Some players are fond of dropping or slamming their racquets to the ground (on the face so as to prevent real damage; oh, how angry they must be!), while others flat-out demolish their on-court weapons. Serena Williams is in the latter category. Here, she murders her axe after going down 2-1 in her quarterfinal match's deciding set yesterday against Sloane Stephens:
Serena was reportedly fined $1,500 for the racquet-abuse code violation, the largest sum charged to any female player at this Australian Open event. Conversely, Jerzy Janowicz was fined $2,500 for his outbursts at a (female) chair umpire before he ultimately defeated Somdev Devvarman.
Serena, previously 48-0 when she wins the first set in Melbourne, lost her cool and the match. But the upside at the time was that her aching back appeared to be better, at least for that moment. Working on adrenaline, most likely, she finally bowed out in battle, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Stephens was something short of steely to the end; in so many words, she held on.
Some may see this as evidence that female pros are, in the ill-advised words of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, "more unstable emotionally" than male pros. Here's his exchange with a reporter after losing to Roger Federer in a five-set quarterfinal match:
Q. Seems like very often in the last four or five years on the men's side it's been the top four seeds getting to the semifinals. Hasn't happened that much on the women's side.
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: In tennis, you know, you cannot lie. You cannot lie. If they are No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, it's because they deserve it and because they are the best players at the moment. That's it.
Q. Do you have any sense of why it's not that much on the women's side?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: You know, the girls, they are more unstable emotionally than us. I'm sure everybody will say it's true, even the girls (laughter). No? No, you don't think? But, I mean, it's just about hormones and all this stuff. We don't have all these bad things, so we are physically in a good shape every time, and you are not. That's it.
Ouch—sure, hormones. Back to Stephens: Here's her post-match interview on court, relaying to Rennae Stubbs her shock at winning. (She received 145 text messages—and counting—from friends and family members.) She got emotional in talking about beating Serena, her "idol," and speaks to whose poster she will adorn her wall with at home now:
Thoughts on Stephens' composure, and her chances against No. 1 Victoria Azarenka?
—Jonathan Scott (@jonscott9)