Wednesday, September 08, 2004

What a sham!

I'm all for point shaving, gambling on the sport you manage and searching for that competitive edge, but the hosing administered to Serena Williams in the U.S. Open quarterfinals last night was more than any corrupted person can handle.

For reasons unbeknownst to Serena, the viewing public and the line judge who ruled the ball in by a mile because, well, and this is the funny part, it was in by a mile and a half, chair umpire Mariana Alves silently overruled the call and awarded Jennifer Capriati the point. That gave Capriati, who I can't stand despite her being Italian, from New York and a party girl with a VH1 "Behind the Music" documentary just waiting to happen, the advantage in game 1 of the third set.

Serena protested to no avail. The hosing was already in place and sometimes you just can't fight The Man, even when The Man is a woman.

This umpire lady, Mariana Alves, sat on her high horse, in this case, her high chair and robbed Serena of a point she rightfully earned, not unlike the thousands of dollars that could be in electronic-transfer route to an obscure bank account in some remote part of a remote country that can be discovered only in the next installment of The Bourne Identity.

Granted, Serena played somewhat lousy, ok quite lousy, at times (57 unforced errors), but to have the match decided by some lady who's trained to have an acute sense of vision and not a potential bias toward a player is wrong.

Besides, Serena is only the second Williams sister to get shafted in a Grand Slam . . . this year. An umpire gave Venus' opponent a point off a deuce that Venus obviously won at Wimbledon. The announcers were lived the entire rest of the match. That umpire was kicked out of the tournament. Oooooooh, what a sanction! How about you dock him his pay for the day and suspend him for a while? These people get paid to do one thing: sit there. They're like Teamsters, only without the backing.

Why can't tennis have instant replay? Or a second umpire on the other side of the court?

The idea that tennis is still a "gentleman's" game is more preposterous now than ever before. The "gentlemen" who helped create that concept never played for a $1-million first-place prize.

Football has replay, basketball does, too. And since tennis is broadcast in many countries and those viewers can see clear as day the screwing of a player because of bad calls (Serena had three other incorrect calls go against her in that match), the tennis management, whoever they are (presumably old, white men who are friends with Masters ruler Hootie Johnson) needs to wake up and do something about their
sport before it becomes a farce.

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