I’ve never really understood why there have been so many whispers and innuendo about the nature of the foot injury Serena endured eight months ago. What I read in newspaper reports was that a few days after her Wimbledon victory Serena was in a Munich restaurant where she accidentally stepped on a broken beer bottle. The exact nature and severity of the injury was never disclosed, but the fact of it was confirmed through sightings of Serena wearing a protective boot. Nevertheless, this incident has been invariably referred to as her ‘mysterious’ injury, with a heavy dose of nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
To be honest, I’ve never really understood what was being implied. Are folks saying that Serena wasn’t really injured? Or do folks believe that she was injured but not under the circumstances indicated? I also never understood what people believe would be Serena’s motive for lying. Is it that folks believe that she just wanted some time to sell clothing on HSN or to attend Hollywood parties? Because in truth, outside of surgeries and physical therapy, that seems to be the bulk of what she has done since that last Wimbledon win.
But surely Serena would have to be seriously sick in the head if she put herself through an eight month ordeal of wearing a foot brace for no reason whatsoever. I mean, this is not a woman trying to defraud an agency in order to receive worker’s compensation. This is a super-wealthy tennis player who was at the top of her game when she was injured. What possible motive could she have to lie about this?
Say what you will about Serena Williams, but she has never acquired a reputation as a liar. Unlike Venus who is famously guarded and non-self-disclosing, Serena is known for being gregarious. She has formed genuine friendships with many women on the tour. She tweets openly about her many activities and can be refreshingly honest in interviews. One famous incident of her honesty was her version of that infamous Indian Wells event. Even after her father made allegations of racism, Serena went to lengths to insist that she never heard any racist comments from the crowd. Now that’s what I call honesty.
Contrast this with Justine Henin who has decided at this belated stage to admit to two incidents of flagrant dishonesty – the Hand incident against Serena at the 2003 French Open and her baiting the Chair to call a Clijsters ball out when she knew that it was in, at the 2004 Australian Open. Both of these incidents resulted in unfair Slam wins for Justine. Now that she has admitted to having lied, will those wimps at the WTA step up and remove two titles from her total of seven? Of course they won’t. The WTA has never been known for having the guts to stand up for what matters.
None of us needed Justine’s belated admission because the evidence was clear that she had lied. And these were only the two most well-known incidents of her unfairly benefiting from dishonesty. But what about those incidents in which she stopped playing and claimed injury when she was getting her ass beaten? Surely if she’s going to go there with admitting the truth, why not admit all of the truth?
For those uninformed (and I know that I have some readers who do not follow tennis as closely as I do), Justine cheated against Serena at the 2003 Roland Garros. Serena was serving up 5-2 in the third. Justine put up her hand indicating that she was not ready to receive serve. So Serena started serving again, only to have the Chair say that it was her second serve. Serena tried protesting and invited Justine to speak up but Justine remained mute. She knew that the Chair had had his back to her and had not seen her hand motion. She got away with cheating, and even managed to get the partial French crowd to boo the protesting Serena.
Justine cheated again less than a year later against her own countrywoman. Clijsters had returned a winner that was clearly in, but Justine, who could not get to the ball, immediately signaled that it was out. Kim then turned to the Chair and asked her if the ball was out, and the Chair, trusting Justine, confirmed that it was out. Mind you, the lines-person whose job it was to make the call had remained silent. Kim lost the point and the match.
Now that she has once again retired from tennis, Justine has decided that it’s time to admit to these two lies. I’m sorry but I cannot respect her for this. The time to admit the truth was during those matches, not more than seven years later when it no longer matters. What is she trying to accomplish now?
I don’t know why Justine is making these disclosures now. Is she dying of some fatal disease and wants to make her conscience clear before she meets her maker? Or is she an alcoholic going through the steps of AA and needing to make amends? I mean really, what gives?
My theory is that she just wanted to make herself the focus of attention. Maybe she'd rather be hated than forgotten. Because you know that true attention whores don’t mind it if you’re pissed off with them. They just want to remain the topic of conversation.