A Grand Slam in tennis represents what The Tour de France is for cycling.
You get the idea, it’s huge, a gigantic event: great athletes, millions of fans, sponsors and a lot of $.
There are 4 in withing a year: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and of course, New York’s US Open.
As a teaching pro, I can’t remember exactly how many times I went to Flushing Meadows. Was it 6 or 7? Anyway, what I remember about it is the crazy atmosphere out there! I mean crazy in a good way: fun, loud, busy, crowded, and thrilling!
Sooo many players to see: men, women, juniors, doubles, mixed doubles. You get them all when you host a Grand Slam. Also, there are about 20 practice courts where you can watch the best players in the world, warming-up with their coaches, talking and sometimes, taking pictures.
It can be overwhelming…
Day sessions are awesome. But night matches are electrifying! History was often made with lights on. Over the years, we saw the finest tennis players of all times, spectacular matches, extensive battles, remarkable comebacks, surprising endings.
Epic duels: McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, Agassi, Sampras, Federer.
On the women’s side: Evert, Navatilova, Capriati, Seles, Graf, Henin, Sharapova…
And the Williams sisters. Together, those 2 have won 7 titles, including doubles.
But, what we never saw before, was what happened on September 12 2009, on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Here’s a quick recap:
Women’s semi-final match. Serena Williams vs. Kim Clijsters. Williams is serving at 5-6, second set (she lost the first one). A line judge called a foot fault, making the score 15-40, match point against her. Then, it happens; Williams goes mad, yelling (who knows what!) at the line judge. She ends up with a point penalty because of 2 code violations, giving the match to Clijsters. Racquet abuse and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Here is the link to the video where you see Serena yelling at the line judge:
I somehow feel uncomfortable when I watch that 36 second video. In my mind, it’s way beyond the foot fault.
Intimidation, unnecessary aggressiveness, lack of respect for the rules, the officials, the players, the sport itself and the fans.
Fortunately, Williams’case has been reviewed: On Monday November 30th, she was fined $82, 500 by The Grand Slam committee and is now serving a “probationary period”.
Ouff! I may live in a fantasy world but I do like “my” athletes when they behave like true champions…
Can’t wait for The Australian Open, January 18 to 31!
If you want to know more about this: http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/blog/busted_racquet/post/Serena-Williams-berates-official-loses-match-fo?urn=ten,189028