I'm not that old, but I've been following tennis for a very significant portion of my life and I have never, ever, EVER seen anything like this.
The scene: Kim Clijsters vs Serena Williams. Clijsters up a set and leading 6-5 in the second. Williams serving. 15-30.
First serve - fault.
Second serve - foot fault.
Whether or not it actually was a foot fault is debatable, but Serena certainly didn't think it was. She marched to within six feet of the linesperson, started waving her racquet and saying something incomprehensible, very, very mad. Which is understandable, given as it was sort of an important point and all.
Up gets the linesperson and reports what was said to the umpire.
Out comes the tournament referee.
A conference. With shouting.
Serena Williams is defaulted. Kim Clijsters is through to the final.
I have never, ever, ever seen anything like it.
I don't know if it was a 'hey, you threatened to kill the linesperson' (which is what the linesperson reported) or a simple point penalty (Serena received a racquet abuse warning earlier in the match) which came at the worst possible time. But this was terrible. It was a shocking example of behaviour from Serena and a bizarre end to the match, and you know who I feel sorry for? Kim Clijsters. She had two match points and chances are she would have converted on one of them anyway, but this is not the way she wanted to win this match. This is not the way at all.
I'll be interested to see how this plays out in the media and what Serena has to say. I understand that she was angry but her behaviour was genuinely terrible and I think she should be extremely ashamed. I don't know if she deserved to lose the match because of it but if it was a point penalty I support it 100%. If that is the case, Serena will reap what she has sown.
One thing is certain, though. We are going to have a totally random winner of this US Open. Kim Clijsters, the comeback queen and Belgian sweetheart - will this brouhaha affect her? How will the crowd respond to her? And she'll be facing Danish teenager Caroline Wozniacki, who cut down Yanina Wickmayer three and three... will her defensive wall be enough to penetrate the defenses of Kim Possible.
But one thing is certain. Not one person in the world could have predicted today's events. Not even close.
US Open (Flushing Meadows)
Rafael Nadal def. Fernando Gonzalez, 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-2) 6-0
Kim Clijsters def. Serena Williams, 6-4 7-5
Caroline Wozniacki def. Yanina Wickmayer, 6-3 6-3
3 weeks ago