Besides, I had no idea before McEnroe spoke up that there are times when foot faults are illegal and other times when they’re not. I just thought they were bad all the time because that’s what the rules say. But McEnroe and others apparently feel the rules are overrated.
But that’s how he behaved when he was playing. The judges were always out to get him, and they used those pesky rules to do it.
That’s just wrong. The baseline judge is supposed to call foot faults. It’s in the job description. The rules don’t say that foot faults should be called only on meaningless points or only early in the match or only on the sixth Tuesday of the month. The rules say if you step on the line during your serve, it’s a fault.
I can understand how Williams would be shocked to have a foot fault called. I even understand how she would be upset to have it happen at that moment during a match that wasn’t going her way at all.
But that’s where understanding ends. I can see screaming in dismay and even protest, but not approaching the umpire with brandished racket and expressing a desire to shove a bleeping tennis ball down her bleeping throat.
The point is she didn’t hit the judge, didn’t appear to directly threaten the judge, and didn’t do anything other than have an old-fashioned McEnroe-style meltdown. As soon as she was disqualified, she calmed down and even congratulated Clijsters on her victory.
She didn’t carry her complaint into the interview room, didn’t continue to abuse the officials and the rules as she has done on occasion in the past. By all indications, Williams realized she went off the deep end and had no one to blame but herself.
She’s out of the tournament and a bit lighter in the wallet. It should be enough.
Serena Williams enters the French Open with the rest of the draw fading fast in her rearview mirror. Can anyone stand in her way?
Scenes from Down Under
Check out the best images from the 2013 Australian Open.
The best of Wimbledon
The best images from the Grand Slam tournament at the All-England Club.
French Open 2012: Top 10 Shots
June 10, 2012: John McEnroe, Ted Robinson, and Mary Carillo look back at the Top Ten best moments from the 2012 French Open.
Aug. 31-Sept. 13