Tennis: Federer puts Williams outrage in sharp relief

By Tim Ivins

It’s amazing what a difference a day can make.

Sunday eastern Australian time: Serena Williams v Kim Clijsters. World number 2 versus a woman aiming to be the first mother to make a grand slam final since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980. Williams’s anger has been bubbling away all evening. She’s broken her racquet after losing the first set. She’s serving, 2 points away from elimination. First serve: fault; second serve: foot fault.

Look at this clip for footage of the madness that followed:

Shaking her racquet and ball at a woman doing her job was bad enough but Williams utters “If I could, I would take this … ball and shove it down your … throat”. The word “kill” may also have been.

A code violation is called and game, set and match Clijsters.

Williams was fined $10,000, just under 3 per cent of her prize money for the tournament, and faces further sanctions. Her response was not to issue an apology but rather a statement.

“Last night everyone could truly see the passion I have for my job. Now that I have had time to gain my composure I can see that, while I don’t agree with the unfair line call, in the heat of battle I let my passion and emotion get the better of me and as a result handled the situation poorly.”

Watch the footage, read the statement, and you will see that tennis is poorer for Williams’ actions.

Fast forward a day, Federer vs Djokovic, Federer up 2 sets to love and 2 points from a place in the final. Again check out the footage:

Contrast it to the Williams-Clijsters match. You see an absurd winner from a man who plays the game for all the right reasons in the right way. A true gentleman who has never been involved in scandal nor brought disrepute on the game.

Within 24 hours, there were 2 matches that, at the exact same point, showed the contrasts of sport. One shamed tennis, the other gained some redemption for the game.


  1. Roger Federer is the tennis world’s equivalent of AFL’s Chris Judd.
    Fed is my favourite and the only tennis player I watch. :)
    His racquet skills are exquisite and his hair isn’t that bad either.
    I cant wait to see how far his twin daughters will go in their sporting futures!

  2. infact i have just officailly decided to name my first born son;
    Andre FEDERER Darcy (insert surname)
    but that wont happen for like 12 years or something.

  3. Pamela Sherpa says

    I was amazed to see Serena play in the doubles finals the next day. So much for a fine!

    Yes, Federer reminds us what sportsmanship is and how wonderful is it to watch him play?

  4. I was too at first Pamela but then I realised that it’s a different event. It would be unfair on Venus and the fans who paid a small fortune to be there. I am hoping that a suspension will be enforced, possibly for the Aus Open.

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