tipsarevic.
“I wasn’t upset with the call, I just expect my umpires to know their left foot from the right foot,” the 28-year-old said in his post-match press conference, admitting that he had overreacted. “It’s the fact I couldn’t get her to admit it wasn’t the right foot which infuriated me, the lack of common sense was unbelievable to me. We have got to be able to have a test like ‘Point to your right foot, point to your left foot, now call lines. In hindsight, did I let it go too far? Probably. It was probably a correctable mistake and I let it get to me more than I should have.”
Roddick was serving at 2-5 in the third set, trailing his Serbian opponent by a set, when a line judge called the fault on what would have been an ace. The ninth seed appeared to ask the female official if it was his right foot which caused the fault and was told it was, when in fact it was his left foot which touched the line. “Not once in my career has my right foot gone in front of my left foot, never. That is unbelievable,” the 2003 champion complained. “Why don’t you get some umpires who know what they are doing? 1-800-rent-a-ref.”
As a result, Sky Sports commentator Mark Petchey has suggested that the game would benefit from a system similar to that used for lbws in cricket. “Do you think they should be allowed to challenge? Go to a second umpire who is watching it on slow-mo?”, Andy Murray’s former coach wrote on social networking site Twitter. “Just feel like it would A) add a little excitement B) make sure it’s right especially at crucial moments which is frustrating as a player and C) stop the bleating. ” he continued.
Whether or not the suggestion is put forward to the authorities or not, it would be the latest in a series of innovations contrived to appeal to fans and make them more integrated into the game, such as giving the players’ boxes microphones.
Roddick went on to lose the match in four sets, a repeat of his loss to Tipsarevic at Wimbledon two years ago.
The fourth day of the US Open continues at Flushing Meadows, New York, from 4pm British Summer Time.
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[. ] This post was mentioned on Twitter by conrad grabish.
Lalalalalalala I did try to tell you
Agree with Neil 100%, good article but doesnt take away.
The answer to first what was indeed first Aussie at.
The conclusion we are all waiting for, wether or not.
Unfortunately I think he's guilty and this article has done.
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That “foot fault” should NOT have been called. Yes, I said it.
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard, seen or discussed Serena’s tirade during the semi-finals of the US Open. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a quick recap: Serena is down 1 set, down 5-6, serving at 15-30 when she gets called for a foot fault. What happens next, even John “You cannot be serious!” McEnroe says went too far. Serena unleashes a verbal attack at the line judge and eventually gets penalized one point, which happened to be match point. Game, set, match.
What Serena did was completely unnecessary and out of line. That, I’m not disputing. Everyone’s focused on the reaction, or rather, overreaction to the call.
What about that call?
In a perfect world, referees, umpires and judges are supposed to call a game the same way, whether it’s 0-0 or a tie game in a final. Sure, a foot fault is a foot fault and rules are rules, but I don’t feel that call should’ve been made at such a crucial point in the game. Especially since it was as close as it was. If her foot was across the line, I understand, it was blatant. But video footage can neither confirm or dispute if the call was correct, it was that close.
These types of unofficial/official rules can be found in many other sports. In basketball, there’s palming/carrying. Every NBA player does it and it rarely, rarely gets called. Imagine if that was the NBA Finals, and they called palming on Lebron James with 30 seconds left in the game. That ref would’ve never left the stadium alive.
In football, offensive pass interference is a call that you will see once in a blue moon. And when it does get called, it’s because it was so obvious that the ref had no choice. Imagine it’s 4th down, 2:00 minutes left, and Randy Moss gets called for offensive pass interference at the goal line in the Superbowl with his team down 3. You think there was anyway that referee would’ve left the stadium without a security escort?
My point is, there are certain rules in every sport that don’t get enforced, especially in high stake games or matches. A semi-final at the US Open with the defending champion down a set and serving to stay in the match seems to fall into the “high stake game” category doesn’t it?
What do you think? Should that call have been made? What if it was Federer vs. Nadal at the Wimbledon finals, 5th set, match point? Should it be called then? Share your thoughts and opinions here.
At least Serena didn’t react like this guy:
Tweeting all things tennis, especially #WTA. Member of ShinoFam. Barely knows one language, let alone 25. Contact: email@example.com
UK but virtually with the WTA
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Foot Fault Tennis
What a delightful hour has been battling broadband providers for a good deal. 🙃🙃🙃 oh well, moving from being a BT bitch to a Sky scumbag.
1 hours ago / 0 Retweets / 0 Likes
Foot Fault Tennis
OMG it does give off that vibe 😂😂😂 https://t.co/fCEGMl6hdY
3 hours ago / 0 Retweets / 0 Likes
Foot Fault Tennis
😂 totally forgot about this. Still adore the Stuttgart version though. 😉 https://t.co/EZhrj8GVTb
3 hours ago / 0 Retweets / 1 Likes
Foot Fault Tennis
Ostapenko’s coach dude would get it. #sorrynotsorry
4 hours ago / 0 Retweets / 2 Likes
Foot Fault Tennis
I wonder if GOOLS feels suddenly ill when she enters a tax haven. 😂😂😂 https://t.co/VIgyPFzn96
4 hours ago / 0 Retweets / 0 Likes
Foot Fault Tennis
Is the air-con in full blast in Singapore, as Garbine sis, why the top?
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