Serena’s steaming semantics

We have all been there. The point of no return, where mounting frustrations overtake self-control. For some people, it’s two deep breaths, and life goes on. For others, it’s a scream, a makeshift punching bag, or possibly some four-letter words.

But there is a rare breed of people that truly lose their grip on reality. Just ask Serena Williams, the face of women’s tennis, and the latest addition to the enraged athlete club.

Williams, the world’s second-ranked player, blew up during last week’s US Open semifinal match. The short-fused Williams was getting schooled by unranked opponent Kim Clijsters when her episode began.

I will spare you the minute details, because, if you’re like the other two million of your closest friends, you caught the YouTube version eight seconds after it happened.

Williams desperately pleaded her case to everyone except the hot dog vendors outside the stadium, but limped away from the whiny appeal to ungracefully bow out of the tournament and miss the opportunity to defend her title.

“I let my passion and emotion get the better of me, and as a result, handled the situation poorly,” said Williams in a post match interview.

This is the part that really rubs me the wrong way .

Not only did her weak-hearted post-match commentary not address the larger implications of her actions, it failed to accomplish the one goal that should have been at the forefront of her mind — apologizing.

In fact, Williams took it one step further, claiming the lines-person didn’t deserve an apology.

“From me?” Williams exclaimed with that sour-faced, head-cocked, Allen Iverson “You wanna talk about practice?” type of response.

There is no denying what Williams has done for tennis. Her Compton to US Open story is clearly the epitome of the American dream, and her rapid ascent to the top of the world-rankings elevated the game to heights not even Nostradamus could have predicted.

But where do we draw the line between stardom and respect for the game?

Williams was clearly at fault and out of line with her actions (yes, pun intended). It is absurd to think about what professional athletes get away with because of their lucrative contracts and superficial super stardom.

Tiger Woods — another prime example. Remember back in August when his criticism of a PGA official made sports headlines everywhere? We are talking about the crowned savior of golf, openly expressing his dissatisfaction with the current rules of the game.

Where did that land Tiger?

Well, the PGA reprimanded him. Hardly an adequate punishment when individuals in every other major sport face suspensions and fines for ejections and confrontations.

Williams was fined for her tirade. In addition to her $500 slap on the wrist, she will ante up 10-grand for her code violation.

But really? Ten thousand dollars for someone who has scored a reported $26 million in career earnings, has endorsements lined up, and recently became a minority owner of the Miami Dolphins?

This extends beyond her bank account and her sore-losing shenanigans on the court. Her tasteless showing at the US Open is just the tip of the iceberg. The sporting society have labeled elite athletes as icons.

For Serena, it’s a spoiled mentality and a blatant lack of respect for the game. In fact, hats off to the judges for holding firm, and proving that tasteless behavior will not be tolerated.

Unfortunately for us, she will eventually make her way back onto the court, probably win umpteen more grand slams, and go down in history as the greatest women’s player of all time. But if you think like I do, respect for Serena went out the window.