Serena not tarnished, says Evert
Chris Evert has dismissed claims Serena Williams has a tarnished record because of last season’s US Open implosion as the American bids for grand slam history at the Australian Open from Monday.
Questioned about Williams’ clash with umpire Carlos Ramos in New York last year, ESPN commentator and former great Evert said: “I don’t think tarnished. I don’t think tarnished is the word.
“I think that her record, the way that she was raised, the journey, the path, the route she took to be No 1, the family, Venus, Richard Williams, I think that whole story is so overwhelming, and the fact she dominated for so long.
“She could break the record of grand slams. That will overshadow everything at the end of the day.
“I think there will be a side note that Serena has a lot of passion, that she has at times lost her cool on the court.
“But I don’t think for one minute it’s going to tarnish her whole reputation or her record.”
Williams was warned for coaching and received subsequent penalties for calling Ramos a “thief” during a midmatch exchange.
The American was accused of dampening tearful Osaka’s greatest triumph as critics pointed to Williams’ past indiscretions.
Williams will chase an eighth Australian Open, a victory which would propel her on to equal footing with Margaret Court’s overall tally of 24 major singles crowns.
Commentator Patrick McEnroe described Williams’ conduct during US Open defeat to Naomi Osaka as a negative.
“There’s a lot of positives. There’s a few negatives. There’s no doubt that was a negative,” he said.
WARMING UP: Serena Williams.