NEW YORK (Reuters) - Serena Williams finally apologized on Monday for her angry outburst aimed at a lineswoman during her U.S. Open semi-final against Kim Clijsters.
Williams issued a statement on Sunday conceding she had “handled the situation poorly” but did not apologizes to anyone involved in the incident.
The 27-year-old world number two, however, changed her tune the following day in a news conference after she teamed up with her sister Venus to win the Open doubles crown.
“I really wanted to apologize sincerely, because I’m a very prideful person and I’m a very intense person and a very emotional person,” she said. “I think it all showed.”
Williams said she wanted to apologize “first to the lineswoman, to the USTA (U.S. Tennis Association), and my fans most of all, and to Kim Clijsters.”
With Clijsters closing in on the victory on Saturday night, Williams was called for a foot-fault on a second serve to give the Belgian a match point.
Williams launched into an expletive-laced rant at the lineswoman, saying in part, “I swear to God I’m ... going to take this ball and shove it down your ... throat.”
Having already received an earlier warning for smashing a racket, Williams was handed an automatic point penalty for a second violation which gave Clijsters the match.
When asked by the media in the post-match news conference if she believed she should apologize, Williams replied: “An apology? From me? Well, how many people yell at linespeople?”
But after two days of negative headlines and with the threat of a ban from the tour hanging over her, Williams’s stance softened once tennis officials fined her $10,500 and launched an investigation into the incident.
“I definitely think an apology was warranted,” she said. “I just felt like the other one (Sunday’s statement) was an apology, as well. This one I wanted to make sure that I also congratulated Kim.”
Williams does not believe she committed the foot fault.
“I don’t think my foot touched the line in that call,” she said. “Looking back on it, I think the lady did the best that she could. She was just doing her job.”
The Williams sisters won their second Open doubles crown with a dominating 6-2 6-2 victory over top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber.
When Serena was asked what she would like to say to the lineswoman, she responded: “I would like to give her a big ole hug and say, ‘Let’s just put it all behind us like I have and just move on from it’.”
Editing by Sonia Oxley
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