Palm Beach News

Match Point Meltdown: Should Serena Get Anger Management Therapy?

That's video from the tantrum that Serena Williams threw on Saturday to lose match point in the U.S. Open semifinals against Kim Clijsters. It was so compelling that it upstaged the feel-good story of Clijsters winning the title yesterday after two years away from competitive tennis following the birth of a child.

Here's an AP article that purports to give an exact quote:

"If I could, I would take this ------- ball and shove it down your ------- throat and kill you," Williams said.
Commentator John McEnroe couldn't exactly criticize Williams -- he'd melted down even more dramatically during his playing career. The same for Marat Safin, who also came to Williams' defense.

But in the avalanche of international media coverage for the incident, the most interesting read is from an addiction specialist who offered some instant analysis for Psychology Today. After giving responsibility for Williams' role models -- McEnroe and mercurial father Richard Williams -- the doctor presents a hypothetical therapy session he thinks could be useful to Williams:

Therapist: What determines where a ball is hit or a player's actions during a game?

Player: What actually occurred.

T: What if there's a disagreement?

P: The official determines - but they can be wrong.

T: Yes, but why do we have an official?

P: To make the final call.

T: Otherwise. . . ?

P: Otherwise there would be fights and we'd never finish the game.

T: So what determines what "really" happened on the court?

P: What the official says happens.

T: Good. Now what should happen if you continue to argue with the official?

P: I guess they have to tell me to stop, or else kick me out.

T: Can you write that down, and whenever you keep arguing with an official, I'm going to ask you to read these words back to me.

But even the doctor admits that it's unlikely that Williams will ever have this conversation. Still, you can bet therapists around Palm Beach County are going to be trying to contact the Williamses, who live in Palm Beach Gardens, to offer their services.

Below, the post-match press conference, which does not include an apology from Williams to the judge.