Oh, Serena. Always something controversial going on in her matches at the 2011 US Open women’s final. Serena screamed a “Haaa!” as she hit a screaming forehand before the point was even over.
On live-streaming, during change of ends Serena goes on to say to the umpire:
“If we are ever walking down the same hallway, you better walk the other way.”
“You’re a hater, don’t look at me”
Do you guys think it was fair for the umpire to give Sam the point? Should they have replayed that point instead? Did this effect the overall outcome of the match?
Serena’s post match interview with the press via USOpen.org:
Q. Regardless of whether you thought it was right or wrong, the decision, do you think it’s fair on the official to berate her like that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Excuse me? To berate?
Q. Do you think it’s fair on the official?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think everyone is so intense out there. I was really intense, and everyone just wants to do great. I know I did. Um, yeah, just try my best, you know? It’s like giving it 100%.
Q. What is your history with that chair umpire, and what episodes might you have had with her in the past?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know. I just was out there trying to fight against a great player who played really, really well. I don’t know.
Q. But between games, you referred to something that happened in the past with her. What were you referring to?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can’t think off the top of my head, actually.
Q. A match in Doha maybe where you were called for a similar penalty?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I promise you if I knew I would tell you, but I don’t know off the top of my head.
Q. According to the ITF, a chair umpire has latitude in assessing a point or in replaying the point if the action was not deliberate. Did you deliberately hinder your opponent?
SERENA WILLIAMS: (Laughter.) No. I mean, I didn’t, but I can’t even — you know, I think my opponent played really well. I actually thought it was a winner, but she did really good to even put her like racquet on it. I thought it was a clear winner. I thought it was the hat drop rule, where if you drop a hat you kind of replay the point. I don’t know. I think for the most part it was just — I don’t know, I tried my best. As always, I gave my 100%.
Q. Do you regret at all what you said to the chair umpire?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just am really excited to be here really and to have gotten so far. To get here has been a really great experience for me. I regret losing, but I think there was nothing I could do today. I think Sam played really, really well.
Q. Why would you not regret saying things like…
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t even remember what I said. It was just so intense out there. It’s the final for me, and I was just — I have to go — I guess I’ll see it on YouTube. I don’t know (Laughter.) I don’t know. I was just in the zone. I think everyone, when they play, they kind of zone out kinda thing. I don’t know, I’ll see it later, I’m sure.
Q. You had a late finish last night, fairly quick turnaround, presser at 12:30 in the morning, you talked about maybe your toe bothering you. You came out sluggish, looked like you weren’t moving well, your first serve was not clicking. Can you talk a little bit about that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think I definitely was a little more tired than I expected, but I’m not here to make excuses. I really want to put it out there and gave all the credit to Sam today, because I think she played really well. But it was a little bit of a tough turnaround, but I don’t think it would have made a difference today. I just probably should have been lighter on my toes and move in a little faster.
Q. Did you feel sluggish? What was wrong with the serve?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I guess my serve just wasn’t working for me today. I don’t know the stats of exactly what my first serve percentage was, but I don’t think it was good.
Q. It was 35% in the first set.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Wow. (Laughter.) That’s not so good. But that’s good news for me, because I know that that’s something that I can improve on. Going into playing her again or playing anyone, I can look forward, Okay, Serena, get your first serve in.
Q. Given what you have been through over the last 14 months or so, how does being a US Open finalist sit with you at this point?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It’s really great. You know, the last 14 months has been anything less than disastrous, and it’s been really, really, really hard. You know, to even have a chance to play for the US Open I would have never thought I would have had that chance, you know, seven weeks ago, I mean during Wimbledon or whatever, you know, let alone six months ago. I just would have never thought that that opportunity would have been available. So I can’t be too upset at myself. I think I’m excited that I’m healthy and alive and still, you know, competing with the best.
Q. You have won 13 majors, and in some ways being out there for a final is familiar territory. For her it really isn’t. She’s only been to one. Did you tell yourself at any point in the match, She can’t possibly keep this up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, you know, when you’re playing — my hair is dripping. When you’re playing like that, you know, she played really, really well. I mean, I don’t think she’s ever played that well. Maybe she has. I haven’t seen her play that well. But that’s what you have to do. When you’re in the final of a Grand Slam you have to do that. I thought, Okay, at some point you could level out, because I know sometimes it happens. But I’ve played a couple Grand Slam finals where I never leveled out, so I definitely thought about it.
Q. With the anniversary of 9/11 obviously it’s a big day here in New York. Did you feel some added pressure going out there, that somehow you had to deliver this win today?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I definitely wanted to win today all because of 9/11 and everything that New Yorkers and Americans and — you know, 10 years ago I was actually at the same stage right before this all happened. It was a really deep moment for all of us. So obviously as the last American left I kinda wanted to do well, but it didn’t — I mean, it didn’t work out the way I planned. Like I said earlier, my prayers are always with, you know, the victims and like everyone that worked so hard and risked their lives for our safety. It’s unbelievable, really.
Q. Last night you dominated our No. 1 player in the world. Could that have been a psychological letdown without knowing it, that it was tough to get yourself up because you dominated so well last night?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I think I may have played better yesterday. But, you know, in order to win a Grand Slam you have to be consistent for seven matches; if not, then you’re not gonna win. So I definitely think that — it’s a good result knowing that I have beaten the No. 1 and a couple other players, you know, high ranked. It’s definitely confidence building going on into what’s left of the year.
Q. You played I believe some Sam six times before. Has she ever hit the ball that hard against you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. She was cracking them today. She definitely hit hard and just went for broke. I think sometimes, you know, a lot of people were putting me as the favorite, and I definitely was trying not to put myself as the favorite. I was like, you know, it’s anyone’s game, as you can see as a result today. So I think that she definitely hit really, really hard.
Q. What impact, if any, did losing that point have on this match today? What carried over maybe from that moment for you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, I don’t know. I don’t think it had a big impact, because I think at the end she won pretty handily, like 6-3. So maybe it would have been 6-4. I don’t know. But I think, you know, like I said, I give her all the credit because she really played phenomenal and she deserved to be the US Open champion this year.
Q. Two years ago the umpire was from northern Europe, Danish or Swedish, Louise; today was a Greek called Eva. Blonde both. Did you confuse them?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know. Maybe. Probably for sure.
Q. Was there a part of you that said, I can’t believe this is sort of happening again, this scene?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. That is definitely different moments. So, no, not at all.
Q. You’re one of our greatest champions and an elite athlete, a real role model. Do you think it’s important for top level athletes, even in tremendous heat of the moment, to treat refs and officials with respect?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Um, I don’t know. I think that, you know, when you’re an athlete, whether you’re looking at a basketball player or football player or tennis players, these athletes, we train all our lives since I was three — and I lie about my age a lot, but I’m 29. (Smiling). You know, we live for these moments, you know. Everyone lives to be, you know, in the final of Wimbledon or the final at the US Open. Whatever happens in that moment, you live for them and we breathe for them, and hopefully I’ll be back for them.
Q. Wouldn’t that be the moment to be most respectful of all at that moment?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I honestly don’t know the answer. Everyone, we athletes, give 2,000%. I know I do every time.
Q. Were you trying at some point to use your anger or frustration over that call to fire yourself up? Was that part of the process?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely I tried to get more fired up and kinda get more like into it and kinda just get more Serena esque and into the match and get going and stuff like that. So, you know, yeah.
Q. What time did you actually get to bed last night? Did you find that a little hard because you were up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I didn’t get to sleep until like 4:30ish. I definitely think that is not the best way to plan for the final, so… Yeah, it was. It’s definitely tough when you go to bed at 4:00.
Q. So where does this result put you in terms of looking forward? You know, you’re totally stoked now to go and get down to Australia first chance you get?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Definitely. I mean, every time I lose I get better. So watch out. (Laughter.)
Q. What made you so excited on that forehand that you shouted out? Was it just you felt like that was going to be a changing point? What was the emotion when you yelled on that forehand that caused the trouble?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just yelled, Come on. It was a great shot. It was beautiful. I hit it like right in the sweet spot. I don’t know. It was a good shot, and it was the only good shot I think I hit. I was like, Whoo Hoo, so…
Q. I believe you’re still under a suspended ban; is that right?
THE MODERATOR: No. Ended at this tournament.
Q. Were you in any kind of pain today? Was your toe bothering you? Was there anything physically that was hindering you on the pushoff on that right foot?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I’m here — no athlete’s ever 100%. I’ll just leave it at that.