23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams is into her 28th season having turned Pro in October 1995 at the age of 14. She has since gone only from strength to strength to become one of the biggest icons of the sport and a big inspiration for many players growing up winning titles everywhere on the Tour and smashing and creating records over the course of her glorious career.
Over the years, Serena has lost her cool on the court which has led to several altercations for the player. One of the most candid players, she has publicly addressed being abused racially and other wrongdoings by some of the spectators. But despite those challenges, Serena has never let it bother her performance on the court and has always answered with her racket.
2009 US Open semi-final: One of the most controversial moments of Serena Williams
With Kim Clijsters returning to action after a 2-year hiatus, she received a wildcard for the 2009 US Open and to the surprise of many, the Belgian player reached the semi-finals and was up against Serena who was looking to make a successful title defence. With Kim winning the first set 6-4, Serena had smashed her racket in frustration and had received a warning for it.
The second set went further close as Serena and Kim could not be separated after 10 games and were 5-5. Kim held her service and made it 6-5 with Serena requiring to hold her own to force a tiebreaker. Kim however took the upper hand and had a match point at 40-15 with Serena to serve. The American made a serve and it was called a footfault by the lineswoman infuriating Serena.
Serena threatened the lineswoman by saying, “I’m going to shove this f******g ball down your f*****ing throat,” having pointed her racquet towards her. The lineswoman complained about profanity to the chair umpire and led to a massive altercation which eventually led to Serena being given a point penalty which resulted in Kim winning the match and advancing to the finals which she won eventually. Serena was later fined $10,500 for her behaviour and an additional $500 for her racket smashing antic earlier in the match.
Williams later said, “An apology from me? How many people yell at linespeople? I see it happening all the time. I don’t know how many times I have seen that happen. I am a professional. I’m not the beggar, like, ‘Please, please, please, let me have another chance,’ because it was the rules and I play by the rules,” refusing to issue an apology for her actions.
Upon a later review, Serena was fined $1,75,000 instead of being banned from future Grand Slam events. The fine was subject to reduce to $82,500 if her behaviour remained in check during the next two seasons. It remains one of the highest-paid fines by a tennis player.
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