Serena Williams Gets Off With Fine And A Warning

by Lynn Berenbaum | November 30th, 2009, 9:14 am

After almost 10 weeks, the Grand Slam Committee has determined a penalty for Serena Williams’ obscenity-laced tirade at this year’s U.S. Open. ADHEREL

Administrator Bill Babcock will announce today that Serena has been fined $82,500. She could also be suspended from that tournament if she has another “major offense” within the next two years, and is facing a “probationary period” at Grand Slam tournaments in 2010 and 2011.

The Committee met in London this past weekend to discuss the World No 1’s outburst to a lineswoman who foot-faulted her at a critical juncture of the semifinal of the U.S. Open versus Kim Clijsters.

Speculation has been swirling for the past few months that Williams may be suspended from one of the Slams, which would have seriously damaged her credibility, earnings, and jeopardize her ranking. One recent report claimed that her fine could be as high as $1M.

Instead, they have come down on the side of a financial penalty, which amounts to less than half the prize money she received as a semifinalist at the U.S. Open and a warning about her behavior.

If she has another incident at a major championship in that time, the fine would increase to $175,000 and she would be barred from the following U.S. Open.

Babcock said that the previous highest fine for a Grand Slam offense was for $48,000 and doled out to Jeff Tarango in 1995.

Tarango had described Bruno Rebeuh, the French umpire, as being “one of the most corrupt officials in the game” at the All England Club.

When he was handed a point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, Tarango walked off and refused to play on, and was suspended from playing the following year’s Wimbledon Championships.

It is the only other time the committee has had to review a case of “aggravated behavior”.

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45 Comments for Serena Williams Gets Off With Fine And A Warning

Kimo Says:

Just bought my copy of “Open”.

KillerC Says:

hmm not surprising.. well the bottom line was she flipped out and deserved something for her actions. To any non top 100 player this would be a devastating fine. Personally, I felt the call was bogus! it was too close to call for the moment and disrupted the flow of the game. Its like the playoffs in any sport- at that moment in the major, if its too close dont call it. If anything should be handing out fines for crappy calls.

Whoa Says:

Err..? So the rules dont apply in match points, at what point would the call be characterized as not crappy – 2mm, 3mm?. Maybe we should take away the footfault judge alltogether?.

This is actually by the point, even if the call was wrong, what Serena did was pick on a defensless person whos job is to shut up and call the lines to her best ability. Serena deserves every cent of the fine.

madmax Says:

the amount she has been fined is laughable. She should have been banned from the next slam at the very least, to show that you simply cannot be allowed to threaten line judges just because you are having a bad day. Does not set a good example in women’s tennis, plus took away the achievement from Cljisters.

This is the price of a handbag for serena.

andrea Says:

SI has to be top of the charts for who’s got the funk this week.

sportsman of the year went to another american playing an all american sport. never mind the fact that roger made history by becoming the greatest in the sport of tennis by beating the GS record held by Sampras and becoming on the 6th man in history to win all four slams….all in the space of 6 weeks.

of course, since fed beat an american’s previous tennis record that probably didn’t look so good to the biased writers of SI.

and yes, i am canadian, so pardon my american rant. i do business with the US all the time, but their blinders when it comes to sports is a little tiring.

fellow posters, feel free to bash the canadians for being too meek and having socialized health care. we really are one step away from being communists.

madmax Says:


I made my own version of SI, it has roger federer on the front, so I’m happy!

Christine Says:

This is ridiculous. She lost her mind in anger. And this is a complete insult to the sport. She said last spring in Madrid: “I don’t know about you, but $75,000 is a lot of money to me,” Serena told reporters. “I’m redecorating a house and $75,000 is my furniture budget, some stairs… I can’t just go writing checks for $75,000 in this economy.”
Totally wrong and bullshyt.

tennis served fresh Says:

Well it’s about time the WTA did something. Yeah, the fine is a bit ridiculous but it’s either that or suspending her from the next USO. I think if they let her play it would give the tourney more eyes on TV. Bravo WTA :)

topspin Says:

She’s so stupid that she’ll probably play the “victim” card from now on, since she’s got not enough brain cells to realize that what she did was wrong.


Tony Says:

It is hard for me to understand why The Grand Slam Committee has taken so long to come up with a decision. Also “major offense” is very ambiguous. If it had not been Serene Williams, but someone ranked beyond #100, that woman could have been suspended lifetime several weeks ago.

Shame on the Committee, and of course, Serena too.

puckbandit Says:

Not sure how I feel about the Serena penalty. Is there really much precedent for such actions? Hard to judge.

Regarding the SI cover. Andrea, I love Canadians (see my handle which indicates a love for your national sport) but if don’t think Jeter is deserving of this accolade, then I suggest you do a little research. Derek Jeter is my favorite athlete in all of sports. A true role model.

Also, the World series MVP was Japanese, and many players from the DR and other countries so it is getting more international.

I know that people get on me for my criticisms of Fed. But had he been chosen, I wouldn’t have had a problem with that at all. My criticisms exist in this “micro” world of tennis discussion, not the “macro” world of all sport.

puckbandit Says:


I posted a response to you on the Davy thread in an attempt to explain my position on Fed.

tennismonger Says:

Did Derek Jeter whip out a hideous silk jacket emblazoned with “#5” at the conclusion of the 2009 World Series? No? Sounds like a sportsman to me…

Dave B Says:

I agree that the punishment was not severe enough but I think her real punishment will come from those of us who were fans of hers but are no longer.

Diane Says:

It seems some people never saw the Tennis Channel footage: There was a clear foot fault.

And what Whoa said.

puckbandit Says:

Just to set the record straight, tnnismonger and I are NOT the same person. LOL

Long Live the King Says:

Who is this Jeter? bet no one outside of US knows or cares! SI is a really stupid mag…. they can blind themselves like the american public, to how the outside world works or be a visionary n introduce the american public to global sport :)

anyway, the days of US isolating itself as a super-power are fast reaching an end. people who remain narrow-minded are going to learn the truth the hard-way.

Fed’s laureus awards mean much more than these silly SI awards. It’s SI’s loss. You have visionaries and you have people for whom money blinds their vision. SI falls in the latter. I loathe people who put money above everything, and institutions like SI are the scum of the earth. Hope they are atleast doin a lot of charity.

Long Live the King Says:

Serena should have been suspended from tennis for a few months at the least. Suspend her from slams n let her see how tennis goes on without her. ITF n WTA are in the same league as SI. Shame on them and serena.

She did it, out of anger? Really? threatening a fellow human being and intimidating her – just a momentary lapse? No wonder people like OJ laugh at the society that can only punish poor people. Guess what? Karma is for real. Serena is going to pay what she deserves. You are a fool, if u think no one’s watching your stupid actions. As a person, serena is has zero respect from me and i am sure from most of the sensible outside world.

In US though, people will keep projecting her as the victim, forgetting that what she did was exactly the imperialistic thing that people claim her race has been targeted with. Its getting funny how people have to bend over to make the african-americans feel equal. It is not enough we respect the black heroes. We need to even treat Serena and OJ with respect. Sorry, I am not willing to be so stupid. Serena is in the same league as Paris Hilton. Total drama and full of stupidity and totally out of touch with reality.

lucy Says:

long live the king u r completely stupid…do not compare one of the best female tennis players of all time to someone who’s been accused of a double murder. It shows how low your I.Q. is when a black player gets in trouble u bring up O.J. (michael jordan when going through his divorce, Kobe Bryant his criminal investigation, Charles Barkley after run in with prostitute etc.. Remind me to compare all white players to Jeffrey Dahmer when they get in any trouble in the future.. I guess everyone running their mouth now was equally vocal when Victoria Azarenka yelled, and cursed a line judge this year and only got a $5000 fine. For your info Black people are equal to everyone else so stop talking like u live in the 60’s.

Long Live the King Says:

best female tennis player? so what… if she behaves like a wild mongrel? i dont care if she is white or black. if she cant behave in a civilized manner, she belongs in the assylum.

Long Live the King Says:

If they are equal, then quit playing the race card every time they behave in an uncouth, barbaric manner. let them be punished like other people.

Long Live the King Says:

You are the stupid one, who wants to wait till Serena commits a murder to actually tell her she is stupid. Forget mine, if serena had even ur IQ, she wouldn’t have acted shamelessly the way she did.

I am quite sure your IQ is negative.

Long Live the King Says:

If u want me to stop talking like in the 60s, then dont behave like u r in the 60s. I mean the year 60 and I mean B.C

Thats how uncivilised Serena’s behaviour was. Heck! my dog behaves much better when he is losing a game of fetch to another doggie. Reflects more on her family values, one must say.

O-Kerr Says:

Lucy, you identified rightly that this Dead King is stupid. He is also showing his true color as a KKK recruiter from the old remnant of Germany. Why else would he be talking like a white-hooded knight against a colored female tennis player, who happened to be the best of the decade? She made an error and was fined twice. But this dumb King didn’t have to show off his Aryan Brotherhood, did he?
If the Dead King were not scum of the earth, he would not be talking s*it about Jeter, US, and SI. He would not be spewing his insanity on this site. He would be in a different place.

Hypnos Says:

I bet there were some heated discussions behind closed doors about what do to do about the situation, which is why it took so long.

The people on the competitive side of things probably wanted to ban her from a major, to show that you can be severely penalized no matter what your ranking.

The people on the business side of things probably wanted her to get a slap on the wrist so ratings wouldn’t be impacted negatively.

The large fine (which is chump change for her) is simply the compromise they came up with.

I for one agree that she should have been suspended from a major. In any other sport if a player threatened an official because of what they thought was a bad call, they could be suspended for a *whole season*. You just don’t mess with refs.

Long Live the King Says:

“I for one agree that she should have been suspended from a major. In any other sport if a player threatened an official because of what they thought was a bad call, they could be suspended for a *whole season*. You just don’t mess with refs. ”

>>>> very well said. serena should have been suspended.

anyway, i am sure she has lost a good no. of fans, who have more ethical and moral values than lucy and o-kerr, who seem to be morons that the US family and educational system produces by the bucket loads. Just be glad the immigrants are keeping the country afloat. the day they are done with US, it will be mired with morons like the posters I mentioned.

With the family values as pathetic as they are in the US, you get kids who are not raised well and with lots of issues. Serena and Paris Hilton are just one of the many examples. Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, you can just go on with a list of delusional people who are worshipped only in the US of A.

Derek Jeter is a Global hero? really? He cant hold a candle to the likes of Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. SI is just a piece of trash, that people would piss on outside of US. It can cater only to low-IQ morons like Lucy and O-kerr.

Long Live the King Says:


You are like a cunning Hyena waiting for fellow hyenas to attack a Lion that mauled you.

Guess what hyenas are just wild dogs. You can continue your ass-lickin of anyone and anything to get back at me. The truth will not change : Serena is a moron and she deserved a bigger punsihment for her uncouth behaviour.

Obvious I don’t expect a low-life like you to understand that. Keep your parasitic life going.

puckbandit Says:

Long Live The King,

You need to up your meds, man.

Long Live the King Says:


I am just glad you posted something other than Roger crying at the aus open.

Is it the meds that helped u get over? Keep at it and I am sure you will actually make an argument against the post and not the poster.

O-Kerr Says:

Dear Zombie King, didn’t you call me jackass and psycho last week, gross personal attack and no comment on my post, and added you’d never respond to me? now you start off by calling me Hyena, wild dog, low-IQ moron, and low-life? and you preach Puckabandit to argue against the post and not the poster?
here is an attempt to respond to your post, not the poster:
no civilized person would describe Serena in these terms = 1. a wild mongrel belongs in the asylum; 2. you lump together Serena, OJ, Paris Hilton; 3. you think those who hold different opinion are waiting for Serena to commit a murder?

May I ask you which outside country you come from where people like Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, and Jeter are not revered for their skills and entertainment value? Which country do you come from where people like Serena are lynched or forced into a mental asylum?

“Who is this Jeter?”
Yankees’ team captain for about 7 years now and under his leadership the team won 5 times World Series.
Nine out of 10 Americans know who Jeter is but only 1 out of 10 Americans know who Federer is.
Then, you mention baseball is less global than tennis, etc.
Guess what mudpit belly flop, arm pit serenade, and rock skipping are more global than the 2 most global sports, soccer and basketball, let alone tennis.
If SI award were to be decided based on global outreach, there will be only one sport receiving every year. Would that be fair? Every year some good ones are missed out, and unfortunately Federer happened to be one of them this year.

“SI is a really stupid mag…. they can blind themselves like the american public, to how the outside world works or be a visionary n introduce the american public to global sport…US isolating itself as a super-power are fast reaching an end…”Fed’s laureus awards mean much more than these silly SI awards.”

Of course, within baseball, World Series MVP, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth Awards rank far higher than SI’s SMOTY, which is a fashionable accolade. Jeter has all of them, and last year he passed Babe Ruth on the Yankees all time hit list, and he broke several records this year, so SI concluded he deserved the award.
Similarly, within tennis, Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, Fans’ Favorite, Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year, Player of The Year, are more valuable than SI’s SMOTY, which only has beyond-tennis popular appeal. What else do you expect from a magazine that thrives on Swimsuit Calenders?
However, if SI Sportsman of the Year Award is silly and stupid, why would Federer need it and why do you bother to go all-out against it, besides there are honorable recipients like Jordan, Tiger Woods, Joe Montana, Ashe, BJ King, Gretzky, Armstrong, etc., and Jeter is no less deserving? And baseball is not as domestic as Ice Hockey and A-Football. Globality is not SI’s criteria, is it? You can disprove the SI, but can you criticize a nation and its entire people based on how a sports magazine decides to crown a player with its annual award? I don’t think you can convince anyone with statements like, “institutions like SI are the scum of the” and “people piss on it”? Precisely because of statements like these people would go after the poster, not the post.

madmax Says:


I dont understand this conversation. Can we calm it down a bit please? Stop the personal insults. Get back to the article.

Serena was wrong to say what she said. It should have been dealt with months ago. Can anyone tell me why it has taken so long for the WTA to come up with a fine that would mean nothing to serena.

And yes. She may be the best female tennis player ever, but you dont go around making threats to lines women in full view of 20 million (more probably) audience worldwide. She should have been banned from the next slam (which means that she would be out of the OZ open), that would have meant more in terms of women’s tennis being brought into disrepute and had some ranking points deducted.

I think this is the first time ever a fine of this amount has ever been given. someone correct me if I am wrong?


thanks for your reply. Have read it on other thread, and have replied. Peace. xxx

puckbandit Says:


I have posted back at ya on the other thread.

And I will be good and not engage with LLTK.

di-10S Says:

suspended ban=BS

rcm Says:

People can argue about the appropriateness of the punishment – but there’s no arguing with the videotape of that tirade.
People may forget the fine and the threat of suspension but that film is around forever.
As for Derek Jeter…maybe they gave him Sportsman of the Year to sorta make up for the fact that once again he didn’t earn the AL MVP? America-centric as usual…

JoshDragon Says:

I still think Serena should have been banned from the US Open for a year.

MMT Says:

Kimo – I just finished “Open” this weekend – what did you think of it?

madmax Says:

Joshdragon – I agree a ban from a slam would have really made a statement.

Punkbandit – have read and replied too – loved your post over there – i learnt a lot from you. Peace.

madmax Says:

Is ‘open’ worth reading?

O-Kerr Says:

Think about a few things and be honest if there is a racism in your deep subconscious:
(1) most of these posters never show up and did not show up on this forum during tennis events. Do you recall seeing them here and if they had anything to say about tennis as such during YEC, Paris, Valencia, Basel, Shanghai, and Beijing, to name a few? Suddenly they crawl out of the slumber, to fulfill their appetite for bashing a black woman. That includes the tea-partier author Lynn who said it all in the headline Serena Williams Gets Off.

2) Why would a tennis fan be on the side of an official and against a player? Why would you interpret a verbal assault into a life-threatening casualty? If you have real humanitarian concern, there are places where worse things are happening every second in the planet, and your voice may count in there.

3) An unprecedented amount of fine and probation have been levied on the guilty, and an opportunity to become a better person has been granted to her out of compassion, not out of eye-for-eye primitive and barbaric penal code.
4) ITF and WTA made money out of the fine and will make money by letting her play under the probation, but what did the lineswoman get? If you have real concern for the lineswoman, you should ave voiced for damage assessment and compensation for the damage done to her.
5) Did you raise these questions: Why was the umpire silent and why did she let the situation escalate? Why didn’t she intervene while one of her staff was being abused if the lineswoman was in real danger, especially right after the first abuse?

6) Even the skeptics admit that the foot fault was questionable. What if the official was wrong? Why don’t you voice for the requirement of a hawk-eye system for footfault as well, for future? If am umpire’s call can be challenged and reviewed, why cannot a lineswoman’s call be challenged? One wrong cannot be righted by another wrong, and this not only applies to Serena but also to you.

7) Ban is like incarceration or internment into a concentration camp or death penalty. How does that allow a person become better? Ending a player’s career is not the right solution, unless you believe in regressive barbaric penal code.

If you did not think about these questions, maybe you are speaking out of race hatred, subconsciously, even if you do not admit.

KillerC Says:

haha i agree, how many times have you seen kobe bryant or MJ called for traveling or pushoff fouls in the nba finals!??! very rare.
same situation here

now video still doesnt show she “definitely” stepped on line at the moment of her contact with ball on serve. Maybe hawkeye for this too!? ha

tenisbebe Says:

O-Kerr: A few things to you regarding your post at 10:44am.
Point #1 “most of these posters never show up and did not show up on this forum during tennis events….” Excuse me but, who are you??? I have never seen you here before but lo and behold you show up to post regarding a “Serena” article. Hmmmm – me thinks you are referring to YOURSELF.

#2 “Why would a tennis fan be on the side of an official and against a player?” This statement is beyond words. Obviously you think “fans” should have blinders on & support athletes regardless of their behavior? Please. “Why would you interpret a verbal assault into a life-threatening casualty?” You said it – it’s called “assault” and it is considered a criminal offense in the USA (where it occurred). Serena said quite clearly to the lineswoman that she was going to “take this f*cking ball & shove it down your throat”. That is considered assault & it is punishable by law should someone wish to press charges. End of subject.
#5 “Did you raise these questions: Why was the umpire silent and why did she let the situation escalate? Why didn’t she intervene while one of her staff was being abused if the lineswoman was in real danger, especially right after the first abuse?” Did you not watch the incident? The chair DID intervene – she called Brian Earley on her communicator & then called the lineswoman over to the chair to repeat the jist of her “conversation” with Serena. Watch it again.

#6 – Because it’s too expensive. You may or may not agree with the foot fault call (although I saw TC’s footage which was more conclusive) but the fact of the matter is, the umpire’s call is final on these matters. In baseball, football, on and on, athletes can argue their case but in the end must accept the verdict without threatening to kill them. It would be punished in most sports both monetarily & with a suspension.

I understand that LLTK’s inflammatory postings set you on this course however I suggest that your assertations also reflect a racial bias in this argument.

Nina Says:

I think Serena should have been banned from at least 1 grand slam both singles and doubles. The fine is nothing to her, it will not hurt her as she has income so high she’ll hardly notice this.
I think Serena has got a very bad attitude, although this was the first time I saw her acted in such an awful manner. Who knows what she’s up to at smaller tournaments with no camera crews on site. If it happened there, then gosh help the line judge…
Serena’s case shows there star treatment is very much alive in tennis. If they’re going to go on like this pro tennis will lose its credibility and fans.
I’m not her fan because of her bad attitude and no respect for the game and her colleagues. After so many black athletes have suffered real discrimination her and her sister finally could compete in normal conditions but instead of being a respectable professional sportwomen they chose to behave like morons. Venus has turned around and gives black tennis a good name, but Serena does the opposite – she gives all the hateful prejudiced people (of any race) an evidence they are right.
As a black person I cringe everytime I read some of her BS comments and wish she retired soon and left space for someone with integrity. Hopefully we’ll get a normal black stars soon.

tenisbebe Says:

As I recall, Serena seemed out of sorts from the get-go of the match. Kim was definitely her toughest opponent of the draw up to that point & they hadn’t played for like 4 years. In a way, it was odd that Serena would be the more nervous of the 2, having a 7-1 record vs Kim & being the presumed #1 player in the world. Perhaps the fact that Kim had beat so Venus added to Serena’s discomfort. It all just kept building to the racquet smashing at the end of the 1st (such a weird code violation to me) and then later to the FF & pt loss. Too bad for Kimmy – it should have been the high point of her summer but instead became all about Serena.

AK-47 Says:

“I have never seen you here before.”
I used to post in 2006. Then, I disappeared for about 3 years. I resumed reading X since Beijing 500-series, and re-started posting since Paris Masters so you can find my posts on Paris and London. If you missed, that’s your problem. Between Beijing and London, I have not seen a single post from these posters: KillerC, Whoa, Christine, Tennis Served Fresh, topspin, Tony, Dave B, Diane, lucy, di-10S, rcm, hypnos, and you tennisbebe, not on tennis matches.

That “take this f*cking ball & shove it down your throat” does not amount to criminal offense, not when uttered on court or any playground.

“The chair DID intervene.”

No, the chair umpire did not intervene, did not move from her chair through out the entire episode, until the director came out.

You have crazy ideas like “Because it’s too expensive” so there is no point of talking to you. I would have to counter-argue with nonsense like tennis is expensive, so don’t play. I don’t want to stoop to that level. I am not interested in your rubbish.

“I suggest that your assertations also reflect a racial bias in this argument.”

English does not have the word “assertations.”
I do think that you wear Southern blindfold, in mere out-right refutation of my suggestions. And you

Only a high school drop-out would take a name like bebe. Just a thought.

Death Says:

AK-47, whether or not you have posted here before means nothing. In your case, such history has obviously had no impact in making you wiser.

Making fun of tennisbebe’s name is a cheap shot and only shows to what low methods you must resort in order to make your ‘point’.

In addition, when criticizing another poster’s way of writing, be sure that yours is superior and does not have UNFINISHED SENTENCES.

Better yet, do not call other people’s posts ‘rubbish’-with the hypocricy of responding to them in a desperate manner-while hailing your own filth as gold.

“No, the chair umpire did not intervene, did not move from her chair through out the entire episode, until the director came out.”

I do not need your interpretation of what ‘intervening’ means. The fact that Serena was defaulted from the match is an intervention, and I think most people can obviously see that.

“Only a high school drop-out would take a name like bebe. Just a thought.”

Only a coward would take cheap shots at another poster simply because of a difference of opinion.

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