Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Serena Williams: My Fault

Serena Williams sent shock waves through the genteel world of women's tennis in September when the 27-year-old phenom erupted in rage against a U.S. Open line judge. Angry about a fault called on match point in the women's semifinals, Williams jabbed her racket toward the judge and dropped a couple of F bombs as she offered to introduce her tennis ball to the inside of the stunned woman's throat. Williams, who had already been warned by judges after smashing her racket earlier in the match, was docked a point for her profane outburst (and later fined a record $82,500), giving the match to opponent Kim Clijsters. Williams issued an apology 36 hours later to "make it clear to all young people that I handled myself inappropriately." After winning the U.S. Open doubles title with her sister Venus, Serena reiterated her apology and offered to give the line judge "a big ol' hug." Her supporters clearly didn't want to dwell on the blunder — the crowd in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., booed loudly as ESPN commentator Patrick McEnroe repeatedly asked about the incident in a postvictory interview. Venus Williams stepped in on behalf of her younger sister: "I think what the crowd is saying is, 'Patrick, let's move on.' "