Even non-tennis aficionados are apt to remember Serena Williams's over-the-top reaction to a line judge's poor foot-fault call during last September's U.S. Open. On hearing a wrong call during her semi-final match with Kim Clijsters, a frustrated Williams blew up at the line judge with violent profanity, for which she was penalized a point, causing her to lose the match and be forced out of the tournament.
Needless to say, Williams wasn't happy. Neither was the Grand Slam Comission who, on Monday, issued Williams an $82,500 fine, the most ever given in professional tennis, along with a two-year probation period during which any further "major outbursts" could land Williams a permanent spot on the sidelines of the U.S. Open. News of her punishment has sports bloggers wondering whether the fine fits the crime.
- Too Small, says ESPN's Bonnie D. Ford. In recapping the financial benefit that Williams's mere presence at a tournament brings to the Grand Slam circuit, Ford questions the standards that tennis's officials are setting for the sport. She says, "If this is the way tennis wants to govern itself, and the people who run the sport are satisfied with the standards they set, that's their business -- literally. But they must know that a modern precedent has been set with regard to on-court confrontations between players and officials at the four crown jewels of the sport. The Grand Slam Committee and the ITF will be henceforth handcuffed to that precedent....If tennis tries to sanction a less prominent player more harshly, the organization will be opening itself up to charges of hypocrisy and reversal on appeal."
- Just Right, says Yael T. Abouhalkah from the Kansas City Star. He says, "The ruling released Monday is a good lesson for fans to see, especially given the fact that so many great players in all different sports get away with bad behavior."
- What Took So Long?, asks Chris Chase at Yahoo Sports. While citing the appropriateness of the fine, he questions the Grand Slam Committee's delay in issuing Serena punishment. He says, "Stringing Serena along for three months was unfair and unnecessarily kept the story in the spotlight for longer than necessary. There was no reason this couldn't have been figured out in late-September. (Plus releasing the news of a Monday morning after a holiday weekend only intensified the interest. Learn from politicians and dump the news on a Saturday morning)."