September 12, 2011
While nobody is willing to tell Serena Williams to her face that her menacing on-court behavior is am embarrassment to herself and the game of tennis, at least CBS analyst Mary Carillo has the temerity to do it in a national radio interview.
In an interview Monday with Tim Brando of Yahoo! Sports Radio, Carillo blasted Serena's behavior, common sense and disingenuous non-apology stemming from her on-court berating of chair umpire Eva Asderaki during Sunday's U.S. Open final.
Listen to the whole interview here. The choicest excerpt, in which she likens Serena to "an ass-clown" is below:
"Serena doesn't seem to understand how courtside microphones work. [...] She was surprised to know that all of that stuff she was saying to that woman was getting picked up. I don't understand how she thinks that that stuff isn't going out over the air.
I don't like bullies. I think they're the scourge of the universe. [...] What happens in the sport of tennis is that there are no substitutions. The player has so much power on that court. If you throw her off the court, the match is over. It's not like in any other team sport where someone is acting like an ass-clown and you can toss them out and the game continues. Believe me, tennis players have always understood how much power they have and they've pretty much always understand how much abuse they could dole out before they get in trouble."
Carillo is right on all accounts, most notably the fact that players are allowed to get away with this because there are never any repercussions. Serena was fined $82,500 for threatening to shove tennis balls down the throat of an official and allegedly saying "I'll kill you!" in 2009. That was less than 25 percent of what she made at that tournament. How is that a deterrent?
If the USTA and WTA continues to act as if they need Serena more than she needs them, this behavior will continue. Fine her $250,000, ban her from the Australian Open and demand a public apology before she's allowed to play another major. If she balks, so be it.
None of this will happen, of course, because the idea of a primetime Saturday night U.S. Open final next year between Vera Zvonareva and Francesca Schiavone would be a disaster. So Serena will continue to get away with her antics, just like usual.