Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Crown Victoria breaks down

I didn't get a chance to watch last night's US Open women's semifinals live, because I was watching my beloved Buckeyes lose yet another heart-breaker they should have won. But thanks to the DVR, I was able to catch up and just finished watching Serena "Crown Victoria" Williams lose her match to Kim Clijsters. Down a set and trailing the second set 5-6, Crown Victoria was serving at 15-30, and committed a double-fault for match point because of a somewhat ticky-tacky foot-fault call. At that point, Crown Victoria lost it and went on a paranoid rant that would have made Milton Bradley proud. She spent the next couple of minutes alternatively preparing to serve out match point, then stopping, screaming obscenities at the line judge who called the foot-fault, then preparing to serve again, then stopping and ranting at the line judge yet again. Predictably enough, Crown Victoria's tantrum practically forced the chair umpire to penalize her a point for unsportsmanlike behaviour. Game, set, match. Would Crown Victoria have been able to mount an epoch-making comeback when facing match point against a player who appeared to have her number? Highly improbable, but not impossible. Regrettably, Crown Victoria's antics make the question moot.

I've always supported Crown Victoria, even though she's a textbook example of the "Gracious winner, sore loser" corollary. She heaps effusive praise on opponents after she's defeated them, almost to a fault, but when she loses, she refuses to give opponents credit, instead saying things along the lines of, "She made a lot of lucky shots, and I made lots of errors." Being a somewhat sore loser does not a sports villain make... but even the biggest Crown Victoria apologist might have a tough time defending last night's meltdown. I'm not passing holier-than-thou judgment here. I may not be a professional athlete, but it doesn't take a professional athlete to understand that emotions and frustrations are brutally magnified in the heat of competition, especially when the stakes are high. That having been said, Serena's "Ugly American" moment cost her the match, and possibly a few fans.

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