The US Open once again proved itself as one of the most theatrical stages in sports last night during the women's semifinals where Serena Williams saw her chances for repeating as champion ended after losing her cool and going off on a line judge. After Serena became upset at the judge's unexpected call for a foot fault, she pointed at the official and yelled, "I swear to God, I'm f*ckin' takin' this ball and shovin' it in(?) your f*ckin' throat… I swear to God." As if the outburst wasn't sensational enough, Williams then got docked for a penalty point (she had already received a warning after smashing her racket at the end of the first set) which couldn't have come at a worse time—match point. That meant that the confrontation would be the final point of the tournament for Williams, sent packing by Belgian Kim Clijsters. Here's the extended play of the whole string of events, that we imagine left Eli Manning doing a nervous gulp of his Oreo Double Stuff.
The Times calls Serena's flare-up "a shocking display of vitriol and profanity" and Mike Lupica's Sunday column really rails America's most dominant player in the sport these days, calling it "a shameful performance" and saying she "got exactly what she deserved." Williams did not win back any points for grace after the match, giving an unapologetic, nonchalant press conference saying she doesn't live her life with regrets. She also told reporters that "my idol was John McEnroe" and continues her on-court sentiment that "people have done way worse." She even defends herself that she had just been watching heated moments from Opens past in all the old matched\s being dug up by the networks and shown during the last two days of rain delays. (The media's glorification of violence strikes again!) The press conference, called by Lupica "a ridiculous, disingenuous performance" is after the jump.
Clijsters, who previously took out Seren'a sister Venus, will face Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki in today's finals. Clijsters is the first unseeded woman to reach the finals since Venus did it in 1997, this run being made all the more remarkable by it being the Belgian's first major tournament since leaving the game to have a child.
Williams did seem to react strongly both during the argument and in the press conference to thinking that she heard the line judge accusing her of saying Serena "was going to kill her." Tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of Venus and Serena's oldest sister being fatally shot in Los Angeles.