New York:Serena Williams received a reprimand at the US Open. For reading, of all things.
The eight-time major champion is in the habit of bringing notes to read during changeovers. She's done it for years - she used to just take pieces of paper, then lost them so often that she bought a notebook.
During Williams' 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over Vera Zvonareva on Friday, chair umpire Damian Steiner told Williams to put away the notebook, as if she were carrying cheat sheets to a test in school.
"He told me I couldn't use my notes," Williams said after reaching the fourth round. "I was like, 'Well, it's not like I'm Harry Potter and my dad can magically give me notes to read.' It's something that I write myself. Just little things. What if I were to take a paper on the court and write something, what's the difference?"
It is not against the rules at all to read something carried out to the match. And, indeed, Steiner eventually relented.
"Players can read whatever they want to read on the changeover - as long as they haven't received anything from anywhere else," tournament referee Brian Earley said. "A ball kid hands them a note - that would be construed as coaching. But there's nothing to prevent a player from opening a book that she brought with her."
Williams certainly is not the first player to be spotted reading during changeovers.
Former world No 1 Jim Courier once read Armistead Maupin's "Maybe the Moon" during the brief breaks, saying the book was too good to put down.
Pete Sampras, a 14-time Grand Slam champion, read notes from his wife during matches. And at this Open, wild-card Ahsha Rolle read notes that she keeps in a Bible.