Friday, September 18, 2009

Serena Williams is A Human Being--Not a Robot (or Scapegoat)

Serena Williams tries to move on from uproar over outburst


Tennis star's obscenity-laced tirade at the U.S. Open stays in the spotlight
She's fielding questions about it as she promotes new book
Williams says she was "in the moment" and doesn't remember all that was said
Her young fans can now see "she's human, she made a bad decision," she says

Editor's note: Watch the full interview with Serena Williams on "Your $$$$$" Saturday at 1 p.m. ET and Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on CNN.

By Christine Romans and Jennifer Icklan
Wed September 16, 2009

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Serena Williams just wants to move on. But the controversy around her obscenity-laced tirade at a line judge at the U.S. Open continues.

Williams, 27, said she was "in the moment" and doesn't really remember her now-famous outburst at a line judge who had called a foot fault. It was a 12-second verbal attack that has played over and over for three days.

"It was a really tough point in the match and it was really close and got a really tough call that wasn't the correct call, and, you know, things got a little heated and I had a conversation with the line judge that didn't go so well," Williams said.

Williams, ranked No. 2 in the world by the Women's Tennis Association, said she does not recall moments of Saturday's incident but believes she apologized for her actions promptly and completely.

"I couldn't apologize any sooner, and then also I learned from my mistakes ... I was talking to [former Giants defensive end] Michael Strahan earlier today and he said how, when he's out there you're so intense. Obviously, when you get a bad call, it's like 'What's going on?' So when you're in the moment, you are just there. You don't really quite remember exactly what's going on," Williams said.

Williams found herself explaining her outburst while promoting her recently published memoir, "On the Line," in which she details growing up the youngest of five sisters, her struggles on the court and off, and her positive messages of inspiration, especially to her younger fans.

"Those kids probably just need to know it's great to be a competitor, how passionate someone is, and just making the right decisions at the right time -- realizing that, hey, everyone falls, 'Wow, she's human, she made a bad decision, a bad choice.' "

Williams added, "I am not a robot. I have a heart and I bleed."

In the aftermath of Saturday's match, tournament officials fined Williams $10,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct and $500 for smashing a racket during the same event. So far, no suspensions have been served, but the United States Tennis Association has said that it has launched an investigation into the incident.

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