BEATEN US Open finalist Serena Williams avoided a ban and escaped with a fine of $2,000 for her outburst during her defeat to Samantha Stosur on Sunday.
Williams received a code violation for verbally abusing umpire Eva Asderaki during her 6-2, 6-3 defeat, after a furious rant that included the remarks: “If you ever see me walking down the hall look the other way. You’re out of control, you’re a hater and you’re unattractive inside.”
The incident came just two years after the former world No1 was fined a grand slam record £53,000 and handed a suspended ban from the US Open for launching a foul-mouthed diatribe at a line judge. She was warned another “major offence” before the end of 2011 would trigger the ban and another fine.
Williams erupted on Sunday after she was penalised a point for shouting ‘Come on’ before Stosur had returned her forehand – which is deemed an offence. “Aren’t you the one that screwed me over last time?” she asked, mistaking Asderaki for her previous nemesis Louise Engzell.
British No2 Anne Keothavong said that while she sympathised with Williams’ frustration at being penalised, she believed her reaction overstepped the mark and tainted Australian Stosur’s success.
“She took it a little bit too far. I think she had a point but rules are rules and she did shout out too early, and just carried it on for far too long. The decision was made by the umpire – you’ve go to accept it as a player and move on,” said Keothavong.
“Most players in that situation would have had one or two things to say to the umpire but it’s the US Open final, you’ve got to set an example out there, lots of young kids look up to her. It took a little bit of the gloss away from Sam Stosur’s victory.”
Stosur, 27, upset the odds by beating Williams. Even though the American was only seeded 28 following a year in which her playing time has been severely restricted by injury.
Williams refused to apologise for her behaviour after the match, insisting: “I don’t even remember what I said, it was just so intense out there.”
She added: “It’s the final for me, and I was just – I have to go – I guess I’ll see it on YouTube. I don’t know. I was just in the zone. I think everyone, when they play, they kind of zone out kinda thing. I don’t know, I’ll see it later, I’m sure.
“We live for these moments, you know. Everyone lives to be, you know, in the final of Wimbledon or the final at the US Open. Whatever happens in that moment, you live for them and we breathe for them, and hopefully I’ll be back for them.”
Stosur admitted being left confused by the incident, saying: “I didn’t really know what was going on. I was just there. I know about the rule but never dealt with it before.”