NEW YORK, USA, September 13 – Serena Williams on Monday escaped with a fine of just $2,000 for her US Open final rant, when she launched an angry tirade against the chair umpire in Sunday’s title match.
The American, who was under a Grand Slam probation for another outburst at the tournament in 2009, could have faced a ban if officials had deemed Sunday’s tirade in the final, that she lost to Samantha Stosur, to be a “major offence”.
Williams was handed a code violation by Greek umpire Eva Asderaki after the first game of the second set against Stosur, when she had been docked a point for “intentional hindrance” when she screamed ‘C’mon’ before Stosur had a chance to put her racquet on the ball in a rally.
The incident came on a break point, giving Stosur a break of serve.
Williams berated Asderaki after the game and continued to complain bitterly during the subsequent changeover.
“US Open Tournament Referee Brian Earley has fined Serena Williams $2,000 following the code violation issued for verbal abuse during the women’s singles final,” the US Tennis Association said in a statement on Monday.
“This fine is consistent with similar offenses at Grand Slam events,” said the USTA adding that the money would go to the Grand Slam Development fund.
Williams earned $1.4 million at the US Open.
Her runner-up prize money was $900,000 and she made a $500,000 bonus for finishing first in the standings of the US Open Series of hardcourt tune-up events in the weeks before the final Grand Slam of the season.
The USTA also said Grand Slam committee director Bill Babcock determined “Williams’ conduct, while verbaly abusive, does not rise to the level of a major offence under the Grand Slam Code of Conduct.”
“Aren’t you the one who screwed me over last time?” Williams, who was eventually defeated 6-2, 6-3, bellowed at Asderaki from the court, in an apparent reference to a similar incident in Doha in 2009.
“Don’t even look at me,” she shouted up at Asderaki as she sat in her chair during the next changeover.
“If I see you in the corridor don’t even walk past me… a code violation for expressing my opinion, we’re in America… you’re unattractive inside…”
The scene recalled her profanity laced tirade toward a line judge in a 2009 semi-final against eventual champion Kim Clijsters.
That incident brought her an immediate $10,000 fine from the US Open and later a $82,500 fine from the Grand Slam committee, along with the probationary period during which another major offence could result in a ban from the next US Open and a doubling of her fine.
Williams insisted after the match that she didn’t intend to put Stosur off her stride.
“I just yelled, ‘Come on’. It was a great shot. I hit it right in the sweet spot. It was the only good shot I hit. I was like, Whoo Hoo, so… ”
As for what she said to Asderaki, Williams claimed she couldn’t even remember it.
“I don’t even remember what I said. It was just so intense out there … I guess I’ll see it on YouTube.”