The Washington Post

Serena Williams fined $2,000 for ‘verbal abuse’ of U.S. Open chair umpire

U.S. Open officials on Monday fined Serena Williams $2,000 for “verbal abuse” of the chair umpire during Sunday’s women’s final against Australian Samantha Stosur.

That translates to 0.14 percent of the $1.4 million Williams earned for her runner-up performance, with Stosur defeating the three-time U.S. Open champion her first major title 6-2, 6-3.

Williams, 29, was still on probation for her outburst at a lineswoman in the 2009 semifinals when Sunday’s incident occurred. (Her two-year suspension was due to end at the conclusion of the match).

In order for Sunday’s outburst to trigger further sanctions under terms of her 2009 probation, the recent episode would have had to be deemed a “major offense” by the Grand Slam Director.

According to the statement released by U.S. Open referee Brian Earley Monday, Grand Slam officials decided that it didn’t rise to that level.

“After independently reviewing the incident which served as the basis for the code violation, and taking into account the level of fine imposed by the US Open referee, the Grand Slam Committee Director has determined that Ms. Williams’ conduct, while verbally abusive, does not rise to the level of a major offense under the Grand Slam Code of Conduct,” the statement read.

Eva Asderaki, the chair umpire for Sunday’s women’s final, docked Williams a point penalty for interfering with Stosur’s concentration by shouting “Come on!” while the ball was still in play after hitting what looked like a forehand winner. Having lost the first set, Williams, serving the first game of the second set, needed the game badly.

The point penalty, coming at break point, cost Williams the service game.

After the chair umpire explained her ruling on what’s known as a “hindrance” violation, Williams berated her and continued to do so during the changeover that followed. She was then cited with a code violation for “verbal abuse.”

In her post-match interview, Williams acknowledged that she was trying to use her anger over the call to fire herself up for a comeback after a sub-par performance in the first set.

“Definitely I tried to get more fired up and kinda get more like into it and kinda get more Serena-esque and in to the match and get going and stuff like that,” Williams said.

Liz Clarke currently covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. She has also covered seven Olympic Games, two World Cups and written extensively about college sports, tennis and auto racing.
Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.