The Bruin

Serena Williams Loses the U.S. Open Following Controversial Penalties

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Serena Williams, the second-most decorated women’s tennis player of all time, lost in the U.S. Open Final after chair umpire Carlos Ramos penalized her three times. These penalties resulted in the umpire awarding a game to Williams’ opponent, Naomi Osaka, and Williams ultimately lost the match 6-2, 6-4.   

The first penalty, which was given because of  illegal coaching, did not sit well with Williams as she felt that the umpire was questioning her integrity.

“I didn’t get coaching, I didn’t get coaching. I didn’t get coaching. You need to make an announcement that I didn’t get coaching. I don’t cheat, I didn’t get coaching. How can you say that?” said Williams following her second penalty, which was for smashing a racket.

After falling behind in the second set, Williams began to berate the umpire. She called him a thief and demanded an apology, which resulted in the umpire giving the game to Osaka. Following the match in her press conference, Williams doubled down on her statements, citing what she considered sexist treatment.

“I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things. I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief’. It blows my mind,” said Williams.

Andy Roddick, an American professional tennis player, tweeted out his support for Williams.

I’ve regrettably said worse and I’ve never gotten a game penalty,” said Roddick.

Billie Jean King, a tennis legend, shared a similar sentiment.

“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.

In the following days, the assorted governing bodies of tennis began to release their opinions on this controversy. The CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association delivered a statement in support of Williams, saying he believed there should be no difference in how men and women are treated by referees on the tennis court.

However, the International Tennis Federation provided their support for Ramos in a statement that included the phrase: “Mr. Ramos’ decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules.” The U.S. Open also indirectly voiced their opinion by fining Williams $17,000 for her three penalties.

According to the New York Daily News, some tennis officials are now considering boycotting Williams’ matches, and some are even considering unionizing because of a perceived lack of support from the tennis community.

Williams’ outburst may have been considered out of place by many, but she has now uncovered the possible bias within professional tennis and placed it on the national stage.

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Serena Williams Loses the U.S. Open Following Controversial Penalties