This time around I will tell you right away what this post is about. It is about the United States Open women’s final that occurred on Saturday. Tennis has never been my go-to sport, but I was always aware of the “stars” and their achievements. I like when a competitor is fierce, but there is fierce, and then there are the Williams sisters. There is no denying that they achieved some great things in their sport careers, but I never enjoyed watching games with them in it, because they would revolve too much around them, and not the sport.
And last Saturday showed yet again how mouthy Serena Williams can be. What happened was that she committed three transgressions, which some believe to have costed her the match. First of all, she was accused of being coached, which (for those who do not know the rules) is a big no-no during the match. Afterwards, her coach admitted to having coach her, but suggested that she did not look at him/ see him when he was doing it. Why would he be gesturing if she was not watching? He also admitted that he was aware that it was against the rules, but others did it, too. What kind of excuse is that? The second transgression was when Serena threw her racket against the ground and mangled it. What kind of sportsmanship is that? You can argue the heat of the moment, but if you are someone as experienced as her, you should have more composure and self-control. The final straw was when she called the umpire a “thief”, which was considered verbal abuse. Ultimately, she lost the match, and Naomi Osaka won her first Grand Slam.
Now that you are up to speed on what happened, let us zero in on Serena’s behavior. It started off simple. He accused her of being coached. She did not like that accusation, and so she felt the need to tell him that she never cheated, and that she would rather lose fair and square than win with the help of cheating. OK, fair enough. She could have left it there. But she did not. She DEMANDED an apology, because she did not think it was fair of the umpire to suggest that she was “cheating”. “I have never cheated in my life!” Throughout the game, she kept coming up to him, with his finger pointed at his face, angrily asking for an apology, because she is a mother, and she wants her child to know that she plays fairly. Right there, you should know that this match became just a piece of drama, at a platform for personal agendas.
Whether it just was not her best performance day in general, or whether she became too affected by the first warning, we will never find out. But when her opponent kept scoring, she threw her racket against the court and was cited “racket abuse”. What kind of message does THAT send to your daughter? To avert everyone’s eyes from her anger issues, she went back to the umpire to demand the never given apology, and kept yelling at him. She said that he would never be allowed on her court “ever, EVER” again. Is this not discriminatory? Just because you have some issues does not mean that you can ruin someone’s career. How very motherly of you. Her coach said that: “I mean it’s not a big deal breaking racquets.” Huh? What kind of message does that send to the world? That vandalism is OK?
Because I do not know the exact rules of tennis, I will not argue (please weigh in here, if you do know), but I THINK that the third penalty was because she threatened him (that he would never be allowed to umpire at her game), but he really could not use it against her. Instead, he decided to punish her for calling him a “thief”. I actually did not think it was such a big deal in the whole situation, but maybe it was the only argument he could use to nail her? He “stole” a point from her, because she was being coached illegally, and because she threw a racket (2nd warning comes with a loss of a point).
Was she coached? Yes, the coach admitted to it. Did she abuse the racket? Yes, we all saw it. Did she verbally assault the umpire? Most definitely! So what is the argument about? Apparently it is about sexism, because MEN have done much worse, said terrible things to the umpires and did not get penalized. Because she was, it must be discrimination. What I personally found amusing, was that she admitted that such things happened to her SO many times in her tennis life. Well, maybe you should have learned by now how to act and how NOT to act? Apparently, if you are entitled, then no.
Serena got upset that her character was attacked (cheating), and her excuse was that she is a mom, and so needs to stand up for herself. When that did not work, she decided to take the sexism route, and cry about other players not being punished as harshly as she did. What I was surprised about, and I have to give her credit for that, is that she did not pull the race card. Maybe it was only because her opponent was not white.
Umpires, referees, etc. are often subjects of heated debates when they make questionable calls. There are times when they are wrong, and times when they are right. The umpire in question is known for being strict, but fair. He had been hard on men players as well, which does not substantiate the argument that his moves were sexist.
It broke my heart when I watched the trophy ceremony, during which the viewers booed a lot (to show support for Serena), and the winner apologized for disappointing the spectators (i.e. apologized for winning). That moment was Naomi’s dream come true, and the spotlight was totally stolen from her. She was made feel as if she did not deserve the win, the title and the trophy. What a terrible way to finish such a great season of tennis for this young player. A first Japanese female to have won this title. What does the booing show about us, Americans?
Are you a fan of tennis?
Do you watch male and female games, or just your gender?
Do you think Serena was right to do and say those things in the spirit of standing up for herself?
What would you do if you were in her shoes?
Have you EVER cheated in your life?
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