The Serena debate

Peter Williams writes:

A champion athlete is always appreciated more if she or he is a champion person too.

That’s why we always loved Richie McCaw. Dame Valerie, Mahe Drysdale and Kane Williamson are all really, really good people as well as being among the best at their game.

Around the world we admire Roger Federer, Steph Curry and Mikaela Shiffrin.

But sport has always been infested with high achieving bad behavers. has often shown a tendency to join that group. On Sunday she went to top of the class.

Her tantrum was calculated, cynical and selfish.

She is the most amazing athlete of her generation. But she is more a John McEnroe in terms of behaviour than a Roger Federer.

Remember her solitary appearance in Auckland? Losing in the second round at the start of last year and then blaming the wind in what was one of the most ungracious media appearances you’re ever likely to see or read about.

Yes, she is the greatest woman tennis player of all time. Yes, she is still – after 20 years – the greatest attraction in the sport.

But with that status comes a responsibility.

A responsibility to be at least a half gracious human being.

Fair call.

And referees are sick of being blamed as Stuff reports:

The threat of tennis umpires refusing to officiate Serena Williams’ matches has been raised as the fallout to the ugly US Open final continues.

The Times reports discontent among the umpiring fraternity over the treatment of Carlos Ramos during and after the final where he issued superstar Williams a game penalty for her behaviour during her straight-sets loss to Japan’s Naomi Osaka.

Who wants to referee a game where you get pilloried on social media if you enforce the rules.

Subsequently, umpires were considering what action they could take with one suggestion being a refusal to officiate Williams matches until she apologises for vilifying Ramos and calling him a “liar” and a “thief”.

The umpires are wondering in a sport where prizemoney is massive, if the $740 standard daily fee for handling a match is worth the pressure, especially the high stakes involved in the final as last Sunday showed.

Hell that’s low.

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