answering questions

Serena’s Slap On The Wrist: The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

A Slap for Serena – It didn’t come as a surprise when I read the ITF’s verdict on Serena Williams’ infamous US Open tirade. Nonetheless, I was sorely disappointed to read that she was merely fined $82,500 and will serve a two-year probation at the Grand Slams. If she commits another “major offense” at a Grand Slam event during her probation, the fine will double to $175,000 and she will be banned from the following US Open. For me, there are several things wrong with this ruling. First, be it $82,500 or even the $175,000, that’s pocket change to a player who made a little over $6.5 million in 2009 prize money alone. Secondly, if the second “major offense,” is what gets a player banned from a Slam, shouldn’t her US Open tirade have been that second offense? Why was she never punished for her comments at the 2009 Roland Garros Championships where she accused Spanish player Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of cheating and remarked, “I’m going to get you in the locker room; you don’t know me.” Maybe it lacked the foul language she unleashed on the lineswoman at the US Open, but it was a clear threat that got swept under the rug. I also question what message the ITF’s verdict sends to the rest of the top players. If they feel ripped by a call, they should feel free to have a go at the officials?  They get one freebie, so why not? And what after those probationary two years are up? Clean slate and players get another freebie? My personal favorite is how the Australian officials are saying they now expect Serena to be on her best behavior. It’s nothing against the Australian officials who are just answering questions from the press, but shouldn’t this be expected of all competitors anyway? Most competitors know what’s expected of them, and they don’t need the threat of breaking probation hanging over their heads to act in a respectable manner. I firmly believe Serena got off easy because her name is Serena Williams, and I hope that if she commits another “major offense” in the next two years (or at any other time for that matter), the ITF has the backbone to do something about it.

The Silent Assassin – That’s the nickname the commentators were giving to Nikolay Davydenko, and it couldn’t have been more appropriate for the slightly built Russian who quietly made his way to the first big title of his career at the ATP World Tour Finals event in London. Davydenko took out all three of the 2009 Grand Slam winners en route to the title (including his first win over Roger Federer in 13 tries), and passed Roddick in the rankings as a result of his good form.  It’s been great to see him rise above the ugly betting scandal he endured earlier and become known for something positive.

Bryans Back on Top – The most famous set of twins in tennis are back at the top once again.  The Bryans had more recently been overshadowed by the likes of Nestor and Zimonjic, but with their 7-6(3), 6-3 win over Max Mirnyi and Andy Ram to claim their third season-ending championship title, the Bryan Brothers also reclaimed the No. 1 doubles ranking.

End of an Era – It appears that Indianapolis may lose its right to host a professional tournament. A victim of the recession, Tournament Director Kevin Martin explained the event’s nonprofit group had looked at a variety of options, but is now faced with selling its sanctioning rights to the ATP event. If the event does move, or get cancelled altogether, it will mark the end of nearly 80 years of great tennis in the Hoosier capital, which has hosted names such as McEnroe, Borg, Sampras, and Roddick.

Au Revoir, Amelie! – On Thursday, French tennis star Amelie Mauresmo called time on her career. The announcement was not a complete surprise given Mauresmo’s latest struggles with injury and lack of form, but it was sad to hear all the same. A former World No. 1, the winner of both the Australian Open and Wimbledon Championships in 2006, and owner of one of the best one-handed backhands in the sport, Amelie had one of the most complete games on the WTA Tour.  She will be missed, but we wish her all the best!