First of all – not many people got a chance to see it…but the Women’s Doubles Championship was phenomenal here in Arthur Ashe Stadium yesterday. Defending Champions Vania King and Yaroslava Schvedoda had Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond beat, but amazingly the veterans were able to fight their way back and won the Championship in a 3rd set tie-break.
Because of the length of the match – it created all kinds of timing chaos to get the Women’s Singles Championship on time for CBS. The US Open Entertainment Crew was flying by the seat of its pants to make it happen, and Director Michael Fiur delivered with lightening-fast, last minute script and run-down changes. The ceremony was just a few minutes late, and the match time worked well for the network. Phew!
Then…the match…We started with a light mist, but Sam Stosur and Serena Williams played through it; the first two games packed with early Finals jitters. After the first and second changeovers – Samantha Stosur found her game and DOMINATED.
You can read more here – but basically, Serena accused the chair umpire of Eva Asderaki of “having it out” for her.
Look – I’ve been doing this for 10-years – I’ve seen Serena complain about chair umpires in the past…
- After several tough calls and subsequent loss to Jennifer Capriati back in 2004, chair umpire Mariana Alves disappeared from the tournament
- Back in 2009, in her loss to Kim Clijsters – Serena threatened a lines-judge with a tennis ball and was eventually fined $82,500 and placed on disciplinary probation
- Last night – she made it personal with Eva Asderaki. Here is a direct quote from the exchange during a sit-down after the call (Serena to the Chair): “Aren’t you the one that screwed me over last time?…You’re out of control…You’re a hater, and you’re just unattractive inside.”
Personally – I love tennis players who can use confrontation to fire themselves up and turn the tide in a match. We saw John McEnroe do it often…it attracted more attention to the sport. One thing that was great about John – rarely did he make it personal (notice I said rarely). From the great exchanges I remember…the tirades were often comical (to us) where he attacked the umpire’s credentials, skill…and…vision. He’d attack the call…and you either loved it, or hated it. You rooted for John, or against John – there was no in between.
I’m glad Serena is emotional on the court, but I fear the entitled-sounding personal attacks on chair umpires – though few and far between – may have irreparably damaged her likability as an athlete, which I’m sure is not her intent, or her sponsors’ wishes.
As my buddy Ian texted this morning: “She needs a hug.”