Monday, November 30, 2009

Serena Gets Fine, Probation


by MadProfessah

11-time grand slam champion and current would No. 1 Serena Williams has been fined $175,000 for her profane outburst that led to her point-penalty loss in the 2009 U.S. Open semifinals to Kim Clijsters and could be banned from that tournament if she commits any equivalent violations in the next two years.

The committee said a further major offence at a grand slam in the next two years would see her suspended from the U.S. Open in 2010, 2011 or 2012. The fine will be reduced to $82,500 if she commits no further major offence through 2011.

"On 9 November 2009, the Grand Slam Committee administrator determined Serena Williams had committed the grand slam major offence of aggravated behavior for her misconduct at the 2009 U.S. Open," the committee said in a statement.

I'm glad that the Grand Slam Committee did not go with the rumored one million dollar fine, although I would have been fine if they had required her to put up a one million dollar bond that could be forfeited if she committed a similar major offence through 2011.

I also still think that there needs to be video review on foot fault calls. There should be no call that is not reviewable by an impartial technological device. Currently there are numerous situations where calls are made which are not reviewable by anyone: let calls (ball touches the net during the serve), foot faults (player's foot touches the line during the service motion), player contact with the ball (only the racquet is allowed to touch the tennis ball) and "not up" (ball bounces twice on their side before player hits the ball).

Electronic line calling is a fabulous advance (and should NOT be limited to 3 per set; they should be unlimited unless the umpire thinks the player is abusing the system) but it is not enough. Instant video review should be made available immediately.



30 November 2009

On 9 November 2009, the Grand Slam Committee Administrator determined that Ms. Serena Williams had committed the Grand Slam Major Offence of Aggravated Behaviour for her misconduct at the 2009 US Open.

The Decision and Penalties were as follows:

1. Ms. Williams is guilty of the Major Offense of Aggravated Behaviour (Article V.A);

2. Ms. Williams is hereby fined $175,000 (including the $10,000 penalty alreadypaid) which will be reduced to $82,500 if no further Grand Slam Major Offence conviction occurs through and including 2011;

3. Ms. Williams is hereby suspended from participation in either the 2010, 2011 or 2012 US Open, as the case may be, except that any such suspension will not be imposed if no further Grand Slam Major Offence conviction occurs through and including 2011;

4. If a further Grand Slam Major Offence is committed during the period, the full penalties will be re-instated in addition to any other penalties imposed for the subsequent Grand Slam Major Offence;

5. As always, all financial penalties arising from misconduct at Grand Slam tournaments are donated by the Grand Slam tournaments to the Grand Slam Development Fund.

On 28 November 2009, the Grand Slam Committee affirmed the Decision and Penalties of the Administrator and Ms. Williams was so advised.

The Grand Slam Committee is the independent governing body responsible for, among other duties and functions, the establishment and enforcement of the Grand Slam Rules, Regulations and Code of Conduct.


Pamela said...

She wasn't fined $175 K. She was fined $82,500. IF she did something they have decided is a major offense in the next two years at the slams then she'll be required to pay the remainder of that to equal $175. They are still unable to determine what exactly is a major offense, other than ... they'll decide.

"Babcock said a "major offense" under Grand Slam rules is "any conduct that is determined to be the 'major offense' of 'aggravated behavior' or 'conduct detrimental to the game.' " There is no specific definition of what sort of actions constitute a "major offense."

Mad Professah said...

I think she has to pay out $160+ now, and if there is no major offense than she gets about half the money back.

I guess it depends on whether you believe Reuters or AP in which the order goes.

I do think AP seems to have better sourcing here.

Craig Hickman said...

This is beyond ridiculous.

I hope she's inspired to win all the Slams next year.

Pamela said...

There were so many conflicting reports. I didn't mind the fine, it was deserved. Her behavior was inappropriate, but I disagree with the ban simply because there's no reason for it. It's not as if she has a history of poor on-court behavior towards officials. It feels like overkill or an appeasement to some imaginary finger wagger. The major offense vagueness is bothering me as well. I'm sure she'll abide by it, like Craig ... I hope she's inspired to go out and winning everything she can without breaking her body down.

At the very least, I hope she wins the US Open next year.

Dapxin said...

they call it Justice,
Its unfair,
Its proponents cry,
It orders the world,
The world know,
Its orders for men;

Lesser men,
or so ordered,
by just the way its;

Serena Williams,
the drama champion,
of her sport,
in grit,
in sublime beauty,
and ferocious at a fight;

Unbeatable, at her prime best,
motivated, by unseen forces;
daring, where when and that,
in the face of a skin cut -
the sniff of Injustice,
perceived injustice you say.

who was that looked,
all these things,
and wondered what it was - truth?
But Power is powerful,
but it can be defeated.

It is all in the mind'
Serena's mind.
Its gotta be her Justice.
The one that validates,
and condemns us all.
powerful dying breeds...
who find spiritual comfort,
in really ephemeral,
but complex places:
of which Sports!, aha!
Tennis, builds.

The hocus pocus,
this one,
just got started...
in minds - powerless,
and powerful alike.


Helen W said...

It just sucks. Sorry but this is such a double standard.

As Pamela says, I can live with the fine. Fine. But this other crap is nasty, mean-spirited, humiliating, ugly.

I can only guess that they (TPTB) are super-sensitive for all their laxness in the past, so have decided to make an example of Serena.

Am I alone in believing that there is an ugly racial undertone in all this? Even if there isn't, it gives the appearance of one -- and what good can come of that?

Karen said...

I hope you guys visit other message boards and if you do look for posts from someone named Jamaica Karen (that is me). While I have no difficulty with the fine, what irks me is this probationary period. For my money, that means any time Serena messes up whether it is minor or not she is subject to suspension etc. It reminds me of the laws of the US. You get a DUI or a traffic offence which could be serious, and you get probation for a period of time during which time you have to report to a probation officer. If you violate that one infraction during the time of your probation, then do not pass go, you go straight to prison. I know this may not have any bearing on the discussions, but for me the probationary period is a form of subjection to keep her in line. Pete Bodo had a take on it that I agree with, he feels that the ITF has now given the lineswoman the opportunity to perhaps sue Serena on the basis of emotional trauma. I did not see it mentioned here but I understand that the same lineswoman was offered the opportunity to officiate in Doha but declined the offer. Now why would you do something like that? Are TPTB of the view that there are some officials at tennis tournies who are of the view that only people of a certain ilk should play tennis. I am interested to see whether the Grand Slam Committee is willing to initiate some form of line calling device as it relates to foot faults, lets, double bounches etc. The sport of tennis is now a big money making event. Endorsement contracts worth millions of dollars are at stake for many of these players and one wonders whether there is not a little bit of animosity towards certain players during matches by lines people. I am not sure if you guys saw the exchange between DelPo and the lines person as well as listened to the comments of the commies during the DelPo match, but I think but for the Serena incident I think DelPo may have gone off on the fellow about that footfault when he was serving at 2-1 first set. In addition, one can recall Safin remonstrating with many linespeople about the timing of their foot fault calls against him. I think that going forward you are going to find a lot of foot faults being called against Serena and Venus until TPTB decide to either change the rules governing foot faults etc. Perhaps just like Hawkeye, we may see a sea change in tennis with this decision by the ITF.

Craig Hickman said...

Bottom line:

Serena has never had an outburst anywhere in the vicinity of the one she had at the US Open this year.

I found it reprehensible.

But did she cause anyone bodily harm or do anything that could have even had a chance of causing it?

She has never had an outburst anywhere in the vicinity of the one she had at the US Open this year, despite a history of on-court injustices that would cause a lesser person to have lost their minds years ago.

Fine her for her reprehensible outburst and be fucking done with it.

The probation is all about control and it's nasty.

Dapxin said...



was in the bit I refer to as in the 'mind';
I hope I dont annoy folks
here with my frustrated' little

One more thing, I know Tennis lends itself to a lot of breaks and all, but I wonder if you are not risking turning the whole game
into one tehno-disney land,
if every decision is techno-accessed?

Look at it this way,
This Serena Issue is gonna stay
around for good/bad for years.

Isnt that part of what makes sports,
what it is?

Helen W said...

Dapxin I can only speak for myself, but I love your poems. How many tennis blogs have poets contributing to them? Like how cool is that ???

Craig Hickman said...

I love how you express your thoughts, Dapxin.

Karen said...

Craig, you said it best - control. We all know that Serena marches to her own drummer and I hope that she sets her lawyers on them big time on this issue. Some people are still clamouring that she should have been suspended - for what. Like Craig, the behaviour was shocking, but I think it was shocking and reprehensible because we have never known her to behave like this and it is for this reason that this hammer mentality really pi**es me off, but there you go. Voices crying in the wilderness and all that other stuff

Karen said...

Craig, when you get a chance, please check your mail. Heading off folks. Talk to you all tomorrow.

oddman said...

CraigHickman said:

'Fine her for her reprehensible outburst and be fucking done with it.'


There is no need to have anything further hanging over her head. She knows what she did. She has no previous history of this kind of behavior. It was uncalled for, and shocking, but she did apologize. Give this adult woman the leave to manage her own conduct from here on in.

If it happens again, then consider this 'major offense' stuff.

lilac said...

This is so fucked up. You better believe that every time Serena plays a match, t.v. Commentators will mention over and over that she's on probation. Perpetuating the racist stereotype of the black athelete as thug. V and Serena have been genis abouit not giving the tewnnis establishment and media any fodder to demean them. I'm a little mad at my girl for the slip upo. But you all know what this means don't you? She's kicking ass in 2010. You see what she did the following day in doubles. She was a beast. And she cleverly mentioned in her statement that she is getting ready for the season. Oh please god, have her get a big match wqith one of the golden girls. Go Serena! Go Venus! Get your popcorn folks. Serena is surrounded (Common case in point) by fundamentally politically and racially conscious people. Imagine the dinner convo right now. And I've mentioned to Craig that she and I shared a hairstylist (during her good hair year! 2007). So I know who's around her. Bring it the fuck on ITF! You've unleashed the beast you morons!!!

Whole Sight said...

lilac said: "Perpetuating the racist stereotype of the black athelete as thug."

Fortunately, I don't get the impression anyone is actually taking this slant in the press, at least not from any story or column that I've seen. I think in the U.S. it happens more with black men in team sports, e.g. basketball and football, where the leagues & media alike too often treat players like either children or thugs or both, for on-court offenses both real & imagined.

Karen said...

Whole Sight, no one in the press is going to come out and say it. The minute I saw the word probation, my hackles rose up. I have seen the American justice system at work. This probation thing is a way of exerting control over people's lives. The US and its affliate countries talk about freedom and democracy and forgiveness, but their actions always speak louder than their words. I have seen Serena's press statement in relation to the decision of the ITF, and it was brief, polite and accepting. This girl is going to grease her hair up and her body notwithstanding will come out full force in the new season. I hope to God she does not kill herself trying to satisfy the boothsayers by trying to win regular Tour events. Forget that. The Grand Slams are what it should be about and I hope she goes out there and plays attacking tennis and wins them all. I will be cheering for her every single chance I get come 2010. Bastards