Gigi Fernandez Tennis

The Serena Debacle – My Humble Opinion


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I have received a lot of emails, chats on my website and texts from people asking me what I thought about the debacle at the US Open Women’s Final, so here are my thoughts and opinions.

1. Every coach coaches! It is common knowledge that it happens ALL THE TIME. Why pick on Serena when her coach was coaching during a Grand Slam final? She was not even looking at her coach when he gave her a meaningless signal. Perhaps coaching should be allowed at the Grand Slams. It already is at regular WTA tour events.

2. A coaching violation should not be part of the Code of Conduct. A Player has no control over their coach and should not be penalized within the Code of Conduct for that infraction. If we want to stop coaching, fine the coach instead. I promise you that will make it stop.

3. The racket abuse penalty was merited, but should have been the first infraction. Serena would not have come unglued because no points would have been taking off. I have had points taken away during my career so I know what that emotion feels like. Hard to explain what it’s like to feel like you are being penalized when you feel like you did nothing wrong. The heat of the moment creates very intense emotional reactions. I am with Serena on this one. I am not condoning bad behavior, but losing a game in this case was a bit extreme.

4. Male players constantly speak profanities to umpires and abuse them WAY more than Serena was without getting points taken away. Winning tennis matches is hard enough. We don’t need to make it harder by taking points and games away from players. Can you imagine a football team having a touchdown taken back because a player showed too much emotion on the field?

5. In the same tournament, a Male referee got off his chair to help a male player who had come unglued (Kyrgios) helping him overcome his emotion to win a match AND a male referee takes a game away from a female player in a Grand Slam final, inserting himself in the result and perhaps questionalble, affecting the outcome of the match. It’s time to look at the system and start to consider replacing officials with the Hawkeye Line Calling System (already tested during the World Team Tennis season with no lines people and just the chair umpire). Could tennis be played without ANY officials in the future?

6. Receiving a game violation is a HUGE penalty! I would like to know how many times it has happened at the Grand Slams or Master Series events in both tours the past year. My guess would be NONE. Why Serena and why during a Grand Slam Final. 

Serena is right… this would have never happened to a male player. For all we have done to “Come a long way, baby”, we still have a long way to go. 

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