The ever-diplomatic and always politically correct Roger Federer has finally answered what most tennis fans had in their mind: What does the greatest male tennis player of all time make of the US Open outburst of arguably the greatest female tennis player ever?
In a recent interview, Federer said that he felt Serena Williams went too far in her rant and should have stopped earlier. Though being the ultimate nice guy that he is, he did temper his observation by putting some of the blame of that fiasco at the door of umpire Carlos Ramos too. He said that Ramos too should have exercised a bit more caution so that the volatile situation had not worsened further.
But coming from Roger, his admission of Williams going too far is a significant statement. It underlines the fact that not just among a majority of the tennis viewing public all over the world, but also in the eyes of top players, including the one regarded as the best ever, Serena’s act was simply an ugly demonstration of power and a misplaced sense of entitlement.
There is no doubting Serena’s greatness as a tennis player. A case can also be made regarding her status as possibly the greatest ever. And it’s not just as a player, but as a cultural symbol too, she, along with her sister Venus, give strength and power to the women and men of many historically marginalised communities in the world.
But as a famous caped superhero would say, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Unfortunately, it seems like Serena did misuse that power. Umpire Carlos Ramos simply was performing his duty. He should not have had to be subjected to those kinds of false accusations and verbal abuse for merely doing his duty.
If at all, he deserves all the praise for holding up to the highest standards of umpiring on the face of extreme pressure from an extremely popular player on the court and a vociferous crowd baying for his blood.
The 2018 US Open rant of Serena Williams will forever remain as a blot in an otherwise illustrious career.Published 05 Nov 2018, 19:27 IST