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Serena exchanges words with Jankovic before winning Charleston title

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Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic exchanged some words during the final of the Family Circle Cup, after Serena, who lost the first set 6-3, claimed she wasn’t ready to return a serve early in the second set. At 40-15 in the first game, Jankovic went to serve and though Serena was in the crouched position seemingly ready to return, she put her racket up to halt the point in the middle of Jankovic’s service motion. “You gotta wait,” Serena says to Jankovic. Umpire Kader Nouni agreed and allowed for a let.

Here’s the rest of their exchange, which takes place at the 45 second mark in the video:

Jankovic: “How long do I have to wait?”

Serena: “Until I’m ready. I don’t play slow.”

Jankovic: “But you go like this [crouching in return position]

Serena: “Honestly, you got a problem? I’m not the one.”

“I don’t think I’m serving quickly because a lot of times when I played the other girls they tell me I serve slow and then when I play Serena she tells me I serve fast,” Jankovic said. “She should follow the return and not the opposite, like she said that I gotta wait for her to be ready.  That’s not true.”

“She was even in the position,” Jankovic said, referring to the fact that Serena looked like she was ready to return serve. “That’s why I served. It’s not like I’m going to serve when she’s turned around.”

Serena would go on to win the next six straight games and the match, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 to successfully defend Charleston and win her third title of the year. In the end, I think this tweet from tennis writer Bobby Chintipalli sums it all up:

For Serena, the exchange seemed to both amp her up and calm her down. “I mean I think after that I just got really relaxed and I was like, honestly, Serena, you gotta kind of chill out and not get crazy and just you win, great. If not, you’re trying. She’s playing really well and just do the best you can today.”

But for Jankovic, who went on to win only two games for the rest of the match, the exchange shook her focus. “I have no idea what I was doing at the time, because you know, when you get in the zone and you’re just serving and focused and then all of a sudden you’re thinking about her getting ready and that’s not what I want to think about.”

“I lost my momentum and things started going downhill.  That was in that second set.  And until then I served very well and made a lot of first serves and I was in good control of the match.  So it’s unfortunate.”

“You know, it’s a great learning experience. What can I do?  I make those mistakes and went down with my focus but it’s okay. It’s not the end of the world.”

This isn’t the first time the two had issues over Jankovic’s quick pace between points. In their last clay match in 2010 in Rome, Serena also tried to slow down Jankovic’s pace by holding up her hand. The move was reminiscent of the “Hand Incident” during the 2003 Roland Garros semifinals, when Justine Henin refused to admit she put up her hand up to slow down Serena’s serve. Having been burned by the move back then, Serena made it a point to pull Jankovic aside during the handshake in Rome and tell her “I’m not Justine”.

  • Published On Apr 07, 2013
  • 37 comments
    dj13e29
    dj13e29

    I didn't see the whole match but based on the video, I can understand why Jankovic was irritated. I've played tennis for about 25 years and something that I find irritating and unsportsmanlike is when the returner isn't ready. Sometime they put their hand up intentionally (see T. Berdych) just to break your rhythm. I can't tell if Serena is talking to the chair though. If she is then it's perfectly understandable. If she's just taking her time then that's no good. Once again, Serena says, "I'm not the one". Funny.

    tcarlyle
    tcarlyle

    @paul bishop. That is BS.. re watch it and you will see a TYPICAL SERENA TACTIC. She is classless and not a good example of someone that works hard and displays good sportsmanship on a consistent basis. She is an entitle whiny brat that acts like she rules the tennis world and the fact is she doesn't. She does have one thing right, she is NO Justine!

    sportsmeister
    sportsmeister

    serena is a confirmed steroid and PED user, and abuser. Not only does she get special privileges by the media and the business by way of skin color ( example: see her losing and ready to faint against Kuzzy at the AO when the A. O Brass stopped play and gave her a 15 break indoors) she is a classless, narcissist, and a disgrace to the game. But in this day and age, everybody loves a cheat.. A prime example ... look who resides in the White House.  Serena's roid rage incidents in at least two Majors, coupled with the pulmonary embolism (side effect of steroid abuse) she claims happened when she claimed she stepped on broken glass in German Restaurant and cut the top of her foot. Really Serena? That the best you could come up with?  I used to watch the WTA but when I ealize how many trophies she's won by way of juicing, gamesmanship and playing the race card, I had had enough..

    NjHill
    NjHill

    Serena! WINNING!

    Azarkhan
    Azarkhan

    Serena is a despicable whiner and utterly classless.

    PaulBishop
    PaulBishop

    I watched the match and it was clear that Jankovic was watching to see when Serena wasn't looking and she would serve. This is not against the rules technically but it is against the etiquette of tennis which is supposed to be this honorable game similar golf. She even did it after the exchange. Jankovic is notorious for gamemanship. Serena called her on her crap and she got flustered when Serena tuned her game up. I know some of you hate her brown skin but she is the best.

    appaloosa
    appaloosa

    Thanks, Stacy964 !!  Serena will pull any trick she thinks she can get away with to turn things around when she can't compete.  Hissy fit, injury, whatever!  She generally gets away with these ploys because of her "stature".  I will always cheer for the opposition, whomever she be, even if I don't know them.  The lower in the rankings, the better.  Serena's behaviour is just detestable! 

    stacy964
    stacy964

    Serena...please go away.  I hate watching you play.  Where are the players like Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, etc.  I cannot stand to watch some of the "ladies" playing today.

    christopherrourke2011
    christopherrourke2011

    also: I've had many people do this to me, in singles and doubles.

    I'm an explosive kind of returner and I like hit a winner of first and second

    serves - and some players deliberately serve very quickly *to stop* you

    (= the returner) getting a good strike on the return.

    Especially (i've noticed) if the server has a weak or vulnerable...

    it happens again and again in club level tennis.

     

    The big servers that i've played always seem to leave plenty of time between

    service points (i can't remember being rushed time-wise, ever, by someone who had a big

    serve) and don't go straight onto the next service point.

    - so i don't think that is a co-incidence. ....

    christopherrourke2011
    christopherrourke2011

    so, if Jankovic did't have 'form' here then i could attach some seriousness to all the on-court dramatics....

    (see the semi-final match against Stefanie Voegele, where she is ranting and shouting at her brother,

    making sarcastic gestures and comments at the linespeople... )**.  

    Knowing how she plays and conducts herself on court, i really can't.

     

    **yes, Serena has her outburst (in very big matches) - but if you follow the Tour week-in, week-out, you'll

    know that this is actually highly atypical behaviour for Serena - while it is very, very common for Jankovic...

    christopherrourke2011
    christopherrourke2011

    No.  Totally disagree.  Anyone that actually plays tennis (as in tournaments) know that you [ = the server) has to allow  *Reasonable Time* for the returner to recover position and be ready to return.  And Jankovic most certainly * does not*  do this... Indeed, she is notorious on the Tour for not doing that.  I have watched hundreds of her matches (from autumn 2004) and I have seen many players ask her wait, holding up their racquets etc.  She normally plays very quickly between service points,   Sharapova has done exactly this (indicating that she was not ready to return on Jankovic's serve), in previous matches.  This really -isn't- new.  

    And, yet, Jankovic herself has asked players to wait for  *her* to be ready on the return.  It's a pity that she cannot demonstrate this same courtesy to other players... so for her to throw a strop when after Serena has asked to ^her^ wait is absolutely and completely ridiculous, imho.

     

    ===============

    Anyone who's educated in tennis knows that you're supposed to play at the server's pace as long as it's reasonable enough for the returner to be ready for the next point. 

    bigbadwoo
    bigbadwoo

    Anyone who's educated in tennis knows that you're supposed to play at the server's pace as long as it's reasonable enough for the returner to be ready for the next point. Since Serena was in the crouched ready position, that signifies she's ready. So, Serena was wrong to say "you have to wait till I'm ready." was completely wrong. It's too bad for Jankovic since this apparently rattled her and fired up Serena. 

    magicvilas
    magicvilas

    I see she's talking about herself in the third person again...

    Serena's an idiot, I can't wait for her to retire.

    TW1
    TW1

    @tcarlyle Dummy she's STILL running things as of October 2013. #1. And no she's no Justine. Justine's a cheater who said she was herself. She apologized to Serena for her cheating as well. Serena has 17 singles slams to justine's 7. Must make you mad huh? GOOD..lol..

    You act like Serena's Jennifer Capriati--a druggy, lying, stealing slime ball, whose in court NOW for stalking and attacking an ex boyfriend. You wanna talk about classless? Jennifer Capriati and YOU tcarlyle. Both of you suck and are disgusting, jealous and hating FOOLS....

    dianejholder2
    dianejholder2

    @sportsmeister No great loss, glad a bitter 'American' who can't root for another American because they don't look like them is no longer watching tennis.


    Good riddence

    TW1
    TW1

    @sportsmeister 

     PROVE ANYTHING YOU SAID. 

    YOU CAN'T.


    END OF STORY. 

    Serena's STILL winning and President Obama is STILL in the White House. Bawhahahahahahahaha!!!

    Oh and you're a complete and utter racist a-hole.

    TW1
    TW1

    @Azarkhan And you like all the other haters are full of IT. Serena has c.r.a.p.p.e.d on YOU by winning the French Open, the US Open and being #1 right now. SO you hating, dumb loser. How you like Serena now in October 2013? lol...

    TW1
    TW1

    @appaloosa And you are a complete IDIOT. Serena has won the French Open & US Open plus she's still going strong. Boy, does she not c.r.a.p on you and ALL you losers who are jealous of her...lol..

    eclectic6
    eclectic6

     @appaloosa That is your right to cheer for her opponent but Serena can't hear you. Her mind is focused on being the best. I suggest you do the same in your life instead of wanting someone you have absolutely no control over. fail. It hasn't worked yet.  Get over your hate.

    eclectic6
    eclectic6

     @stacy964 Something I'll never understand about comments like these...why do you even care to comment about Serena. If you don't like her...why don't you go away. While you're wasting your time not liking her, she is winning and taking it to the bank.I much rather read about a tennis players play and technique. Let it go people...Tennis is not a popularity contest. Serena could care less about how the haters feel. Her mind is on winning and that she does...Go Serena!!!!

    PaulBishop
    PaulBishop

     @bigbadwoo

     While you are correct technically. You are wrong as far as what was happening. Serena gets in the crouch then she take a look down for some reason, maybe checking her position. Jankovic was watching her because Serena does the samething on every serve. While Serena was looking down Jankovic serves the ball. Now tennis is supposed to be an honorable sport clearly Jankovic was not following the spirit of the game.

    TW1
    TW1

    PROVE IT LOSER. YOU CAN'T.

    END OF STORY. YOU LOSE AND SERENA'S STILL WINNING AS OF OCTOBER 2013.

    Bawhahahahahahahahahahahaha !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    stacy964
    stacy964

     Serena is a spoiled punk.  I cheer for anyone playing her.  She is bad for the game.

    Gwen
    Gwen

     @magicvilas

     Serena will retire when she is ready - not when you want her to.  She is the best tennis player in the world.  She is rich and you and no one else will dictate when she should retire azz hole.

    theavatarofset1
    theavatarofset1

    @TW1Actually, if you've ever heard Serena or her sister or her father talk, they are shameless racists; quick to play the card whenever it's convenient. She also allegedly had a panic attack thinking an "intruder" was going to break into her home, when it was, in fact, a drug testing agent for the ATP. So it's real hard to "prove" anything when she has used every excuse possible to avoid drug testing. Real convenient. Her physique is far more masculine than *any* other female tennis player and, for that matter, most of the male tennis players. If you're not suspicious of that, then you're an idiot. Stop throwing around the "racist" accusation because you cannot accept reality.

    theavatarofset1
    theavatarofset1

    Lance Anderson won how many Tour de Frances? Cheaters will keep cheating until they get caught and they will lie every step of the way.

    theavatarofset1
    theavatarofset1

    Being the best, by any means necessary, just like Lance Anderson.

    TW1
    TW1

    @stacy964 And you are a LOSER. Keep cheering for the players vs Serena because you're jinxing THEM..lol..

    ActingDrama
    ActingDrama

     @stacy964 No one would give a damn about women's tennis if it wasn't for them (Williams sisters) . PERIOD.