Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Sunday Feeling

Forget the debate about health care reform. Let not your heart be troubled over a congressman yelling at the President during a speech before a Joint Session of Congress. Do not be troubled by the apparent fact that a not inconsiderable number of the citizenry repose trust in the lunatic raving put out by the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs of this world.

No. For high drama you need only turn to women's tennis!

Let's set the scene. Serena Williams was playing unseeded Kim Clijsters in the semi-finals of the US Open last night. And she was getting it handed to her. Clijsters was ahead in the match 6-4, 6-5 and Serena was serving at 15-30 to try to force a tiebreaker. On her second serve she was called for a foot fault, meaning her foot had touched the service line as she served. This made it 15-40 whereupon Serena went off on the line judge as you can see here at the jump:

Accounts vary as to what Serena actually said to the judge. The New York Times reported that she used profanity. Comcast reported that Serena told the line judge that she could "ram the ball down her throat." The line judge evidently told the Chair Umpire that Serena threatened to kill her. And that was enough to give her a penalty point. But she didn't have a point to give and Clijsters was awarded the match.

Now some of you might be asking: Penalty point? Did tennis come down hard on Serena to protect the officials as the NBA or Major League Baseball might have done? Of course not. Tennis is too pussy a sport to do anything like that. On the tape you will not hear the Chair say " Code Violation Miss Williams. Thugging out on the line judge. Penalty point."

No. Serena had reacted to the loss of the first set by destroying a racquet which got her a warning for racquet abuse. The next step in the progression is a penalty point. Which we now know threatening a line judge will get you. And at 15-40 she had no points to squander in that fashion. Game,set, and match Miss Clijsters.

On the tape you will hear noted diplomat John McEnroe bitch that a foot fault should never have been called at that point in the match. McEnroe, who got his own self thrown out of the Australian Open 20 years ago after a heated discussion with the Chair and got disqualified from the US Open for showing up late for a match , is right. These guys foot fault all the time.

And this has already sparked NBA gambler level paranoia in the press and on the Internet. Michael Kay on the Sports Reporters has speculated that Serena basically threw the match so she could blame the ignominy of losing to an unseeded player to getting jobbed by the officials. As if Cljisters showed up from the St. Vincent's tournament here in Little Rock. As if she were Melanie Oudin.

Clijsters, was unseeded because she retired to have a baby and to mourn the death of her father, soccer legend Leo Clijsters, from she says she inherited her steel girder like legs. Prior to that she was a former top 10 player and past US Open champ herself.

Whether Serena threw the match, which is unlikely, or lost her shit at a really bad time which is more likely is beside the point. The WTA is a joke. The Williams sisters pretty much show up to play in Majors when it suits their purposes and routinely mow down the field. Clijsters lays off a couple of years, comes back and does likewise. A 17 year old high school kid cuts a swath through a bunch of Russian models with no other weapons except young legs and a head that's screwed on straight.

You wouldn't see this kind of stuff on the men's side where Federer and Rafa are now starting to get dinged up by the field. And you haven't seen a Serena level meltdown in a Major in the men's game since Jeff Tarango retired. I think he retired. Either that or he was institutionalized.

I may watch the finals tonight. One thing everybody in the claw-your-eyes-out world of the WTA agrees on is that it is good for the game that Clijsters is back because she is such a nice person.

Imagine that.

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