Williams has been involved in numerous run-ins with tennis officials and has had her fair share of on-court blowups.
In a 2009 U.S. Open semifinal match against Kim Clijsters, Clijsters frustrated Williams to the point where Williams received a warning for racquet abuse and later was called for a foot fault, which set her off, telling a line judge that she was going to "shove this ball down your f---ing throat." She was assessed a point penalty, which just happened to be match point. That wasn’t the worst.
Williams' biggest meltdown was at the 2018 U.S. Open, when verbal attacks directed at umpire Carlos Ramos cost her a shot at winning a 24th major that would’ve tied her with Margaret Court for the most major victories.
With Williams down a set to Naomi Osaka, Ramos warned her for a coaching violation (accusing coach Patrick Mouratoglou of giving signals). That set in motion Serena’s anger who snapped back at Ramos, "I don’t cheat to win."
Later, frustrated with her play, Serena smashed her racquet on the court, and Ramos docked her a point. During a changeover, she called Ramos "a liar," and he awarded a game to Osaka.
At another point, Williams halted the match to confer — and seek support — from tournament referee Brian Earley and the WTA supervisor Donna Kelso. Eventually, Williams lost the match.
One of Graf’s rare dealings with judges came in 1993 at Wimbledon in her first-round match against Australian Kirrily Sharpe where she was pleading for the judge to act on a fan who was having an exchange with her, and who we later learned had stalked Graf all over Europe and came a few months after Monica Seles was stabbed during a match in Hamburg.
Graf already was upset by the Seles incident as the spectator was located across from the umpire’s chair. Graf walked across the court several times during the 38-minute match.
The fan, a 29-year-old German named Kurt zum Felde, had yelled, "Steffi, you’re responsible for everything," in reference to the Seles stabbing. (Seles’ assailant said he stabbed her to help Graf reach No. 1 in the world.)
Security did not eject zum Felde until well after Graf had left, and he was banned from the tournament.
Edge: Williams for most tirades, but not to discount Graf’s fears