“All hell broke loose” is how original bad boy of tennis John McEnroe described drama queen Serena Williams as she went kicking and screaming out of the US Open on Saturday.
Williams has made a cameo appearance in medical drama ER and lists acting as a hobby but she does not need to rely on a script to produce her own drama.
On Day 13 of the hardcourt major, wide-eyed fans at Flushing Meadows witnessed the latest episode to unfold around the 11-time Grand Slam champion.
Facing Kim Clijsters in a hotly anticipated semi-final at the Open, an angry outburst from Williams resulted in one of the most bizarre endings to a match on a Grand Slam stage.
With the Belgian on the brink of victory, defending champion Williams was called for a foot-fault on a second serve to go match point down.
Astounded by the verdict, Williams immediately saw red and threateningly marched up to the official. She waved her racket ominously and thrust the ball into the lineswoman’s face as she launched into a tirade. “I swear to God I’m... going to take this... ball and shove it down your... throat, you hear that? I swear to God,” Williams told the line-judge.
The lineswoman reported her to umpire Louise Engzell for verbal abuse. Having already received a warning earlier in the match for smashing a racket, Williams was handed an automatic point penalty for “unsportsmanlike conduct,” giving
Clijsters the match and a final date with Danish ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki.
Saturday’s incident was just the latest to surround the fiery American. “I’m drama, and I don’t want to be drama,” Williams said in May at the French Open where she labelled Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez “a cheat” following a controversial point in their third round match. “I’m beginning to think it’s me because I do have a lot of drama... It’s like I have the most dramatic life. It’s so ridiculous.”
In 2003, a sobbing Williams accused another Justine Henin of “lying and fabricating” following another controversial semi-final loss at Roland Garros.
“Even in Australia this year I had a bad call, and I was just like, why? I’m like one of those girls on a reality show that has all the drama, and everyone in the house hates them because no matter what they do, drama follows them. I don’t want to be that girl.”
Unfortunately, on Saturday, she was again “that girl”.