No Apologies as Serena Tirade Shatters 9/11 Pledge

Serena Williams went into the U.S. Open final vowing to honor the victims of the September 11 attacks, but ended it in disgrace by refusing to apologize for an ugly tirade during her defeat to Samantha Stosur.

The American star had lost the first set 6-2 to the Australian and faced a break point in the opening game of the second when she unleashed a huge forehand which she greeted it with a loud "c'mon".

But Stosur hadn't even reached the ball and Greek umpire Eva Asderaki immediately penalized the three-time champion for "intentional hindrance".

The point -- and the game -- was awarded to Stosur.

"Aren't you the one who screwed me over last time?" Williams, who was eventually defeated 6-2, 6-3, bellowed at Asderaki, in an apparent reference to a similar incident in Doha in 2009.

At her post-match news conference, the 29-year-old flatly refused to apologize for her outburst which came two years after she was also docked a penalty point in her semi-final loss to Kim Clijsters for abusing a lineswoman.

That sanction came on match point and immediately condemned her to defeat.

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

Williams' rage had even continued at the changeover with her ongoing war of words with Asderaki picked up by courtside microphones.

"Don't even look at me," she shouted up at Asderaki. "If I see you in the corridor don't even walk past me... a code violation for expressing my opinion, we're in America... you're unattractive inside..."

Bizarrely, Williams admitted later that she may have confused the chair umpires.

During her infamous meltdown against Clijsters, the official was another blonde European, Sweden's Louise Engzell.

"I don't know. Maybe. Probably for sure," confessed Williams, who was hit with a code violation for the outburst.

"I just yelled, 'Come on'. It was a great shot. I hit it right in the sweet spot. It was the only good shot I hit. I was like, Whoo Hoo, so...

"But I don't think it had a big impact, because I think at the end she won pretty handily. She really played phenomenal and she deserved to be the champion."

Williams, who missed last year's tournament through injury and then battled a life-threatening illness, still came into the tournament as one of the favorites having won hard-court titles in Stanford and Toronto, where she had cruised past Stosur in the final.

"Six months ago I didn't think I would be standing here. I didn't think I would even be standing."

Williams' latest controversy came after she said she wanted to win the title on the day that the U.S. marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

"I definitely wanted to win because of 9/11 and everything that New Yorkers and America has been through. It didn't work out the way I planned."

Stosur shrugged off the controversy.

"I didn't really know what was going on. I was just there. I know about the rule but I have never had to deal with it before," she said.

Williams even launched an immediate damage-limitation exercise after the final by pulling up a chair next to Stosur.

"All of a sudden I turned around and she was right next to me, which is kind of unusual. She just said, 'How do you feel? Are you really excited? It's unbelievable,'" she said.

"It shows what a nice person she is and what a true champion she is, to be able to come over and congratulate your opponent I thought was pretty classy."

Sunday's incident may not be the end of the controversy, with officials meeting to decide whether or not Williams will face a sanction.

She was fined $82,500 for her outburst during her loss to Clijsters in 2009 and placed on a two-year Grand Slam probation.

Her fine could be increased to $175,000 and she was warned she could even face a US Open ban for a repeat offence.

Source: Agence France Presse

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