I understand Serena’s reaction
Serena definitely had a temporary moment of insanity. Yet, you and I should not “judge her actions” from the comfy confines of our living room couch. Instead, imagine yourself on the sidelines as a coach or parent at one of our children’s games. It’s a great game. The score is tight. The lead goes back and forth. Time is winding down. All of a sudden a random whistle is blown. A rarely enforced rule has been called – it cost your child’s team a chance at the championship. Now how do you view Serena’s response?
Things happen in sport and in life. Lines get crossed or as Malcolm Gladwell calls it, “windows get broken.” What’s truly important is what happens next. Does the “window get repaired”?
The USTA definitely made the right call. They needed to step up immediately in order to fix the broken window. In doing so, the officials at the US Open protected the honor of the game. No star is bigger than the game.
To her credit, Serena also fixed the broken window. It may have taken over 24 hours for her “emotional snow globe” to calm down, she did apologize for her actions.
One of my biggest coaching regrets is not defaulting one of my top players in the middle of an on-court tantrum. Her actions were neither in line with the program’s, nor what the stood for. So I was preaching one thing and my actions didn’t back it up. Sometimes the non-action speaks louder and has more impact than an intervention. As coaches, we need to remember that no player is bigger than the team or the game and the dangers of leaving broken windows unrepaired can be costly in the long run.