Serena is one of the most successful women tennis players of all time. She is a testament to herself, hard work, motivation and self belief. What she has achieved is remarkable and she deserves respect for that.
Her outburst and subsequent behaviour at the US Open final last weekend however showed a darker side to her success and her personality.
The point deducted for coaching (as confirmed by her coach) was warranted. The point deducted for smashing her racquet on the ground was warranted. The game penalty for verbal abuse was warranted and the $17000 fine was indeed also warranted. The umpire Carlos Ramos was correct in following the rules of the game. Unlike Serena’s call for an apology for the manner in which she was treated, it is actually Serena who should rightly apologise to him for her abusive, derogatory and threatening behaviour towards him.
My opinion on this outburst at the US open final is that nothing was stolen from her and nobody lied to her in the manner in which she was suggesting. The only thing taken from Serena was her self respect which she solely took from herself. Her claim that her abusive outburst was in any form her way of fighting for “women’s rights”, “women’s equality” and “all kinds of stuff”!! is hard to believe. Serena was fighting for herself, to win and when that started to slip, a bullish arrogance came out that was shocking and despicable to observe. She was losing on Saturday to an excellent young player in Naomi Osaka who was holding her nerve against Serena steadfastly and Serena didn’t have the answers for her. Serena was effectively trying to bully her way to getting what she wanted with an air of entitlement and power that may work in other aspects of her life but thanks to a certain Mr. Ramos, she was brought down to earth if only temporarily and told you cannot push your way around this court with entitled impunity.
Serena may not be used to losing much and that’s fine but if she is to be defeated she should do it with a bit more honest respect for herself, the game, her opponent, the spectators and fans. She even had the audacity to mention her daughter like the umpire was punishing her too. It was Serena ironically who was setting a bad example for her with her conduct. You can be a strong, successful woman and role model without being an entitled bully.
It clearly shows the power of the Serena brand and the cowardice of many groups and celebrities in withholding the true opinions they may feel are not politically correct for fear of any adverse public opinion against them. When you see organisations like the USTA stating that Serena performed with “class” and “sportsmanship” when clearly she portrayed none of these characteristics. There have also been accusations of racism which is also ludicrous. These were simple game rule violations. The colour of the players skin does not dictate the severity of the penalty handed out. This was a hot tempered mega sports star having an abusive meltdown, acting like a spoilt child.
Naomi Osaka is a great competitor and deserving winner. In my opinion Serena was the “thief” who robbed her of the rightful celebrations in winning the US Open. It showed a disappointing lack of respect for her opponent who made history for herself that day with very little attention paid to it. There are other players in the world that deserve a percentage of the media coverage for the work and skill they also put in. Naomi’s win has now been forever tainted and overshadowed by Serena’s unsportsmanlike behaviour which she tried to unashamedly cover up under the false veil of sexism and inequality.
I used to think Serena Williams would have been a good role model for my daughter, but not today – shame.