Saturday, 3 October 2009

Serena faces possible suspension...

Her penalty is being considered by the ITF, the world governing body, and the world No 2 and winner of 11 grand-slam singles titles has little more than two weeks to give her version of events. The authorities will then decide if what she said and the way she said it merit further action, whether she should be docked the money she earned at Flushing Meadows this year or, most grievous of all, be suspended from one or possibly two grand-slam tournaments.

There is precedent for such a lengthy ban. At Wimbledon in 1995, when Jeff Tarango told Bruno Rebeuh, the French umpire, that he was corrupt, refused to play on and was defaulted from his third-round match against Alexander Mronz, of Germany, (Tarango’s French wife, Benedicte, poured oil on the troubled waters by slapping Rebeuh across the cheek), the American was fined and suspended for two grand-slam tournaments, including the next year’s Wimbledon.


Opinion has been varied and voluble on the affair. Jon Wertheim, of Sports Illustrated, the American magazine, wrote: “Serena got a very shaky call, but that hardly justified her reaction. She messed up. She apologised, albeit belatedly. She got fined. She took some of her aggression out on Liezel Huber and Cara Black in the doubles final. Not a proud moment for her or for tennis, but let’s move on. If the ITF suspends her or fines her further, it will be a miscarriage of justice.

One is loath to disagree with such an eminent writer, but Williams’s actions cannot be summarily swept under the carpet. Whether the lineswoman’s call was correct or not, she was there to arbitrate and did so honestly.
Such language would not be tolerated in any sport and tennis has a responsibility to protect every official from grass roots up from such a verbal onslaught.

(The Times)

I'm not usually "loath to disagree" with
any such eminent writer, and this analysis has so many 45 caliber holes in it, I'm afraid I'd rather loathe myself if I was

I don't ever recall Serena refusing to play on that fateful day, nor can I remember any member of her entourage threatening to bitch-slap the umpire, much less carrying it out.

Her reprehensible behaviour is of course a matter of record, that received the swift attention it deserved.

Tennis does have a responsibility to protect it's official's from a verbal onslaught, but it also has a responsibility in ensuring punitive measures are proportionate and applied equally across the board.

You don't need me to reproduce a litany of former players whose belligerence didn't earn them a suspension.

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