People's sent responses to ESPN about the Serena-Justine match
Some different fan reactions:
Thursday, June 5
Jeers and cheers
You've written in from all over the United States and world regarding the behavior in the French Open semifinal where Serena Williams lost to Justine Henin-Hardenne 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. Here's some of what's on your mind:
Hate the French
What was the point of the French crowd booing Serena? What did she do or say to elicit that distasteful response. Just another reason to *HATE* the French!
Kevin, Virginia Beach
Why didn't American tennis players boycott the French Open to show disdain for their stand against America in the war with Iraq? The jeers at Serena shows their true colors -- bad-mannered and rude.
Sherry Lummus, Lagrange
Considering the attitude of the French toward America and Americans, why would any American have even participated in the French Open? If I were Andre Agassi or any of the other Americans, I would not have gone in the first place.
Matt Norling, Yakima, Wash.
I just want to say that I was disgusted with the French crowd how they treated Serena Williams in the semifinal. She didn't deserve that hostility, all the calls she questioned were right. I truly believe it is because she is from the USA, I am sure she wouldn't get that kind of treatment in Canada.
Sheila Shoesmith, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Being that the crowd behavior was so against Serena, why doesn't the American public do something about it? Or why don't the American players boycott the event? I think what Richard Senior was saying about racism is true and that it was proven today in the match against Serena. But grant you the American public will not stand behind Serena or Venus because they are black and because they are not a Monica, Lindsay or Jennifer. It was proven before in Indian Wells where Serena was booed by her own countrymen. Never before has this happened to other players. Their fellow men are always behind them. But in my book Serena and Venus are always winners.
Jayson Lloyd, Jamaica
I was so appalled with the behavior of the fans during Serena-Justine's match, and Justine's comment was "well that's tennis." Well, that is not tennis and such behavior is totally unacceptable. A class player would have commented differently. I have always admired the Williams' sisters because of their classy behavior, and sensitive nature even in response to negative statements. My hat is off to their mother who raised such incredible girls. What a CLASS ACT!!
Sherrie Donaway, Houston
More of a comment, but since the official French Open Web site does not have their feedback section operational, (with good reason!) I need to vent. I have just finished watching an incredible match, between two extremely gifted players, tainted due to the most unsportsmanlike behavior of any crowd I have ever witnessed. I am not a Serena fan -- mainly due to the fact I usually pull for the underdog -- but the treatment she received in Paris today was disgusting at best. The city she loves so much is probably no longer dear to her heart. The French should be ashamed of themselves and learn tennis etiquette. Class, of course, cannot be taught. It is inherent.
Linda, Greenville, S.C.
What's the problem?
I don't understand the complaining over the fan atmosphere at the Henin/Williams match. Come on, this is sport and sport is supposed to excite the audience. Please stop being so haughty.
Why the anti-Belgian bias in your coverage of the French Open? In the first women's semi match, you harped on and on about a net cord that happened at 40-love as the "turning point" of the match. It was still 40-15! Clijsters did an incredible job of turning the match around winning 9 out of 10 of the last games. Then in the second semi, you got on the crowd because they were supporting Henin-Hardenne -- the huge underdog? You compared it to a Davis Cup match. They applauded Serena's points, as well -- if not quite as loudly. Belgium is rather close to Paris (the Germans have proved that time and again), of course the crowd was going to be pro-Justine. It was a great match between a champion and a more than worthy challenger. Leave off with the excuses and cover the tennis.
Sven Pride, St. Petersburg, Russia
Although I think the booing at the end of the match was out of line, don't you think that the underdogs are always favored, especially when they are against someone so good? I remember Steffi (Graf) and Martina (Navratilova) used to have to fight the crowds all the time when they dominated. Isn't that part of the package when you are just so good?
Marie Jensen, Chicago, Illinois
Why does everyone feel sorry for the way the French Open crowd was against Serena Williams? Is it simply because she is American? Have we all forgotten that Martina Hingis was treated far, far worse during the final she lost against Steffi Graf? Yes, Hingis behaved poorly on court, which contributed to the crowd's vitriol toward her, but the crowd was against her from the start.
Neil Tejano, Chicago, Ill.
Do Americans find it normal that Serena reacts like this when she loses a match??? That the public was against her is very normal. The attitude from Serena is disgusting. Did Hénin beat me??? I thought I beat myself. That was she said after the last defeat. Now it's the public who beat her. She's a very little champion!!!
Gijsels Marc, Antwerp, Belgium
In today's women's semifinal match between Serena Williams and Justine Henin-Hardenne, when Justine raised her hand to signal an unreadiness to receive the serve, shouldn't she have owned up to it? Although Serena won the point, I thought it was very poor sportsmanship for Justine not to speak up on that point. It may not have changed the outcome of the match, but it certainly would have shown her to be honest. I have always supported Justine and enjoyed her level of play, but her quest to "win at any cost" including, skirting the truth was disappointing today.
Let's hope this was her excitement of being where she was, and not an true reflection of who she truly is.
Dale Leigh, San Francisco
Pathetic. Blame the crowd for the loss, but Serena's poor sportsmanship after the match shows her true colors as a graceless sore loser. Bravo for Henin!
Matt Melander, St. Louis
In the few moments since Serena Williams was upset in the French Open I have read a number of articles about how the crowd was rude to her. Not a single one of these articles even mentions how RUDE Serena was to the French prior to the event. The mocking accent she used as she said "We don't want to play in the war; we want to make clothes."
I never want to encourage poor sportspersonship, but it is true that one reaps what they sow. Maybe Serena will think before she insults an entire culture in the future.
Rick Scull, Washington, DC
Do you suppose part of Serena Williams' loss to Justine Henin-Hardenne was due to her constantly tooting her own horn and thus, putting enormous pressure on herself? Wouldn't we prefer to see a loser of a match graciously congratulate the winner and admit that a player may have just plain outshot them. I think her constant comments on how her opponents don't beat her, she beats herself, sound so self-centered and egotistical. Justine deserved this win!!!
Donna Aniol, Rhinelander
I agree with Serena Williams in that she was disappointed in Justine Henin for lying. It was obvious during Serena's serve that Justine held her hand up, but because Serena missed it, Justine lied and denied doing that. It may just be her competitive spirit, but I thought it was the worst gamesmanship I've seen in a long time on the Belgian's part.
I'd like to comment that Justine Henin-Hardenne should be held accountable for her behavior in the match with Serena. I believe Serena was upset with Justine at the handshake because Justine knew darn well she had put her hand up in the middle of Serena's serve, and showed that she was willing to do whatever it took to beat Serena, even if that meant being a poor sport. She should have allowed Serena to start her serve over, but instead forced a second serve and further inflamed the crowd against Serena.
Joshua Miller, Nashville/USA
Why didn't the officials stop it?
What I just saw in a match between Serena and her opponent in terms of reaction from the crowd was absolutely disgusting. How can a referee in a Grand Slam match allow this type of behavior from the crowd? Even a NY crowd is better behaved.
Robert Keller, Chicago, Ill.
Why was there so much rudeness from the French toward Serena and why was it allowed? Serena is and will always be one of the best tennis players. She showed class, which is something that the "French Crowd" lacked in the game against Henin. The comment made by Henin that Serena should give someone else a chance is poor sportsmanship coming from Henin. There is no such thing as giving someone else a chance when it comes to sports.?!? Who the hell does that?!? You play to win! Henin just got lucky ...
Patricia Burau, Port Hueneme, Calif.
Following Serena Williams's loss, Serena, her mother and commentators all criticized the crowd for their lack of etiquette in cheering against Serena at inappropriate times. While I happen to agree with them, how can this be prevented?
It seems to me that the best way to do so would be for the crowd favorite (in this case Henin-Hardenne) to have signaled the crowd to stop cheering at such times. But if this had been the U.S. Open, does anyone really think Serena would have done so? (Perhaps we'll find out in September.)
Matthew Weidner, New York, NY
After looking at the women's second semifinal at the French Open between Serena and Justine, I have become very concerned about the officiating. It is my impression that a LOT MORE could of been done by the chair umpire in controlling the crowd in the match, especially during the final third set. It was disgraceful and unfortunate, not to mention disgusting. I felt he let the crowd's behavior get way out of control. As of this moment, I don't personally care to even look at the women's final on Saturday.
I would like to know if there is anything that can be done to prevent such an occurrence from ever happening.
Ricardo Vincent, Huntsville
Tennis is Life.
Wimbledon 00, 01, 05, 07, 08
US Open 00, 01