Serena Williams gets $175,000 fine and two-year probation

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We have the final verdict on Serena Williams’ outburst in the US Open 2009 semifinal – the world No.1 has been fined $175,000 and put on probation for two years.

If she makes further major offences at a Grand Slam in the next two years, she will be suspended from the US Open in 2010, 2011 or 2012. If she makes no major offence during the period mentioned, her fine will be reduced to $82,500.

Williams had already been fined $10,500 for the misconduct which included an expletive-laced rant at the official. It is the biggest fine given to a women’s tennis player since record began in 1990.

The $175,000 fine includes the $10,500 penalty.


  1. Great photo to go with an article,Maria. It really symbolises how she can probably feel about her “punishment”.
    The fine is, oh gosh, no comment. Makes me laugh. Compare Wickermayer and Williams punishments – double standards shining through.
    Well, at least ITF showed us their true colours.

  2. I knew people would like my choice of the photo. :)True, there is no real suspension like in Wickmayer’s case and the fine is way smaller than speculated just days ago.

  3. I still think the fine is a bit too much. The issue’s been over been months now. I know she shouldn’t have swore, but doping and swearing are completely different things in my book. I’m not condoning Serena’s conduct, but her punishment is much harsher than what other players have gotten in the past, which I think is partly due to her fame and fortune, which I think is unfair.

    And I’m just wondering, don’t all players suspected of doping get suspended and then appeal? How is Wickmayer’s treatment different from any of the other dopers? Yes, maybe in comparison to Serena’s punishment, but these are 2 completely different scenarios, and the reason for Wickmayer’s success may ultimately be due to her using drugs (if found guilty), though I believe her (and typically hope players don’t use drugs).

  4. I don’t think she deserves it because NO AMOUNT OF MONEY or PROBATION, will make her change, some people here actually think that an apology is enough, for her actions and a true testament that she has learned her lesson really? If Hitler apologises to the Holocaust victims, is that enough? An apology is just words, and you can’t force people to change their actions. All this is a waste of publicity, and my time, now that I have to type this up. And the photo: she looks like she’s going to eat me alive… probably how that poor Asian woman felt, when she said she’s going to shove the ball down her throat. I wouldn’t like to be her friend in real life, anyhow.

  5. im sorry zuleika, but do you understand the meaning of probabtion? wheather she wants to or not, she has to change 🙂

    Alot of players swear and rant and brake things, i suppose not as badly as serena. azarenka will crack one day i bet, can’t wait 😀

  6. and serena would be the greatest to be friends with. good music, good style, friendly attitude – watch how lively she is in interviews (ellen, david letterman etc)

    ps; i havent said thank you in a while marija, thanks alot of your blog and all the great news, pictres and videos in brings. without your site, i would no where be so informed about tennis, you’ve opened so many doors for me

  7. I’m sorry Jacob, but probation is a trial period for two years only, notice the emphasis on trial. Sure, she probably won’t have long left afterwards, but that truly doesn’t change her personality. She will always want to kill us! 🙂 Well maybe not you.

    Probation is just a legal term for the strict monitor and supervision of behaviour. You think, she’ll really change? Why would she, she’s the ‘real world no.1, just the way she is’, right? Logically, she shouldn’t change and if you had watched the post match interview after the incident, she did not apologise, she said something like, ‘I don’t even remember, it was just a blur.’ You think she couldn’t remember? I think we all know she couldn’t really care less about her actions. I laughed at her public apology, because it came out directly from her publicist’s handbook, word for word.

  8. Of course the probation won’t do much with her attitude. First of all she can breach it by another display of a GROSS misconduct she can still get away with smaller offences. Therefore I think after Henin returns we may witness some curse words fly around and more. Also, if she commited another assault like that it will cost her anotherlaughable sum of money and there is on a possibility (!!!) not certainty of only one slam suspension ( I bet she would go for the French Open,hehehe). Her punishment is symbolic, $ITF is too wimpy to do something real but on the other hand if they did nothing it would make them look corrupt. As if we didn’t see that anyway. Ah well, star treatment, what can I say. Maybe poor Yanina regrets she hasnt told them something like that at least that would be worth that ridiculous long-term ban she got for what was a technical fault caused by a badly working software!

  9. I don’t have a problem with the fine, but I have two issues, 1)I want to see that lying, sorry sack of crap that is the line person to get a life time ban. 2)If Serena got this fine of $17,5000 and a two year probation also Wickmayer should get a million dollar fine and a life time probation for actually hitting a line judge, earlier in the year. I’m seeing a double standard and I’m not liking it.

  10. Carlos, no double standard there. Wickermayer was stripped for her winnings for all singles and doubles. So it did cost her and a lot. She will surely think twice in the future.

    Metty, this is an intelligent discussion so please go vent your anti-white racism somewhere else.

  11. I’m glad she got the fine and the probation. She’s supposed to be an influence to children around the world, so this should be a lesson to all kiddies around the globe…watch what you say because there are consequences. Lesson learned I hope, Serena.

  12. Zuleika;
    Weather or not she wants to change is a different matter; Serena is forced to change for the next 8 slams. If she doesn’t, she simply cannot play, and will face suspension? Correct? Serena has made three public apologies; I don’t understand your point. Bringing in holocaust victims is totally ridiculous, not to mention unnecessary. If Serena has made public apologies, obviously she means it, and you are not her, so why are you speaking on behalf of her? I personally don’t or am not, but making three apologies proves to show she does mean it. And you speak about her post match interview, this was 20 minutes later, she was scared, annoyed, frustrated and angry. I doubt this is publicity, as I’ve said before. The comments about her photo are very rude, what’s the point of saying something mean? If you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.

  13. This is a tennis forum not a political correctness forum, Jacob, so I don’t think anyone is obliged to be “nice”. We say what we think. I understand you’re annoyed because you are her fan but not everybody is and we’re just expressing our opinions which is perfectly fine. Well, except for metty of course.

  14. I think your right. Opinions are fine, I’m happy with opinions, I like them very much, what I dont like is when people bully

  15. Ms. Marine, you are right Wickmayer did get stripped of her earnings singles and doubles and her WTA points singles and doubles for that tournament. I just think hitting someone is far worse offense than insulting them. Wickmayer’s punishment seems light compare to Serena’s.

  16. I totally understand your point Jacob, I think I’d be that mad, agressive, expressive, aggravated, dejected, adamant, resolute and conclusive too, if anyone attacked, bullied, and made nasty, nasty, nasty comments about Dina.

    It’s funny though because, if I may say, you are being hypocritical in concluding, the same way that you have alleged against me, that she really means it. Are you Serena, Jacob, from what I’ve known about you, I don’t think so, so what makes you so resolute and conclusive that she really meant it? But I understand the concept of idolisation, where we all want our idols to be perfect and justified, and whilst I am sure that we can find flaws in our own respective idols, I don’t think it should come to a point, where everything we assert is entirely speculative.

    The Holocaust allusion, was actually to draw parallels with the fact that just because you say sorry, there is no reason to conclude that you actually are. For instance, we’ve known Williams, as brilliant as a player she is, to have been sarcastic and nasty to other players, specifically Dina and the WO.1 contention. I don’t care if she meant it or not, all I care is probation is a waste of time, because it is generally ineffectual.

    I respect Serena as a player, and definetely not a personality in the same way that I adore Marat as a fiesty competitor and not a smoking boozer.

    To Marine: God I love objectivity!

  17. Lilly, I don’t think the fine is too harsh. $1 million would have been. And there is true to what you’re saying, doping and swearing are not the same.

    Zuleika, I believe Serena sincerely apologised, but I can picture her repeating the same type of incident.

    Jacob, just a reminder – the only thing you have to do is die. I respect Serena for her undisputably amazing tennis career, but she’s not the type of person I choose for my friend. Thank you for all the praise, Jacob! 🙂 Just as much you like me as a blogger I like you as a reader and participant here. 😉

    Marine, yes, that is an interesting detail, the 2-year-probation is for big offenses only. Still, I don’t think the fine is small.

    Metty, I deleted your comment, it was too stupid and inappropriate.

    Carlos, good point, has me thinking! And yes, when you compare, Serena’s offense is lighter and she got a harsher punishment, I would say. Marine, why do you think losing just your points from one tournament for a greater offense is a worse fine?

  18. I believe the Wickmayer/Serena comparisons are very silly. Potential doping and swearing are different offenses, and are handled differently. Why should Serena be fined 1million for something that has happened many times over and not received no where near the same publicity (McEnroe/Connors, remember those guys?) as before? Also, Wickmayer ACTUALLY HIT a linesperson INTENTIALLY this season, swore her head off and acted like a huge brat on roid rage when things didn’t go her way, when Serena vented frustration and swore at a linesperson (not as severe as McEnroe or Conners ever did, even in slams) when things didn’t go her way (on a dubious call at a slam THAT HAS CHEATED HER BEFORE). This double standard is annoying and proves that there are tennis fans who are upset that Serena is on top of the tour right now for no real reason. What if it was a lower ranked player in that position, should they’ve been fined so high when they probably don’t even make 1million a year? You can’t fine her because “she’s Serena, she has money”, it has to be fair with the crime.

    And those who think that probation isn’t serious because she can get away with smaller offenses, what “smaller offenses” has Serena done in the past to be heavily fined and investigated? Oh yeah, nothing.

  19. read what jacob said before and you’ll see that he already mentioned he could seem hypocritical by saying what he said. stop isolating him, what is the point of your above reply accept for doing so?

  20. Mysterious names…
    multiple cyber-identities? Oh the joy of anonymity and expression on the internet. Where’s Jacob, I wonder?

  21. My fellow Aussies seem to agree with me, well all except for one person on this blog.

    “We are disgusted that a player who launched a bitter and malicious attack on a lineswoman could escape with a relatively meager fine,” one Australian official told The Courier Mail and The Daily Telegraph. “What sort of message does this send when we are trying to impose high standards of discipline on the next generation of Australian stars?”

    [link expired]

    Isn’t that interesting considering how much Sydney hearts Serena?

  22. i think “ama” is agreeing with you. american music awards perhaps? niki has been here before, i’m friends with him on facebook 😀

    No, i don’t need to create cyber identities, espeically to prove a point to someone i don’t even know, nor care to. espeically after you called me and half the readers of this blog racist!

  23. LOL.
    “No, i don’t need to create cyber identities, espeically to prove a point to someone i don’t even know, nor care to. espeically after you called me and half the readers of this blog racist!” Was that meant to offend me Jacob?

  24. Oh just before I say something else, but that doesn’t matter because since I have called practically everyone a racist, because I’m just weird and probably not caucasian myself, my opinion is meticulously analysed for negative or incriminating connotations, vilified and discredited, but my point is, without further prolonging this enjabment is to apologise to Marija and her blog, which does not need further spamming, by me only and no one else, because I’m weird and my opinion doesn’t count thinks Jacob and his fan club.

    Funny Jacob, I never recall calling you a racist. I defended Serena because like any other sane person would, saw that to say someone is disgusting is horrible and possibly racist, but then everyone jumped the wagon, wait no, you did first, and attacked my comment, saying that I thought bb was a racist, so then bb, followed you because who wouldn’t, and furthermore attacked me, without actually reading my commment. So in other words, you guys are welcome to vilify me, it doesn’t really matter, because Christmas will come early, and you will never ever, have to hear of me again. Happy now? I am too.

  25. Thanks for such a great website over the years Marija, I wish it all the best of luck and hope it further expands in the future.

    I really liked this blog because of its wide readership and professionalism from the content to the layout to the comments, until I posted one that was fairly innocuous and objective which turned personal against me. I do not like it when there are personal attacks in blogs, I thought I was free from social networking dilemmas, but apparently not.

  26. I think comparison of Wickermayer and Serena is quite right thinking of the effectiveness of their punishment. Wickermayer does earn substantially less than Serena therefore when all singles and doubles earnings were taken away it hurt her and therefore was effective. On the other hand Serena got a fine which is barely 1% of her annual earnings for 2009. How effective do you think that was…?
    Her biggest punishment cant be expressed in numbers (yet) and that is a damaged reputation. As Henin’s hand incident this will be also mentioned over the years.

  27. Ms Marine good points, but Wickmayer who actually did hit someone did not had to apologize publicly like Serena; you may say what is the big deal? I say that Serena had to apologize for a terrible call made by a line judge and for the line judge LYING about the incident. Although I did not condone Serena’s behavior she had a reason to be upset. You are right Serena’s reputation is damaged while Wickmayer’s incident is being swept under the rug, barely had news coverage. Also Wickmayer is not faced with the possibility of being suspended for a grand slam if she commits a similar incident.

    The WTA has to make the fines steeper. Here in the U.S. David Beckham was fine a whopping $1,000 by the MLS for an incident earlier in the year, which is beyond ridiculous.

  28. Ella, refering to “smaller offences”, I want to say that a two-year probation shouldn’t be a difficult thing to handle for Serena. That could actually be seen as a compliment. Yeah, doping and swearing shouldn’t be compared, but Serena’s swearing and Yanina’s hitting can be compared, that’s what we’re discussing.

    Carlos, I like your point. Good comparison. Maybe someone will prove us wrong, but having all the facts in mind, Yanina should have got a tougher punishment, or Serena a lighter one.

    Zuleika, your comments have always been very welcome on this blog. Even if some people don’t agree with you, you always offer a thorough explanation of your viewpoint and back it up. I don’t think you should stop participating here because some of your statements triggered others to insult you. Imagine if I had stopped blogging when people called me various names and insulted me? Frankly, it happened only on a couple of occasions, and was totally unconstructive, but still, it’s not pleasurable. However, I knew who I was, and I didn’t let that affect me. If it means anything to you, as the only author of this blog, I am warmly inviting you to continue your participation here. I hope that my support will make you feel better. As for the question of racism, I really can’t enter such discussions, because I feel somehow distant from them, probably because the issue is not so prominent here where I live, and I don’t have a real feeling for it. Even though I do understand the problem.

  29. Marine, you are comparing effectiveness of punishments but not the actual crimes committed? How is what Yanina did less severe than what Serena did? Yanina swore her head off, smashed her raquet and balls several times over the fence, received several code violations and was finally defaulted early in the second set when she struck a ball so hard it injured a lineswoman, when Serena only yelled and cursed at one. Is it because Serena is #1 and at a slam that it matters? and Yanina was at a smaller tourny so it can be swept under the rug? Also, Yanina was not fined for attacking a linesperson, her punishment was taking away prize money according to ITF rules already in place, that’s not the definition of a fine. Serena was already fined the maximum by the USTA for the match default, and she was FURTHER INVESTIGATED for a heavier fine by the Grand Slam committee, not the ITF. The ITF took away Yanina’s earnings with no fine for a stronger offense-how is that equal? The fact that Wickmayer earns less is already the reason why the rule is to take away prize money for DEFAULTS, and not actual behaviour-she was not fined for injuring the woman, only lost prize money because she was defaulted for being a brat, that’s her fault, not the ITF’s (she was not “further investigated” by ITF like Serena was with the Grand Slam committee).
    Also, the Flemish anti-doping committee banned Yanina, not the ITF, so if you are only comparing her doping ban with Serena’s outburst, that is a completely off comparison because they were dealt with by different committees.

  30. Also Marine, you might find this excerpt useful, from the Associated Press:

    “Williams’ outburst drew a $10,000 fine from the U.S. Tennis Association in September — the maximum onsite penalty a tennis player can face. But because it happened at a Grand Slam tournament, Babcock was charged with investigating whether further punishment was merited.

    He concluded that Williams violated the “major offense” rule for “aggravated behavior.” The Grand Slam committee — with one representative from each of the sport’s four major championships, including USTA president Lucy Garvin — approved his decision Saturday.

    “As a voting member of the Grand Slam committee, the USTA agrees with the additional penalties levied against Serena Williams for her on-court behavior during her semifinal match at the 2009 U.S. Open,” the USTA said in a statement released to the AP. “The USTA looks forward to Ms. Williams competing in the 2010 US Open.”

    Babcock said a “major offense” under Grand Slam rules is “any conduct that is determined to be the ‘major offense’ of ‘aggravated behavior’ or ‘conduct detrimental to the game.”‘ There is no specific definition of what sort of actions constitute a “major offense.”

    He said the highest possible fine that Williams could face — $175,000, if she violates her Grand Slam probation — was chosen because it is the difference in winnings between reaching the quarterfinals and semifinals at the U.S. Open. The $10,000 Williams already was docked by the USTA will be counted toward that total; that’s why she is paying half of $165,000 now.”

  31. Ella, under the rules of ITF she could have been legitimately stripped of all of the price money or suspended. Back in the day John McEnroe also earned ban from Australian Open and also 2 months suspension for verbal assaults against the judges. So this type of punishment actually does fit the crime and it is no precedent,I was used before.

  32. I think the effectiveness of the punishment is the key factor when putting them in place. When you think about it, why a punishments are given? In order to make a player stop and think and prevent the bad conduct in the future.
    Therefore if a player commits an offence their punishment should be harsh enough to make them change their ways. If the punishments are too light and symbolic then there’s no real point putting any in place. Because once a player earns enough not to be hurt by them they’re just going to carry on behaving badly. John McEnroe is a shining example, sadly enough he built his marketing strategy on his awful approach of the on court official. And he was the reason why authorities had to re-think the harshness of the punishment. Serena, Yanina and others who can’t handle their aggression at times show the tennis authorities they need to think again.

  33. I still love your site Marija, so I will still participate but I hope only when I don’t get spammed by insults, perhaps I’ll try to be more politically correct.

  34. Thank you for coming back, Zuleika. I’m glad you will stay around.

    For a start, just have fun and try your luck at the contest. 🙂

  35. Marija you come across as a racist,I think you were hoping for an outright ban but Serena has never done this to the linejudges but has been a victim at Roland Garros and many times at the USA OPEN.Kim was gifted that slam and next year will not bring her what she is hoping for.
    Serena will triumph many times next year and will distance herself from her peers.

  36. 3 years removed from the situation and one from US OPEN 2011, I think most of you are absolutely ridiculous. There are about 243254 reasons to look at Serena as a role model. If you can’t see that then your truly are ignorant and idiotic.

    Just because you don’t like Serena does not mean that every last bit of her is despicable. In a glorious career, her US OPEN meltdowns are but blemishes on one of the greatest sports resumes ever.

    And I laugh at how ridiculous it is that mentioning race has somehow become taboo. Trust me. It still exists. And very much so in tennis culture. You can not like Serena and not be racist. Anywho who would argue otherwise is a fool. But anyone who would argue that race is not a component of the unfair treatment she has received over the years is an even bigger fool; a complete idiot.


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