This is good. Serena Williams’ new commercial for Wilson is funny. In fact, I like all these commercials, where Roger Federer or Venus Williams or Serena drags a couch out onto the court and serves as a psychologist for some hacker.
In this case, Serena pokes fun at herself for her threatening f-bomb-laced tirade at a line judge at the 2009 U.S. Open. It has been nearly two years, and you’d think her most embarrassing moment would be gone now, especially after all that has happened with her.
But it’s not gone. When she goes back to the Open in a few weeks, it will be her first time there since her tantrum. That’s going to be a story. That is going to be closure.
It’s still needed for some people. And it’s going to be interesting to see how New Yorkers treat her. She has been so inconsistent in what she has said about that day: Issuing a terrible non-apology apology, then apologizing, then saying she was right, then complaining about being fined for it, then acting perfectly at the Australian Open.
She is a sympathetic character now, after her illness and injury over the past year.
The interesting thing is that in all this time, not one definitive photo or video shoot, not from TV or even from anyone’s camcorder or phone, ever emerged to show whether Williams actually did foot fault or not. (She did). The TV camera angle was from behind the baseline, so you can’t tell how far her left foot moved when she inched her heel forward.
At the time, John McEnroe said on TV that a line judge can’t make that call. Some people interpreted that to mean he was saying she hadn’t foot-faulted. In fact, he served as gas on the fire of the debate later. But that’s not what he meant. He was just saying that whether Williams foot-faulted or not, the line judge shouldn’t have called it. That’s nuts, by the way.
Either way, when I asked him last year, he admitted he hadn’t actually seen whether her foot had touched the line or not.
Plenty of media members, including me, saw that she did foot fault. One section of media seating was just back over the line judge’s shoulder. When she foot-faulted, I pointed out in surprise before the call even was made.
Well, her tirade led to a point penalty on what would have been match point. So she lost that semifinal match to Kim Clijsters, who went on to win the tournament.
But whatever. The story is about to pop up again, and Williams and Wilson clearly know that. That’s where this commercial comes from.
The guy she’s helping looks an awful lot like a smaller version of Andy Roddick. And it’s interesting that when she tells him to get his feet off her couch, and he says his feet weren’t actually touching the couch, the fact is, his feet were touching.
Just like hers were in 2009.
Maybe she’s just trying to laugh this off, and people won’t accept that. But to me, she handles it perfectly. Nothing like poking fun at yourself.