Who was Guilty of Bad Behaviour Here?
I did not see this match, but I heard and then read ALL about it. I have to admit that when I heard about racquet smashing and back talking to an official, my first reaction was - there she goes again. She got what she deserved! Serena has definitely lost it before.
Now my thoughts are mixed, especially hearing from other legendary players both male and female.
Initially I was thinking "Give me a break (no pun intended)." Spoiled tennis brat behaviour has gone on too long. Some people argue that top athletes just get heated and will act like this occasionally and we - including officials - should accept it. Did Bjorn Borg carry on like this? Martina Lavratinova? Does Roger Federer?
It is true that in every sport there are those who express their anger and frustration openly, verbally, and physically and those who don't. I happen to prefer the latter because I think it is more difficult to keep your cool and play your best simultaneously. It is all about being a good sport and good sportsmanship. Some people love the Jimmy Conners and John McEnroes - I don't, preferring the Federer / Gretsky / Palmer styles of classy behaviour.
Then I read on. I was not aware of the "no coaching" rule. What's with that? Imagine baseball, football (both types), hockey, car racing, or boxing without a coach yelling or signaling from the side? Is it just one of those traditional, stately old tennis idiosyncrasies like the once "white uniforms only" rule? Is there another sport with such a rule?
If the rule stays then it should be respected. Serena is right however, to protest if the rule is overlooked when male players are guilty. She was NOT right o break her racquet or call the official a thief and neither are any men who do the same thing. I agree that if men are warned first, then she should be also. That is the "racket" part of this - apparently a racket to the advantage of men. I don't buy in to the proposal that this particular official got upset just because it was a woman who spoke to him in such a manner.
A lot of people do not like Celine Dion or Tiger Woods when they are off the stage or the course. I try to separate the personalities from the talent. That I will always admire and wish them success in their profession. The same goes for Serena - she is a fantastic tennis player.
Is there a conclusion here or am I just lobbing balls over the net? OK - I have to agree that some overdue good will come out of this. Eliminate silly rules or clarify them and apply rules equally to ALL players. The sad part about all of this is that the moment should have belonged to Naomi Osaka who most observers say would have prevailed regardless. Her moment of glory was tarnished. THAT I blame on Serena.