When Josh and I got to the US Open all the games were being held because of the rain. We were holding out for the big show, the 8 p.m. game between Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters. We waited, but we wondered if we'd get to see any tennis at all.
One of Josh K's friends hooked us up with box seats for the game, so while we waited for the rain to pass we stuffed our faces with catered cookies, hot dogs, chocolates and diet soda. Honestly, it's not the worst way to have to wait out the rain. Secretly I think we would have considered the night a success even if we hadn't seen the game. But . . .
Then the rain finally slowed and a synchronized team of guys with blowers started drying off the court. It looked like we'd see some tennis after all.
We were happy Joshes. (Josh H, left; Josh K, right)
Finally: the game.
Okay, fine, and a little celebrity watching, too. 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin sat nearby. Love him.
But all eyes were on the court as a minor tennis scandal rocked the US Open when Serena Williams lost the game on match point because she ran her mouth at a line judge. . . .
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OUR EXCLUSIVE VIDEO Last night Serena Williams played Kim Clijsters in the semifinals of the US Open. It was an exciting, suspense-filled neck-in-neck game, riddled with sloppy playing by Serena, who threw her racket onto the court and busted it when she lost the first set (and earned a warning from the judges for her behavior).
Clijsters, who is 26 and only recently back playing tennis since she had a child 18 months ago, continued neck-in-neck play into the end of the second set. When it became match point, a line judge called Serena on a foot fault (which actually was a bad call and later determined to be inaccurate). However, instead of calmly asking for a review of the call, Serena lost it.
From our seats we could only see Serena getting up into the face of the line judge, waving the ball at the judge and looking ready for an all-out brawl, but The New York Times reports Serena yelled "you don't f**king know who I am" and threatened to shove the tennis ball down the judge's throat.
What's so interesting about the sport of tennis is that it's still a rather polite, gentlemanly (or in this case, ladylike) sport. The crowd began booing as soon as Serena lost her cool and continued to as her poor sportsmanship kept playing out on the court. If it were a hockey game the crowd would have been loving it; in a tennis match, the crowd won't abide by that kind of behavior.
VIDEO PLAY-BY-PLAY As the video begins Serena has just finished bawling out at the line judge from a few feet away, yelling "you don't f**king know who I am" and threatening to shove the ball down the line judge's throat (according to the NYT).
As the video begins the line judge approaches chair umpire Louise Engzell to explain what's going on. At 0:10 Serena also marches up to the conferring line judge and chair umpire and continues the altercation, her face contorted. The tournament referee, Brian Earley, joins in the discussion at 0:20 and at about 0:55 Serena is officially issued a code violation point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. As it was match point at the end of the second set, that means Serena has lost the US Open Women's Semifinals.
At 1:05 Serena walks over to a confused Kim Clijsters, who hasn't been able to hear what's been going on from her side of the court, and Serena shakes her hand at 1:18. The match is over. The crowd is somewhat stunned by this finish to the exciting, suspenseful 91-minute game. It all didn't have to end like this if Serena hadn't lost her cool. Serena packs up her things at 1:38 and heads off the court at 2:00 as booing is still heard from the crowd.