Monday, September 14, 2009


Conduct unbecoming. By now, we have all seen – or at least heard about – Serena Williams’ melt down in her semi-final match at the US Open. It was nothing short of embarrassing and Ms Williams should be ashamed of herself. Even in the post-incident interviews, she refused to apologize, and put it down to being in the ‘heat of the moment’. Her punishment (so far) has been a fine of $10,500 which to her is not even pocket change and won’t even be noticed after being subtracted from her semi-final winnings. Basically, she got away with it. As far as I am concerned, she should have her winnings rescinded, cop a suspension and be forced to go to anger management. Serena is undisputedly a phenomenal player with 11 Grand Slam titles and countless other tournament victories. And when she is winning, she is the darling of the tennis world. She waves and kisses the crowd, twirls around in her self-designer kits, and praises herself to the point of nausea. But when she loses… racquets go flying, as do four-letter words, the world is against her, it’s not fair… Waaaaa!

Being a professional is not just about how you win. It’s about how you lose as well. Taking a beating on the chin, without excuses or complaints, no matter what the situation, speaks volumes about ones character. If you are on the court, you are fair game. You have no defense. If you cannot cope with losing, then maybe you should be on the court in the first place.

Now, comparing the US Open to DAC Squash is a stretch to say the very least, we are not playing for hundreds of thousands of dollars and world ranking points – simply pride and bragging rights. However, with some of the incidents I have seen on court, one may believe otherwise.

For some reason, squash tends to bring out the ‘devil’ in some people. The competitive nature of the sport and the physical exertion required probably has a lot to do with it but arguments during singles and doubles matches have been loud and abusive. The ambiguity of the interference rule (‘let’) is the spark, and compromise in many cases does not appear to be an option. It’s the “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude and conversations I am having post-match with some members are a little disturbing. “I’m never playing with them again!” is a common line.

It has been an on-going problem since I can remember. Since there is no referee to make ‘let’ decisions for you, players are left to rely on their own honesty, etiquette and sportsmanship. If a player asks for a ‘let’ during a rally, it is because they believed interference occurred and that interference hindered that player in making his shot. So to argue ‘no let’ is pointless. Unless the ‘stroke’ is obvious, claiming one will also simply cause a dispute as well, so a ‘let’ would be the best concession. After the match, you can come and see me for clarification. Ideal? No. But playing squash is about playing squash, not arguing. Win by out-playing your opponent, not by shouting louder. And, as an added bonus, they may just want to play you again next time when you are searching for a game.

We are not world champions here fighting for the number one ranking. We are a squash community trying to enjoy the best sport in the world and get a great work-out to boot. Be competitive, try to win – but be fair, sincere and truthful.


Post a Comment

Search This Blog