Update 3/7/21–I’m looking at this post two and a half years later. Although I still agree with the general substance of what I wrote, the tone is much harsher than I feel now. In retrospect, I wish I’d been a bit more measured in my response. Mary Carillo said it much better: “At her very best — and she is very often at her very best — I respect and admire Serena beyond measure. She is so powerful. She’s an important voice. She’s a ferocious competitor. But at her very worst, as she was on this night, she acts like a bully.” But Serena doesn’t get a do-over of that night, and I suppose I shouldn’t get a do-over either. I’m not editing the post, other than acknowledging some chagrin here.
Well, guys, I’m going out on a limb here. I wrote this draft and then decided it was too controversial to post. But then I saw a longer opinion piece on Tennis.com, making many of the same points, although at greater length and better explained than I was able to do here. Check out the Tennis.com piece if you can, and then let’s discuss in the comment section…
Yes, you’re the greatest of all time. That’s been established beyond question, regardless of whether you overtake Margaret Court’s Grand Slam record.
And it’s true the chair umpire erred in not giving you a verbal warning before issuing the final code violation that cost you the game. He didn’t have to give you a warning–you were well over the line–but with so much at stake, he should have. Maybe there was even sexism involved.
But honestly. Enough about being a mom. We know, we know. You’ve told us over and over again. Your bizarre argument to the chair umpire (“I have never cheated! I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her!”) was a painfully transparent play for the crowd’s sympathy, reminiscent of Jimmy Connors’s blatant crowd-baiting in the 1991 U.S. Open quarterfinals (“I’m out here playing my butt off at 39 years old, and you’re doing that?!”) Continue reading “The Women’s Final: A Letter to Serena”