What it was supposed to be all about Naomi Osaka and Japan’s first ever Grand Slam win, the US Open 2018 final between Serena Williams and Naomi turned out to be a very controversial event, especially after Serena argued with umpire Carlos Ramires after her defeat.
She backed up her courtside dispute on her press conference, in which she accused the umpire of sexism. Serena was handed three code violations by Carlos Ramires during her loss to Osaka: for breaking her racket, for receiving coaching signals, and for calling the chair umpire a thief.
It would have been Serena’s 24th Grand Slam title if she had won it, and she would’ve matched Margaret Court’s record.
She got particularly angry for the coaching violation, because it was a result of a hand gesture from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
Serena declared that she would rather lose than be deemed a cheater, and she renewed her attack at the press conference later.
“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’.
For me, it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women.” – she said.
Her rebellion against the alleged sexism could be seen earlier on the court, when she told referee Brian Earley:
“Because I’m a woman, you’re going to take this away from me?”
Many fans and professionals have backed up Serena since the incident. Victoria Azarenka, a former world champion tennis player backed up Serena’s stance and stated:
“If it was men’s match, this wouldn’t happen like this. It just wouldn’t.”
Billie Jean King, who helped pave the way for equal prize money in tennis and has bagged 12 Grand Slam singles titles herself, wrote:
“Several things went very wrong during the US Open women’s finals today. Coaching on every point should be allowed in tennis. It isn’t, and as a result, a player was penalized for the actions of her coach. This should not happen.”
Serena Williams was involved in another controversy in of late. It was only a couple of weeks ago when she responded to the French Tennis Federation who banned all-in-ones (after she wrote a ‘Black Panther’ inspired all-in-one), and she wore a black tutu, fishnet tights, and silver trainers. Serena is an absolute boss, and this woman does not back down when it comes to standing up for what she thinks is right!
Naomi Osaka, the US Open 2018 winner said:
“I’m always going to remember the Serena that I love. It doesn’t change anything for me. She was really nice to me at the net and on the podium.”
Williams has been fined $17,000 following the incident.