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Serena: I'd Probably Be In Jail for Zverev Tirade

By Richard Pagliaro | Monday, March 7, 2022

Alexander Zverev's ugly tirade in Acapulco that saw the Olympic gold medal champion hammer his racquet off the umpire's chair highlights the double-standard in tennis, says Serena Williams.

Twenty-three time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams was asked by CNN's Christiane Amanpour if Zverev's raging attack demonstrated the double standard women and black players face in tennis.

More: Serena Calls Out New York Times

Serena said she'd "probably be in jail" if she unleashed a tirade on Zverev's level.

"There is absolutely a double standard: I would probably be in jail if I did that like literally no joke," Serena told Christiane Amanpour. "So yeah, I was actually on probation once. I’m like: What did I ever do to get on probation?”

“Absolutely, absolutely [there is a double standard in tennis],” Williams added. “You know you see that when you see other things happening on the Tour. You’re like: Wait if I had done that hmm…but it’s okay."

Two-time ATP Finals champion Zverev apologized in an Instagram post hours after his outburst.

So far, Zverev has been hit with $40,000 in fines for his madness in Mexico with possibly more fines to follow.

In addition, Zverev forfeits $31,570 in prize money he would have earned from singles and doubles in Acapulco and all of the ranking points from the tournament. Zverev was fined $20,000 for verbal abuse and $20,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“This represents the maximum fine per each violation,” the ATP said in a statement. “A further review of the incident will now follow per ATP rules.”

Former world No. 1 Serena said showing emotion on court isn't a sign of cracking, in her case it shows a deep commitment to the cause.

The four-time Olympic gold-medal champion said her intensity on court is an expression of her identity.

"It’s just my personality—I think everyone is different,” Serena told CNN. “And it’s not necessarily about cracking, it’s more about passion and it just boils down to your personality.

"Like I am who I am on the court—and off the court I’m very passionate about what I do—I’m passionate about everything.”

During her loss to Naomi Osaka in the 2018 US Open final, Serena famously clashed with chair umpire Carlos Ramos and later cited sexism as a reason she felt she was treated harsher than same of her male counterparts, including feisty American champions John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, both known for fiery outbursts in the 1970s and 1980s.

Williams cites passion as a primary key to her success.

"At the end of the day, I am who I am and I love who I am," Serena said. "I love the impact I’ve had on people and the impact I continue to have on people…

"If I didn’t have the passion that I have on the tennis court, I wouldn’t have passion for what I do now.”

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve