Tennis needs Serena


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At least she didn't threaten to shove a tennis ball down
anyone's f****** throat this time.

Serena Williams's latest meltdown, early in the second set
of her defeat to the red-hot Sam Stosur in the US Open final, will reignite the
debate over whether tennis really needs such unseemly histrionics.

Two years after she was kicked out of the tournament for abusing
a line judge (including the infamous quote at the top of the page) she embarked
on a bizarre, lengthy rant at umpire Eva Asderaki.

The Greek had
controversially penalised Serena for yelling "Come On!" during a
rally while facing a break point. Asderaki awarded the point to Stosur,
who consequently took the game.

reacted furiously, asking Asderaki: "Aren't you the one who screwed me over last
time? Are you coming after me? That is totally not cool." 

Apparently, Williams got Asderaki confused with Louise Engzell, with whom she had a
previous run-in

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The outburst might have been forgivable had she left it at
that, but as the next change of ends she had another pop, earning herself a code


ranted: "Don't
even look at me. You're a hater. You're very unattractive inside. I never
complain. Who would you do such a thing? You're punishing me for expressing my

If "expressing
my emotion" is a valid justification for misbehaviour, then please excuse
Tramlines while it punches a traffic warden.

It was
unseemly stuff from a player who claimed to have found a sense of perspective -
earlier in the week she told Mats Wilander she was taking tennis
"less seriously"
than before following a pulmonary embolism.

What's more, this was the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist
atrocities, and Serena tweeted before the match: "My Thoughts and prayers to all who lost loved
ones on 9-11. I know the entire country is with you today. I'm playing for you

You can't expect a professional to leave their competitive
edge in the locker room, but the occasion demanded a degree of decorum and
Serena failed.

It was the sort of whingeing, teenage pouting that makes
Serena so difficult to like, and that brought the following response to a
question about her 2009 disqualification: "That was like so long ago. I've died basically and come back and
nobody's really writing or thinking about that."

The saddest
thing about this is that it only cements Serena's position as the most hated
woman in tennis.

Here is one of
the greatest players ever to pick up a racket, a 13-time Grand Slam winner who beat
a life-threatening ailment to mount a stirring comeback.

A woman who
was ludicrously handed the 28-seed and proceeded to demolish the cream of
women's tennis.

If this was any
other player she would be a global heroine - yet few outside the US wanted to
see Williams triumph.

Serena is the
sport's most recognisable figure, its most provocative, and without question
the best player of the modern age.

Tennis without
her is like golf without a dominant Tiger Woods - rudderless, confusing,

Players win major
tournaments then disappear into obscurity, and get the number one ranking
without proving their crunch-time credentials.

validates the sport she will continue to dominate if she can stay fit. Tennis
needs her.

As for Stosur
- Trammers tips its cap to the Aussie, who becomes the third first-time Slam
winner of the year after Li Na and Petra Kvitova.

It just hopes
she can maintain this blistering form and become a perennial competitor, and a
dominant force in the game.

In fact,
Tramlines hopes she can become a bit more like Serena Williams.

- - -

Brace yourself Oliver Golding, winner of the boys'
singles title at Flushing Meadows.

If the 17-year-old
really kicks on, he can look forward to a decade of ridicule for only being the
fourth best in the world at a sport his country only cares about for two weeks
of the year.

"Code violation
for this? I expressed myself, we're in America last time I checked."
Serena Williams confuses freedom of expression with freedom to bellow at your
opponent mid-point.

to Sam Stoser. She played amazing! As for me next time :) #serenapower" Serena again, this time
showing Stosur so much respect she gets her name wrong.

Well, it's going to be a biggie. Novak
Djokovic v Rafael Nadal
, the men's singles final. Live at 21:00 UK time on Monday. After his
stunning back-from-the-dead semi-final win against Roger Federer, does the
Serbinator have enough left in the tank to take his third Slam of an incredible

Serena comes over all jocular:

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