Serena Williams's grand slam appearances have been accompanied by controversy, lately. She had several quiet years since her meltdown at the 2009 U.S. Open semifinal, where she verbally threatened a line judge for calling a foot fault. But then we had a similar scene at last year's U.S. Open final. Williams erupted at the umpire for handing her code violations for taking directions from her coach, who seemed to be sending her hand signals from the crowd. The tournament fined her $17,000 for the tirade that followed that incident.
At the French Open, it was her black catsuit outfit that caused a stir. French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli said Williams's fashion choice "went too far" and the tight fitting ensemble would not be welcome back. It seems a bit outdated now, but it's typical fashion for female tennis players to wear skirts or dresses during competition. The officials expect it. Williams clapped back at her critics by wearing a tutu at the U.S. Open a few days later. She also tried to explain that her catsuit was in part due to her health.
Now Williams is in trouble at Wimbledon. During a practice session at the All England Club on June 30, the tennis star reportedly smashed her racquet repeatedly and damaged the court. It'll come with a $10,000 fine.
“I haven’t really thought about it, to be honest,” Williams said Tuesday. “I just threw my racquet. I got fined.”
She made light of the incident by joking about her own physical strength.
“I mean, I guess if you could tell me, I would appreciate it," she joked. "I mean, I have always been an Avenger in my heart. Maybe I’m super strong, I don’t know.”
Williams is back in the semi-finals at Wimbledon after defeating fellow American Alison Riske in her quarterfinal match on Tuesday. Should Serena win this year's grass title, she will be tied with Margaret Court with a record 24 grand slams.
Perhaps she can get there without stoking another controversy.