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Friday, September 18, 2009

Serena Williams Foot Fault vs. Kim Clijsters in Women's Semifinal

Viewers please note: a complete discussion of this controversial default is contained in post below (after Cats that look like Hitler). The original link to the video in that post is broken & cannot be deleted.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Does Your Cat Look Like Hitler?

chaplin (owned by vikki) (3834)
Mon Sep 14 2009 at 02:49:59

DOLPHY (owned by Pauline) (3822)
Thu Sep 10 2009 at 17:06:49

Adolph the stray! (owned by Sotiris) (3809)
Tue Sep 08 2009 at 17:25:12

Does your cat look like Adolf Hitler? Do you wake up in a cold sweat every night wondering if he's going to up and invade Poland? Does he keep putting his right paw in the air while making a noise that sounds suspiciously like "Sieg Miaow"? If so, this is the website for you.

Follow the link for more details on this amusing site...

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Serena Williams Foot-Fault in 2009 US Open semi-final vs Kim Clijsters

As a tennis player who wished that more recreational hackers knew at least a little bit about the rules, and more importantly, the "Code", I have more than a passing interest in the Serena Williams "foot-fault" controversy.

After reading many press reports of the incident & after personally viewing the Williams-Clijsters semifinals match on ESPN 2 Saturday night, as well as the You Tube videos of the incident, here are my conclusions...

There is no video that shows that the foot-fault call by the lines person on Serena's second serve at 15-30 and 5-6 in the 2nd set was incorrect, despite some reports to the contrary in the press & TV. While ESPN's replay and angle were inconclusive, other coverage (British broadcast?) played the incident in slow motion and seemingly at a better angle--which clearly showed the foot fault. The commentator then remarks "There's the foot-fault."

Please study the video above***the 'Cats that look like Hitler' post (especially at the point after the sequence of events is explained to Clijsters) and decide for yourself if I am indeed correct. I suggest that the clip be viewed in full screen mode.
***please ignore the video below--link is broken.

Williams had been called for a foot fault earlier in the set, not to mention being called for a number of foot faults in an earlier doubles match.

As a matter of fact, foot-faults are a problem she has had her entire career, not just at the U.S. Open--as she insisted at her "ridiculous, disingenuous" news conference (description by Mike Lupica of the Daily News). She sarcastically offered to "stand 2 feet in back of the baseline" in future matches in New York.

However, it must be admitted that foot faults are called very inconsistently--even at Grand Slam events. There seems to be an unwritten rule that this violation is not generally called unless it is egregious, and especially not on 'important' points, where the fate of the match might be decided by the call.

That this problem occurs again and again is certainly the fault of the ITF, USTA, the Grand Slam and other tournament commitees. The obvious consequence is that lines umpires are inadequately trained and unsure how to rule. Do line judges now have to consider the score and the importance of the event? Wouldn't this impact their impartiality?

Also, in this specific incident, few have pointed out that the chair umpire had the power to overrule an incorrect foot fault call. Why Williams did not appeal to the chair instead of threatening the line judge with her ghetto/thug act we'll never know...

'In matches where line umpires are assigned, they make all calls (including foot-fault calls) relating to that line or net. The chair umpire has the right to overrule a line umpire or a net umpire if the chair umpire is sure that a clear mistake has been made...'

USTA Tennis Rules & Regulations Handbook ITF Rules of Tennis
Appendix V

Since the chair umpire did not overrule in this case, it must be assumed that he was NOT sure that a clear mistake had been made. Incidentally, Williams later appeared to agree that 'she probably foot-faulted'.

In "Straight Sets", the Tennis Blog of The New York Times, these interesting and relevant insights into sports officiating were offered on 9/13--

The Thinking Behind Calling Foot Faults

"A foot fault occurs when the server touches the baseline or the court with either foot. Sometimes a player’s foot slides forward and touches the line inadvertently, and, because a player can’t see the rule violation, the foot-fault call provokes a lot of anger. Often the players’ frustration with themselves is then directed at the line official. For Serena Williams, who has been called for foot faults throughout her career, the call came at a critical moment in the match. Down by a set and serving at 5-6 and 15-30, the call on her second serve gave Kim Clijsters two match points.

Carol Cox, a veteran tennis official who evaluates line officials and referees for the United States Tennis Association, said there were two schools of thought on making a foot-fault call at a critical juncture in the match.

“One philosophy is that it is a rule, and you call it when you see it,” Cox said. “The second way of thinking is more in line with a good N.B.A. official: You don’t make a call that can decide a match unless it’s flagrant.”

John McEnroe had a similar view to the N.B.A. comparison when he was commenting on the CBS broadcast on Saturday night. “You can’t call that there,” he said.

Serena Williams had received a warning for a code violation, for smashing her racket after the first set, so her next offense resulted in a point penalty. The lineswoman, whose name has not been released, is trained to report such abuse immediately to the chair umpire.

In the end, Williams’s outburst decided the game, the set and the match.

To read the full article quoted above, please follow this link:

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Henin Tipped for Shock Return by Belgian Media!


Justine Henin, displaying the winner's trophy for the 2007 U.S. Open, after dispatching both the Williams sisters & solidifying her hold on the #1 ranking--which she held for more than 12 months.
A baffled Serena Williams during her quarterfinal loss in the 2007 U.S. Open to Justine Henin--Clueless & Classless
A Comeback a la Clijsters?

(AFP) –
Aug 26, 2009

BRUSSELS — Belgian media were speculating Wednesday on a possible return to women's tennis of former world number one and multiple Grand Slam title winner Justine Henin, 15 months after she retired from the game.

Noting that Henin, 27, is back in training for exhibition matches, several papers have speculated she may return to the circuit as compatriot Kim Clijsters did earlier this summer.

In MrKen's opinion, Henin was the best player of her generation--YES, that includes both of the Williams' sisters!

No less an authority than Billie Jean King said that "pound for pound, Henin is the best tennis player of her generation."

And John McEnroe noted that her "one-handed backhand as the best single-handed backhand in the women's or men's game."

In the 2007 U.S. Open, Henin defeated her first four opponents in straight sets, with a 6–0 set in each match. Henin then faced Serena Williams in the quarterfinals for the third consecutive time in a Grand Slam tournament, and for the third time, Henin won, 7–6(3), 6–1. She then went on to defeat Venus in an exciting semifinal, before winning the final against Kuznetova. Henin won the tournament without dropping a set.

At the time, MrKen posted about Serena's "clueless and classless" comments during a surly news conference in crediting Henin's win to "a lot of lucky shots", and went on to lamely blame her "other interests" for her poor showing--as if Williams was a tennis 'dilettante'.

This post, along with my retrospective look back at Henin's triumph-- "Justine Henin, the 'Class' of the Women's Game", can be found at

And for the rest of the story from the Belgian press about the rumored comeback, please follow this link:

P.S. Henin even knows how to serve without double-faulting a dozen times in a match! (See the 9/2/09 NY Times front page article (above the fold) on this embarrassment to the women's game and Billie Jean King's befuddlement on its cause or solution in her interview on the Tennis Channel.

Wikipedia on Henin:

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