Why Serena Williams Must Discover On-Court Maturity

Michael DixonAnalyst IIISeptember 14, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11:  Serena Williams of the United States questions the call of chair umpire Eva Asderakia (not pictured) while playing against Samantha Stosur of Australia during the Women's Singles Final on Day Fourteen of the 2011 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

At some point, this has to stop. Serena Williams can't spend so much time and energy complaining to the officials when she loses a match.

To be fair, she hasn't literally thrown fits in all matches, or all losses, but it's becoming something that she is known for. These on-court outbursts are becoming too much a part of Serena's identity.

When you think about John McEnroe, do you think about his stellar play, his announcing or his outbursts? Now that his career is over, the outbursts are what get all of the attention.

Is that fair? Not necessarily, but it's an image that he created for himself.

Whether Williams was right or wrong in her disagreement of the call is irrelevant. If she genuinely felt that the referee was cheating to keep her down, this would all be understandable. But the fact is that, while the call was close, it wasn't that bad. Serena's scream came right as Samantha Stosur was getting to the ball.

At the very worst, it was a close call that didn't need to be made but was. Those are frustrating, but they do happen. It's okay to be upset at first, but Williams wouldn't let it go and hurled personal outbursts at the official throughout the rest of the match. That's where all of this criticism is coming from.

Today, Williams said this via her Twitter Page:

"My emotions did get the best of me this past weekend when I disagreed with the umpire."

In all honesty, she could have said more, but this is acceptable. But saying you're sorry two days after is one thing. The test for Serena will be how she acts the next time she's on the court, in a tough match, and gets a bad call going against her.

How will Williams react when she's in the heat of battle? Nothing she says now is relevant until we see that.

Here's the problem with these outbursts: What's implied when they are done is that the official is the only reason I am losing this match.

To be fair, Williams didn't say that. Actually, in her post-match press conference, she was quite complimentary towards Stosur. Still, on the court, the perception is that it's nothing but whining.

Williams and her sister Venus have both done a lot for women's tennis and tennis in general. From just about every perspective, their impact on the game has been immeasurable and they should be commended for it.

But if these outbursts continue, the positives will only be part of what we remember. For the sake of her own legacy, Serena needs to take steps to ensure that these outbursts never happen again.

Forget about the shots at the official for a second. If Serena can’t contain her anger better, she is doing herself and her legacy a great injustice.

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