Serena Williams: 'I Had Really Just Lost Control'

Famed tennis player discusses U.S. Open tirade and new book on "GMA."

ByABC News via logo
September 14, 2009, 2:05 PM

Sept. 15, 2009 — -- Serena Williams' moves on the tennis court have dropped jaws for a decade. But after a shocking moment of a different kind -- a highly publicized tantrum against a courtside judge during this year's U.S. Open -- Williams is now repentant, saying she had "really just lost control."

"As a competitor and as someone who's really passionate about their work, I got a little overexcited," Williams told "Good Morning America" today.

Williams' tirade was ignited when the judge ruled that her foot crossed the line during a serve, resulting in a double fault.

"I feel like taking this [expletive] ball and shoving it down your [expletive] throat," Williams shouted while pointing her finger and walking toward the line judge, following up with more expletives.

Williams was fined $10,000 for the Sunday rant and penalized the final point in her semifinal match against Kim Clijsters. Tournament officials are investigating whether more punishment should follow.

"At that point, I had really just lost control," she said, noting that the call was over a mistake she hadn't made all year. "I just thought, 'What's going on?'"

Williams said she especially felt sorry for the judge who was obviously taken aback by Williams' harsh words and aggressive stance.

"I felt like I wanted to give her a big hug, obviously after the whole tirade was over," she said. "And tell her, you know, 'I'm sorry.'"

The incident, Williams said, was just another lesson learned on the court that she will take with her.

Her new book, "On the Line," discusses Williams' ups and downs not only on the court but throughout her life as she rose from the courts of Compton, Calif., to peak as the world's top-ranked female tennis player.

But after undergoing surgery and the shocking murder of her sister Yetunde Price in 2003, Williams said she began to struggle. Her ranking dropped and "everything came crashing down," she said.

"It was really hard to go through that," Williams said, tearing up as she talked about her sister being part of the motivation to share her story.