On what should have been a celebratory day for tennis in the United States, Serena Williams embarrassed herself and her sport on the court during the final at the US Open against Sam Stosur.
It wasn't that she dropped the match 6-2, 6-3. Stosur just outplayed her.
It was that she verbally assaulted the chair umpire all throughout the remainder of the match for a tough call that was made early in the second set.
After dropping the first set of the match 6-2, Serena found herself about to drop serve early in the second set.
At 30-40 in favor of Stosur, Serena cracked a shot that Stosur couldn't reach. Just as the ball was passing Stosur, Serena shrieked, "Come On!"
The chair umpire, Eva Asderaki, ruled that Serena's exclamation had obstructed Stosur. She took the point away from Williams and awarded it to Stosur, thus giving Stosur the first game of the second set and a break of serve.
Immediately after the call was made, Serena began to berate Asderaki. At one point, she accused Asderaki of being out to get her by saying that she had made a similar call against her previously.
Serena was clearly upset with herself in addition to being upset about the call, so I don't know that she would have gotten very much heat had she left it at that.
Of course, she did not.
During the next changeover, she used the time sitting in her chair to continue to heap verbal abuse on Asderaki. It was at that point that she said that Asderaki was unattractive on the inside, as if Asderaki had some agenda against her.
Making matters worse, Williams resorted to using childish lingo in her "conversation" with Asderaki when she referred to her as a "hater."
Steve Brenner of the UK's Sun newspaper tweeted what many tennis fans were thinking:
Serena Williams taking a leaf out of the Roy Keane manual on how to treat officials. Nasty and classless.
If Williams had a case that Asderaki made the wrong call, maybe she would get more sympathy, During the match, ESPN sought out US Open tournament referee Bryan Earley. When asked, Earley said that Asderaki's call was spot on.
To put the rotten cherry on this nasty sundae of poor sportsmanship, Williams didn't shake Asderaki's hand after the match. Even Andy Roddick, who spends as much time chattering at chair umpires as anyone, has the decency to always shake the umpire's hand, no matter how badly he thinks he got the shaft.
Williams' run through the tournament had given American tennis fans a really good story for the last two weeks, but she has thrown all of that out the window.
We will now remember the 2011 US Open as the tournament where Serena Williams threw a temper tantrum because she didn't get her way.