Ser­ena not tar­nished, says Evert

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - FIND A - – Leo Schlink

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.

Photo: ASANKA BREN­DON RAT­NAYAKE

WARM­ING UP: Ser­ena Wil­liams.

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