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In this latest board war, as usual many of us seem to have gone to the absolute extremes, Im just asking if there is not a middle ground here cooler heads can prevail, some sort of consensus can form...anyway...

Here is my position

1. Henin in my fave active player and as such Im absolutely thrilled to see her win RG, it was a fine thing to see, and I was rooting for her all the way! :)

2. I think Henin's actions have been blown out of all proportion in the semi final, and that most of the criticisms of her that Ive read have been unjustified.

3. I think large sections of the crowd in the semi final went WAY to far...they treated Serena extremely badly and Williams fans and Serena herself have every right to be angry and upset about it. I thought Serena's defiant wave to the crowd at the end took a lot of guts. :)


Too often we feel we have to pick one side or the other and stick rigidly to that position, but it doesn't have to be like that.
 

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1> I like Henin however I would not say she is one of my favorite players, but I do support her and like to see her do well. I'm dissapointed for Kim, who I think was playing badly today. I just hope that Kim can win a GS some time later in the year.

2> I think I have to give Justine the benefit of the doubt. I saw the match again this morning, I believe Serena could have stopped serve. I could be wrong however because I was concentrating on Henin not Williams. Also Henin may not have heard the conversation between Dias and Williams. If she did then she should have said something. We have to give her the benefit of the doubt.

3> The crowd were appauling, its not the worse crowd I have ever seen, and I think to some extent it did influence the result of the match. However WE DO NOT KNOW THIS! Henin just seemed a lot fresher after 4-2.
 

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By and large, I would agree; Henin fans have to accept that the crowd's behaviour did cross the line and had an adverse effect on Serena towards the end of the match, Williams fans have to accept that Henin did not employ gamesmanship or cheat to win the match. It's a two-way deal.

It'll be interesting to see, however, if there is a recurrent feud when the two next play each other, which could quite possibly be on American hardcourts over the summer. The U.S. crowd's reaction to Henin will be an intriguing gauge of how much they were affected by the French crowd's behaviour to Serena. Mind you, I don't think the Williamses care that much about their opponents to let grudges lie, and considering that Serena will most likely run out an easy winner when they play each other on a faster surface she shouldn't have much to complain about.
 

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Chris Ba, middle ground DOES exist. Posters such as myself DO exist who like both Justine and Serena, as well as Kim, yet who do not regard any one of them to be a human being free of human flaws. Just like the rest of humanity.

Out in the world, the middle ground on this preposterously overblown story is HUGE. On this message board, it is nearly invisible.
 

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Well, to be honest WTAWorld has never been a focal point of human sanity or reason. This is a highly pressurised environment, where common sense and objectivity are scattered far and wide amid bias and stupidity like ashen autumn leaves scattered afar by a radioactive breeze of negative feeling.

Sorry to wax lyrical, but I have been on here an awful long time.
 

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Too true; of course, that's because people have the freedom to say what they want without being rude to someone's face, only to their username. And there's much less consideration and thought that goes into an internet post than there is to writing a letter, hence you get very direct and forthright views that haven't been watered down in any way.
 

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The middleground outside of the board is indeed huge and the press are moving on and asking more interesting questions about what makes players popular and what has happened to the gap between the other players and the sisters.
The middle ground here might be stronger if people reflected on how fast the serving incident was. the noise which made it impossible for anyone to hold an effective inquest at the time and the nature of hand signals which are momentary and may or may not be registered by either of the players or the umpire. Serena fans might feel better if they counted the number of other first serves Serena banged into the net at that period of the match - they might find it more useful to worry about Serena's serve. If there is a culprit they should complain that the umpire not only missed a possible let but failed to quieten the crowd and protect Serena in the way she deserved. Indeed it was his job to call any let. It was his job to control the crowd so that Serena was not afraid of querying his decisions. It was him that set the crowd off by calling balls out unconvincingly and it was him that failed to ensure Serena could serve in relative peace.

Unfortunately I don't think the problem will go away. I am waiting for the first player to stick their hand up and try and create a let when they see a Serena first serve that looks like going over the net. That will produce some contradictory claims. Serena fans may be happy in 4 weeks but they may not. French crowds will remember the match, Oracene's words and Serena's claims and will probably be as bad again next year.
 

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There is a middle ground ...at least for me. Venus and Serena are my #1 favs but I also like and support other players including Henin and Kim and as of late J. Cap. I was somewhat dissappointed in Justine but I do realize 1)people make mistakes 2)you win some you loose some 3) even Serena said it wasn't the turning point of the match. and most of all 4) LIFE Does go on

soooo of course next time they meet I want Serena to get her revenge :) But I'm still quite happy for Justine.
 

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Chris Ba, I believe there are a great many members of this board who are in the middle ground. I am one of them.

There is controversy in every sport. I don't fault Justine for the crowd's behavior. The umpire should have suspended play. I understand both sides of the hand raising incident. I don't believe Justine cheated, however. Considering the tension at that point in the match, the umpire would have been wise to let Serena have the first serve again or at the very least specifically ask Justine if her hand was, indeed, up. I do remember a very similar circumstance earlier in the match where Serena wasn't ready and Justine repeated her first serve.

I think Serena is a tremendous talent. But, her clay court game was not at the same level this year as it was when she became last year's French champion. She fought and competed well in the semi final. But, she was not the better player that day despite her maltreatment by the crowd.

The stats show that Justine was the best clay courter this season and her play bore that out. The crowd's bias in her favour was evident in several matches, including her win over Chanda and today in the final. I expect most crowds to urge a player on if the gap grows too wide because they want to see more tennis. They didn't do that with Chanda. She lost 2 and 3. They barely encouraged Kim in the finals today. I still found the final to be entertaining because Justine was playing such beautiful tennis. I was also expecting Kim to pick up her game because she is normally a slow starter. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Justine's win was anticlimatic and tainted. But, she emerged the victor and deserves to be recognized.

I like tennis so much that I want to participate more on this board. I hope we can all find a way to have fun while cheering for the best performance from all of the players.
 

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There is one certain way for an umpire to quiet a crowd that yells in between a first and second serve on a consistent basis: Award the server two serves. Once the crowd gets the idea that their catcalling hurts the player they are cheering for you can bet the calls inbetween serves will cease.
 

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Well, Justine DID display some gamesmanship when she disputed the chair's call and stopped play to make him go and LOOK at the mark to verify it was out, and with the score 4-2 30-0 Serena, She put her hand up AFTER Serena had began her service motion, which disrupted Serena's shot. Then She acted innocent when Serena pointed this out. On the next serve the crowd stayed noisy, while the chair did not even request that they be quiet.

These were BOTH unsportsmanlike.

However, Two points does not alone win or lose a match. Serena faced a more hostile crowd at IW and prevailed. Even in the USA, Serena is not the favored played in matches most of the time and she prevails.

Truth is that Justine played an excellent match vs Serena, especially in the first set.
 

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Besides the omnipresent "what role does race play" thing that comes up alot in any controversy involving the W/S, IC other reasons why there's not. Indeed the Hendoubitable one is correct that BB's about many things are "free fire zones" (one reason I've upbraided K a couple of times for the selective censorship on the "Schett and Co." boards). But there's more: like Monica, Juju has an unwanted "sympathy card" (substitute the "size issue", loss of her mother, and creepy father for Parche's actions). So even without the "race card", people either are or aren't gonna say "isn't it wonderful that inspite of all that...". (Maybe some of the many Belgians here can comment on whether Kimmie inspires anything like the level of passionate devotion there that Juju does).
 

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What's obvious is, if you are a Williams supporter, you thought the crowd outrageous. If a Henin supporter, you thought it rowdy, but you've seen worse. Remember, everybody in tennis gets booed sometimes.

At Miami, Seles got booed that time she lost 0 and 0 to Hingis. Monica didn't make a big deal out of it. But if the poster girl for fairness gets booed, why not Serena, or Venus or any player who displeases the crowd? Others have had to live with it. Serena can soldier on, too.
 

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Accusing the French Open crowd of tennis ignorance because they whistle and boo players is like accusing the La Scala crowd of operatic ignorance because they boo singers.

It's what happens at those two places from time to time.
 

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I've decided that this issue of handraising will never be resolved and everything we throw around in the msg boards are going to be assumptions and accusations as far as I'm concerned. We don't know what goes on in their mind during that situation. Serena could have done it on purpose - she could have not. Justine could have lied - she could have misunderstood and situation and just shrugged. Too many what ifs and too many unknown factors are in this discepancy to make an even valid conclusion.

Serena has made her own and she could be lying. We don't know for sure.
 
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