Serena Williams fined $17,000, WTA backs Serena as row grows over US Open 'sexism'

AFP
Published Sep 10, 2018, 9:58 am IST
Updated Sep 10, 2018, 9:58 am IST
Williams was handed three code violations - and docked a point and then a game - in her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka.
Serena Williams claimed that chair umpire Carlos Ramos meted out penalties for infractions that male players could have gotten away with, specifically a violation for verbal abuse after she called him a "thief" and a "liar" for warning her for coaching from her players' box, then docking her a point when a racquet abuse violation followed. (Photo: AFP / AP)
 Serena Williams claimed that chair umpire Carlos Ramos meted out penalties for infractions that male players could have gotten away with, specifically a violation for verbal abuse after she called him a "thief" and a "liar" for warning her for coaching from her players' box, then docking her a point when a racquet abuse violation followed. (Photo: AFP / AP)

New York: Serena Williams has been fined $17,000 by the US Tennis Association in the wake her outburst during a controversial US Open final loss to Japan's Naomi Osaka.

The American star was fined for coaching, racquet abuse and for verbal abuse when she accused umpire Carlos Ramos of being "a thief" during Saturday's stormy final.

 

Williams was incensed at the coaching violation, although coach Patrick Mouratoglou, sitting in her box, admitted that he was coaching when he moved his hands.

That violation carried a $4,000 fine, while a second violation for racquet abuse -- after she smashed her racquet after dropping her serve in the fifth game of the second set -- cost her $3,000.

The second violation also cost her a point in the match, sparking her renewed verbal attack on Ramos, a code violation which carried a $10,000 fine.

Her third code violation of the match also cost her a game, putting Osaka on the brink of what would be a 6-2, 6-4 victory that made her the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam title.

WTA chief backs Serena as row grows over US Open 'sexism':

Serena's claim that the code violations that sparked her meltdown in the US Open final were sexist stirred debate, with WTA Tour chief executive Steve Simon backing her on Sunday.

Williams was handed three code violations -- and docked a point and then a game -- in her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka in the Flushing Meadows final.

Osaka out-played her childhood hero to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam, but her accomplishment was swamped in the controversy surrounding 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams.

The American superstar claimed that chair umpire Carlos Ramos meted out penalties for infractions that male players could have gotten away with, specifically a violation for verbal abuse after she called him a "thief" and a "liar" for warning her for coaching from her players' box, then docking her a point when a racquet abuse violation followed.

Eventually she was docked a game -- putting Osaka on the brink of victory.

Simon said the affair brought to the forefront the question of whether different standards are applied to men and women in the officiating of matches.

"The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same," he said.

"We do not believe that this was done last night."

Simon said the sport as a whole should examine the rules on coaching, noting that the WTA already allows on-court coaching during regular tour events -- if a player requests it.

US great Billie Jean King addressed both issues, also seeing things Williams's way.

"When a woman is emotional, she's 'hysterical' and she's penalized for it," King tweeted. "When a man does the same, he's 'outspoken' & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same."

National Organization of Women president Toni Van Pelt weighed in with a statement calling for the USTA to sever any ties to Ramos for "a blatantly racist and sexist move".

Williams's pleas to referee Brian Earley and a Grand Slam supervisor -- called to the court after she failed to get satisfaction from Ramos -- were to no avail.

The USTA said in a statement after the match that the decision to hand out the final code violation and game penalty was "not reviewable".

"Because I'm a woman you're going to do this to me," she fumed on court and after the match Williams didn't walk back that charge.

"I've seen other men call other umpires several things," she said. "I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff."

Men's champion Novak Djokovic treaded warily when asked to weigh in on matter.

Djokovic noted that it was an "awkward situation" for both competitors and "tough" for the umpire.

"I have my personal opinion that maybe the chair umpire should not have pushed Serena to the limit, especially in a Grand Slam final," he said.

"He did change the course of the match. It was, in my opinion, maybe unnecessary. We all go through our emotions, especially when you're fighting for a Grand Slam trophy.

However, he said he wasn't sure sexism was at the root of Ramos's decisions.

"It's hard to generalize things," he said.





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