Serena Williams has claimed that she would “probably be in jail” if she had done something similar to what Alexander Zverev did at the Mexican Open last month. The German was kicked out of the tournament and slapped with a hefty fine after an outburst which left an umpire flinching with fear.
Zverev was so angry over losing a doubles match that he took his frustration out on the umpire’s chair in a violent outburst.
The world number three smashed his racket into the chair several times, including one blow which only narrowly missed the official’s leg.
Zverev was kicked out of the singles’ competition over the incident, and later released a statement to apologise for his “wrong and unacceptable” fit of rage.
Serena Williams was asked about the incident in an interview this week, in which she shared some insight into how a player can become so angry and lose control.
“Everybody is different. Venus – it’s so frustrating playing her because she’s on such an even keel,” she told CNN. “I’m like: ‘Why aren’t you angry?’
“Me, I’m the total opposite. It’s just my personality, I think everyone is different.
“It’s not necessarily about cracking, it’s more about passion and it just boils down to your personality.
“I am who I am on the court, and off the court. I’m very passionate about what I do, I’m very passionate about everything.”
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion went on to discuss the German’s punishment in comparison to others that have been levied over the years.
Zverev was fined $40,000 as well as being kicked out of the tournament in Acapulco, while Williams was once ordered to pay $175,000 for a “major offence of aggravated behaviour” in which she clashed with a line judge.
When discussing the issue, she implied a belief that punishments are not handed out fairly by the powers-that-be in tennis.
“But there is absolutely a double standard. I would probably be in jail if I did that – literally, no joke,” Williams added.
“I was actually on probation once. Like, what did I ever do to get on probation?”
Alexander Zverev was recently withdrawn from the Mexican Open after he attacked the umpire's chair with his racket. As a Black athlete and a woman, @serenawilliams tells me there is a double standard. "I would probably be in jail if I did that," she says. pic.twitter.com/sINWIeuBcP
— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) March 4, 2022
Williams did not want to share which incident she was referring to, but went on to clarify her beliefs about a double standard within the tennis world.
“You see that when you see other things happening on the tour,” she continued. “And you think: ‘Wait, if I had have done that…’
“But it’s okay. At the end of the day, I am who I am and I love who I am. And I love the impact that I’ve had on people.
“I love the impact that I continue to have on people – now, the impact that I can have on people through companies that I invest in, and having an opportunity to invest in women and people of colour.
“If I didn’t have the passion that I had on the tennis court, I wouldn’t have passion for what I do now, and I accept it. I’m excited to continue to have that passion.”