Tennis finds fault with Serena’s tirade
NEW YORK - Serena Williams’s profanity-laced, finger-pointing tirade at a US Open linesperson drew a $10,000 fine yesterday, 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.
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,’’ she could be fined all of her prize money from the tournament.
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 winning, 6-4, 7-5.
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,’’ Curley said.
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 today.
Serena Williams released 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.’’