Serena, the not so serene

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The contempt that the player Thiem received because of Serena on behalf of the press and the organizers, aroused in social networks his aggressive past on the courts

Serena, the not so serene

Serena Williams. Many will think of her as not only one of the most successful women in the world of tennis but also as a strong maternal and feminine figure due to her impetus to question without shame when she sees an injustice that affects those who not only share her gender but her skin color.

Leer en español: Serena, la no tan serena

She is praised as a queen, an all-powerful warrior who despite living in a very sexist and racist world, we will never find her head down accepting aggression in silence. Not for nothing, her warming outfit for Roland Garros, which this weekend culminates, was celebrated throughout the world. Her white and black jacket, with the words "mother", "queen" and "champion", was seen by her followers as a sentence of her infinite greatness.

However, her empowering attire was quickly overshadowed in the third round of the French grand slam when he lost, in a highly agitated match, against her compatriot Sofía Kenin, who was only 20 years old. It was not the result itself that antagonized the winner of 23 individual grand slams, it was what happened just after, in the press conference.

The Austrian Dominic Thiem, current number four in the world ranking, was declaring in the main press room after his victory in the third round against the Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas. Everything seemed normal, until the earlier arrive of Serena, who was frustrated by her early departure from the French tournament. It is no secret to anyone that when a tennis player of such high stature is eliminated, whether in the first round or in the grand final, the first thing he or she wants to do is to leave the place to completely forget about the defeat.

According to the French newspaper L'Equipe, it was not Serena's fault but the organizers who, considering Williams a priority over Thiem, decided to evacuate him so that he could finish his statements in the secondary room. In statements translated by the BBC, Serena knew that Thiem was in the middle of her conference, so she told the organizers "put me anywhere, in a smaller room, but put me now".

The Austrian was forced to vacate the room to continue his statements in one place, although adequate to testify before the press, smaller than the main one. Thiem was quite annoyed when they told him he should leave. Although he managed to get comfortable in the other conference room, he did not want to continue with his statements and left quite angry.

On Sunday he went out to say that Serena has a "bad personality" and that her male counterparts, more specifically Nadal and Federer, would have had the decency to wait until the conference had ended naturally. However, after a while, he went out to say that he had already passed the episode and that he did not know exactly if it was the fault of Serena or the organizers of Roland Garros who gave in for fear of retaliation by the Williams.

The truth is that Serena has been receiving a lot of hatred in social networks for something that perhaps was not her own will. Many have come out in her defense, some with strong arguments as "the fault is exclusive of the organizers", others with quite infantile comments, like the famous actress Whoopi Goldberg in the program The View. She said that Thiem should "duck her head and let the queen pass", that "when we get to know him a king, he can refuse to give the main room to Queen Serena".

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However, the hatred that Serena has received is not free or based solely on the unfortunate episode of the French Open. Her impressive winning numbers in professional tennis are often overshadowed by her departures of squares in the matches themselves. Her most recent scandal was in the final of the US Open in 2018 when she called the chair umpire a thief, liar and sexist to sanction her for breaking the racket and receive instructions on her coach signs in the middle of the game, both offenses in tennis.

By insulting him so agitatedly, she received a third penalty, which was to automatically lose a game. The terrible thing about this was that the score was 3-5 and Osaka was a game of crowned champion of grand slam. This news was much commented on by both social networks and the media. Many came out in defense of Serena, arguing that the judges are not that strict with male players. Others justified the action of Judge Ramos, because "he does not have to be flexible with her".

In the semifinals of the same tournament, but in 2009, Serena had a similar incident with the authority, this time against a woman who threatened to force a tennis ball down her throat. Serena was contesting the passage to the final against Kim Clijsters, and her opponent was 30-15 up in the game that would see her winning. Serena was taking out but incurred a double fault, which caused the verbal attack on the judge. For the double fault, the game was 40-15 and verbal abuse, Clijsters won the set and with it, the game.

These are the two most unfortunate episodes that have triggered Serena's strong temper, but the list of "minor" incidents is long. Between breaking snowshoes for losing points and speaking badly to the judges for decisions that hurt her - sometimes with reason and sometimes not, like that infamous match against Capriati in 2004, also at the US Open - the American has a terrible reputation. All this baggage could be reflected in Thiem's early evacuation of his press conference to give Williams immediate space.


LatinAmerican Post | Pedro Vergara

Translated from "Serena, la no tan serena"

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