Serena Williams Fined: Why $2,000 Was an Appropriate Fine By USTA
US Open finalist Serena Williams is known for her competitive nature, which has cost her matches and money, but the United States Tennis Association (USTA) made the right call this time by not overrating the incident and handing out the appropriate fine.
The 29-year-old Williams got fined $2,000 Monday for her verbal outbursts toward the chair umpire during Sunday’s US Open final loss to Samantha Stosur.
The chair umpire awarded Stosur with a point after Williams prematurely yelled, “C’mon!” to herself before a forehand winner out of Stosur’s reach during the first game of the second set of Sunday’s US Open final.
Instead of being back at deuce, Stosur broke Williams' serve and went on to win in straight sets.
The Umpire Had Options
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Instead of giving the point to Stosur, chair umpire Eva Asderaki of Greek could have ruled differently.
According to the ITF Rules of Tennis, hindrance, which was called against Williams, could have also resulted in the replay of the point.
I think it is understandable why Williams was upset with Asderaki’s decision. Of course this is not an excuse for on-court her behavior and words, things like, "Are you the one who screwed me over last time?” or “"If you see me in the hallway, don't even look at me! I despise you!"
However, given what was at stake, a reaction like the one Williams displayed seems just natural.
Serena Was Still Under Probation
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Unforgotten is her meltdown at the 2009 US Open, as she went on a tirade directed at a lineswoman who called a foot fault on her during a crucial moment of her semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters.
Williams received a record setting $82,500 fine and a two-year probation.
Monday’s decision to fine Williams only $2,000 is a win-win for everybody involved. Yes, she lost a point, but she was not going to win anyway against a brilliantly playing Stosur.
Additionally, her two-year probation for her 2009 US Open meltdown expires now without any additional penalties that could have accumulated in a fine up to $175,000 and a possible one-year suspension.
If suspended she would have missed the next four grand slams. The quality of female tennis highly depends on Williams, who in top form is still the best player on the tour.
So it’s a win-win. Tennis profits from Williams playing, and the $2,000 fine shows the outbursts like the one on Sunday have no place in tennis.
Loss Was Enough Punishment
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Until her final loss and the tantrum, Williams was the story on the women’s side of the tournament.
Williams has played only six tournaments including the US Open in 2011 after coming back from a pulmonary embolism that could have killed her.
She won the first two tournaments right after she came back this summer and beat world No.1 Caroline Woszniacki in a stunning manner in Saturday’s semifinal match that did not end till 11:30 p.m. EST.
However, she could not crown her tremendous comeback run with her fourth US Open title.
Instead, she is in the news for this.
This seems to be punishment enough for Williams, who like a lot of great athletes, has the need to win, dominate and succeed.