Serena Williams // U.S. Open 2009

Tennis phenom Serena Williams was fined over $82,000 a couple of weeks ago for an outburst this fall during the U.S. Open. And per her agreement with tennis officials, if she commits another major infraction in the next two years, she could be suspended from the event altogether.

In a blog entry posted to Global Grind, the 28-year-old pro tennis player tells her side of the story, with one major correction: she was fine $92,000 … not the $82,000 that’s being reported in the news. In the post, she says she paid $10k on site following the incident, adding that the $92,000 total fine was the biggest ever in the history of tennis. She also touched on why she blew up and talked about her own charities and her “$92k mission.” Serena writes:

Hey Guys!

As the world seems to know or for those who don’t I want to speak about my recently dubbed “outburst” and how I feel. I have recently been fined by the Grand Slam Committee of the ITF (International Tennis Federation) over 82 thousand dollars for getting mad and using the “F-bomb” at a line Judge. To clear things up FIRST I was NOT fined 82 thousand dollars. I was fined 92 thousand dollars! I paid 10 thousand dollars on site immediately after the U. S. Open. So for the record, I was fined $92,000 not $82,000! The biggest fine EVER in tennis.

Also for all those that don’t know, I felt incredibly bad, and miserable for losing my cool, and most importantly not representing the person I really am spiritually and the role model I want to be to my young fans. I have been a very feisty player all my life, but when the time came for me to be calm and cool, I did not exercise a mild temper. How I regret not being a better role model and person to all of my fans. I apologized to my fans and even wrote a personal letter to the lines woman with my apologies. She understood as she often witnesses this as it is not uncommon in my sport, or any other sport. She was extremely supportive and said that she did not think any further actions should be taken against me.

A few years ago in a most important match being watched my millions; I was blatantly cheated and robbed of a US Open title by yet another official. I was again on the wrong side of not one or two, but several other bad calls. This incident however changed tennis. Because of what was incorrectly done to me, the whole sport of tennis adapted new technology for a player to challenge the calls lines persons make if the player feels they were wronged. I was expected to take solace in the fact even though I lost the U.S Open title (a dream I’ve been working for since I was 2 years old). At least others won’t be wronged in the future. I am always happy for the next person. I always am. I received apologies from the USTA, the Lines Official, and the Head of the US Open. However I don’t recall EVER receiving a note, a phone call, a letter even a text from anyone at the Grand Slam Committee ITF apologizing about the wrong and disastrous call one of THEIR officials made.

When I was a teenager I was booed by an entire packed stadium at Indian Wells. In my new book “On the line” I talk about how I remember crying on every changeover in the towel. Praying and wishing I could lose and the match would just be done with. When the match was over I thanked the crowd those that cheered for me, and even those that did not. Looking back I am still amazed how I remained so calm and positive, and even managed to come out on top.

The fact is every professional athlete gets wronged in one way or another. And every athlete gets upset. We have been working, sacrificing, missing out on numerous things, things we will never get back or experience for the sake of our careers. For the sake of that one moment in time where we have a chance to shine through. Imagine for 20 years working day in, day out, sacrificing on countless things to get this job, that will make all your hard work and endless efforts worthwhile. Try to imagine having that promotion in one moment being taken away from you because of a slight over sight, by someone overseeing your work. 20 years gone away. Time to start over, dust yourself off and try again. You work harder make positive changes. It happens again.

“Dust yourself off” you say. “Try again.” You do just that. You work even harder than before, spend longer hours. Then it happens yet again. Another slight oversight. Well this is what happened to me, and to be honest I believe I reached my boiling point. After yet ANOTHER wrong call I began to wonder- Was I being “overlooked” or wrongly judged on purpose!??? Is this being done to keep me from achieving my best? Why does this keep happening at the same place?

Throughout my career I have remained calm. But I guess I finally reached my breaking point. A point I should have never allowed myself to get to. Everything seemed to have surfaced. As you know, losing my cool cost me over 92 thousand dollars. 92 thousand dollars! This is more than most people make in a year. 92 thousand dollars! Answer this: Why is it another player who also lost HIS cool not to a line judge – like I did – but to the main officiating judge- using the same “f word” why was HE only fined 10 thousand dollars. Was what I did 10 times worse than what he did?! There is another HE who was fined less than half of what I was fined after someone in his camp actually physically ATTACKED an official!!!! What about the famous HE who made arguing with officials “cool.” Cool for “MEN” I guess. Is it because they are all HE’s and not a SHE like me?

It is indeed a massive difference. Being American I guess the 1st amendment, freedom of speech, does not apply to a SHE in this case? In any event the Grand Slam Committee, ITF and its staff did not hesitate to call, send a note, text, nor write letters after this incident. Ironic is it not? I don’t mind being fined. If I did wrong I accept the repercussions. All I ask for is to be treated equal.

When I was fined the 92K, I asked to see if I could donate some of it to different schools, and programs I’m involved in. My request was denied. So, I decided to match the fine by raising money and donating an additional 92K to my 2nd school that I am opening up in Africa, as well as to schools that I am helping here in the United States. I also want to educate women about what I learned from this whole experience. How we as women are still treated as less than equal. I am going to turn this 92K into a positive!!! And I have decided to call it Serena’s 92K mission!!! Go to to learn more about my 92K mission.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams // U.S. Open 2009


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