'You're a Hater,' Serena Williams Tells U.S. Open Umpire

September 12, 2011 - 3:05 AM
US Open Tennis

Serena Williams looks at the championship trophy after losing the women's championship match to Samantha Stosur of Australia at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

NEW YORK (AP) — Feeling wronged again at the U.S. Open, Serena Williams couldn't let it go.

"That's totally not cool," she shouted at the umpire. Then, a few minutes later, she told her, "You're a hater, and you're just unattractive inside."

Problem was, the real trouble for Williams was standing on the other side of the court.

Sam Stosur pushed the 13-time Grand Slam champion all over Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday and took what she wanted, along with what the umpire gave her, winning the U.S. Open in a result that was as surprising for who won as how lopsided it was.

The ninth-seeded Australian won her first Grand Slam title with a 6-2, 6-3 dismantling of No. 28 Williams, the three-time U.S. Open champion who hadn't lost a set en route to the final.

She lost two quick ones to Stosur. And, for the second time in three years, Williams did not leave Flushing Meadows quietly.

This time, the drama began when Williams, down a set and facing break point in the first game of the second, flushed a forehand deep to Stosur's backhand side and screamed out 'C'mon!' — figuring she had hit a shot that Stosur wouldn't reach. But Stosur stretched out and got a racket on the ball and the umpire, Eva Asderaki, called Williams for a hindrance, awarding the point, and thus the game, to Stosur.

What followed was nowhere near as menacing as 2009, when Williams berated and brandished her racket at a referee who called a foot fault in her semifinal against Kim Clijsters.

But memorable nonetheless.

Williams went over to talk to Asderaki, saying, "I'm not giving her that game," then, "I promise you, that's not cool. That's totally not cool."

The fans, sitting on their hands as they watched an unexpected first-set flattening of the American, got riled up and so did Williams, breaking Stosur's serve on the next game, then holding her own serve for a 2-1 lead.

But on the next changeover, Williams took things up again with Asderaki and she made it personal.

"You're out of control," she said. "You're a hater, and you're just unattractive inside."

Then, a few moments later: "You're out of control." And, "Really, don't even look at me."

And as quickly as she had gained the momentum and the support of the crowd, they were gone, leaving Williams to explain and deflect — and wait to hear if there will be further consequences.

Asderaki issued a code violation warning for verbal abuse and the U.S. Tennis Association said officials would decide Monday whether Williams would be fined.

"I don't even remember what I said," Williams said. "It was just so intense out there. It's the final for me, and I was just ... I guess I'll see it on YouTube."

What she'll also see, if she watches long enough, is a rare example of a player who doesn't feel beaten before she even walks onto the court against Williams.

That's Stosur, a one-time doubles specialist, who has revamped her game over the past several years and moved her way into the top 10 in singles.

She became the first Australian woman to win a major championship since Evonne Goolagong Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980. Stosur received a text from the former player that read: "Twinkletoes, you finally have got what you deserved."

It's been building for a while, now. Stosur was the French Open runner-up last year, though maybe the most notable stat on her ledger coming into the final was her 2-4 record against Williams — not bad, all things considered.

"I knew I had to go out there and play well and actually do it," Stosur said. "But I think having those victories in the past, for sure, made me feel a little bit more comfortable."

Almost from the get-go on a cloudy day in Ashe Stadium, where Queen Latifah led an emotional rendition of the national anthem to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Stosur looked like the more comfortable player.

Williams sprayed groundstrokes long and wide, raising her hands in frustration, and also had trouble harnessing her powerful first serve, getting only 29 of 56 of them in.

Stosur, meanwhile, moved Williams from side to side and forced her into mistakes. The Aussie had 20 winners and 12 unforced errors — a virtually unbeatable combination — while Williams hit 19 winners against 25 unforced errors.

While Williams was dealing with the emotion of the call and the rift with the umpire, she was also wondering if Stosur, who joins Li Na and Petra Kvitova as first-time Grand Slam winners this year, would come down to earth.

"I thought, OK, at some point you could level out, because I know sometimes it happens," Williams said. "But I've played a couple Grand Slam finals where I never leveled out, so I definitely thought about it."

As was the case with Clijsters two years ago, Stosur was a confused bystander when Williams got into it with the referee.

But as was the case with Clijsters, Stosur didn't need any help. Even Williams agreed with that.

"I hit a winner but I guess it didn't count," she said when asked about the call in her on-court interview. "It wouldn't have mattered in the end. Sam played really well."

Williams, who made this run after missing the better part of a year with injuries stemming from the night last summer when she stepped on broken glass in a restaurant, has had her shining moments at the U.S. Open. She won in 1999, 2002 and 2008.

But she has an equal penchant for memorable losses.

In 2004, a poor call during her quarterfinal loss to Jennifer Capriati was cited as a main reason for the introduction of replay technology in tennis. Then the Clijsters match. Now this.

"It's just always something," said Williams' mother, Oracene Price. "And it seems to happen to us."