COMMENT:

Let's play real or imagined.

Big-hearted Serena Williams' main mission now is to support her fellow women tennis professionals.

Yeah, yeah.

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Actually, I suspect there is a softer caring side to Williams, that angry, bad-mouthed Serena does care. Maybe the future of women's tennis is her thing.

Human beings are complex, not one dimensional.

But the best player in history is on a PR campaign, after her abusive meltdown while losing last year's US Open final to Naomi Osaka.

At the time of that disaster, Williams instinctively dreamt up a brilliant excuse for her deplorable behaviour — highlighting sexism.

Now arguably the greatest player in history is playing the big-hearted senior mentor on tour.

"Don't cry," she told a young opponent at the Australian Open, before offering more comforting words. How touching. How false.

United States' Serena Williams celebrates after defeating Canada's Eugenie Bouchard in their second round match at the Australian Open. Photo / AP.
United States' Serena Williams celebrates after defeating Canada's Eugenie Bouchard in their second round match at the Australian Open. Photo / AP.

No one did a tennis tantrum better than John McEnroe, who screamed some very good arguments in an era where the officiating could be ludicrously amateur. But no one suggested that McEnroe's bloodcurdling meltdown's were driven mainly by his desire to make tennis better.

The bloke couldn't control himself on court, and it was kind of fascinating to witness as a journey into a tortured soul.

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Same with Serena, if you can get past all the women's issues nonsense.

Tennis can bring out the worst in people. Emotions are on a knife edge. Women are people.

Williams' outbursts have included telling an official, "You're a hater and you're just unattractive inside." She has threatened to shove a tennis ball down a lineswoman's "f****** throat".

She has committed some of the worst abuse of officials in tennis history.

Billie Jean King, the tennis great who has done so much good stuff, made last year's US Open disaster even worse by claiming that in such circumstances, women were described as "hysterical" and men "outspoken".

This simply isn't true.

McEnroe, for one, was not described as "outspoken". He was the original Super Brat, derided by many for his behaviour. Billie Jean King was talking a load of nonsense.

One of the most interesting things about Williams is staring us in the face — she is unable to avoid the outrageous loss of emotional control previously associated almost exclusively with male players.

Truth be told, women sports stars probably operate on restricted emotions, shackled by society stereotypes of their gender.

Williams has broken this down, a far more crucial point in history than her false anti-sexism campaign.

This is her biggest contribution to equality, and in a world driven by drama and controversy it could also be seen as a breakthrough for women's professional sports.
Serena Williams has offered us a very public glimpse, even if it is an ugly one, beyond the caring and sharing female stereotype.

And women's sport actually needs more openly ruthless bastards, to make it more interesting.

Williams is not all bad, far from it. Like all of us, she is made up of many parts.

But right now, in Melbourne, she is taking the world for a PR ride.

Serena Williams is a self-centred, bad-tempered brat, just like a lot of sports blokes over the years. End of story.