I have enormous respect for Serena Williams as an athlete. I admire her talent, her discipline, her long run at the top of women’s professional tennis, her fight to return after the birth of her daughter and at the age of 36 — an age when most professional athletes of either gender are moving into retirement. I wanted her to win the women’s U.S. Open final on Saturday.
I hate it when she loses her composure on the court and erupts.
She did yesterday, when she fell behind playing against a much younger but talented player, Naomi Osaka. And it was ugly.
Serena desperately wants that one more majors win, the one that would tie her with Margaret Court. I get that. This U.S. Open was a terrific chance, with many of the top players sidelined early. Osaka is young; all the odds were against her defeating Serena two outings in a row. I do think Serena was provoked and overly penalized by an officious chair umpire. My hope is that this chair umpire would never again call a women’s match. But Osaka was the clear winner.
Serena was gracious later in congratulating the younger player and champion, making it clear that her fight was not against her opponent. But the spectacle of Serena erupting on the court remains.