`Controversial` documentary on Williams sisters to release before US Open

Updated: Jul 02, 2013, 15:29 PM IST

New York: A controversial documentary about American tennis stars Serena Williams and her sister Venus is reportedly moving ahead with its premiere despite a federal lawsuit trying to block its release, and will now take place just three days before the USTA`s US Open begins in Queens.

According to the New York Post, even as Williams crashed out of the Wimbledon, US cable network Showtime has slated August 23 to premiere Maiken Baird and Michelle Major`s `Venus and Serena`, despite the United States Tennis Association (USTA) filing a suit to block the film.

The documentary is a tell-all look at the careers of the Williams sisters, and also has a scene showing the famous outburst of Serena Williams at a US Open line judge in 2009, in which she told the judge, `If I could, I would take this . . . ball and shove it down your . . . throat`.

Although no official air date had been scheduled since Tuesday, however, the report said that the network has now pegged the movie`s TV premiere to the Open, where Williams will be a favorite despite her upset loss to German Sabine Lisicki on Tuesday.

The USTA had filed a suit against the movie last month, seeking a permanent injunction and claiming copyright infringement, although the report stated that the directors went ahead with a premiere during Wimbledon in London, despite the legal action.

According to the USTA suit, the clip of Williams` outburst is `not in the best interest of the film`, with a source adding that film uses `20 minutes of match play` from the US Open that the directors were not allowed to use

However, the documentary`s producer Alex Gibney accused the USTA of censorship and said that the footage falls under `fair use`.

Applauding Showtime`s release date, a representative for the film quipped that tennis fans should hope that the USTA knows more about putting on a good US Open than they do about trying to bully a leading entertainment channel with misguided censorship tactics.