Sports: Serena Williams Draws Controversy Yet Again At U.S. Open
by Caleb Wiley
The 2018 Women’s US Open Final ended in a controversial loss for superstar Serena Williams, another situation amplified by gender equality that took the sports world by storm.
We live in a world where in recent history, humans have been oppressed and discriminated against because of the color of their skin or their gender. It was difficult for people who were treated poorly and discriminated against to be successful in society, not to mention the harsh backlash they received for trying to break racial barriers in sports.
Athletes such as Jackie Robinson and Althea Gibson paved the way for athletes in African-American history, and sports leagues like the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) and WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) made a statement for women trying to make a name for themselves.
The 21st century really broke ground in sports for the new age of athletes. Athletes of any color and both genders have no problem getting into sports, as all that is required is skill nowadays. Coaches and management don’t care if you’re white, black, man or woman, the only thing they care about is if you can make things happen and win games.
In her most recent loss in the 2018 US Open, tennis icon Serena Williams was frustrated with how the game was being called and how she got her first two penalties.
The match was very much anticipated, as it showcased the best female tennis player of our generation in Serena Williams going up against one of the best young and upcoming players in the game; Naomi Osaka from Japan. Also, with the game being a national event and many people in attendance, there was no shortage of eyes peeled to this game.
In the beginning of the game, Serena got straight-up outplayed and was overpowered by the 20-year-old Osaka. Osaka caught the attention of the viewers, letting them know that she is the real deal and winning the first set with a commanding score of 6-2.
Early on in the second set, the game’s chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, caught Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, sending hand signals to her from the stands, which is a code violation. Williams was consistent with claiming she did not want to be coached nor did she need it and has maintained that claim throughout. Her coach did admit to sending signals afterward. However, many coaches do end up still doing the same thing and ignoring the violation rule. Unfortunately for Williams, Mouratoglou was caught and a penalty was given to her.
Following Ramos’ call, Williams was disappointed and frankly livid at the chair umpire for thinking that she would cheat. However, the referee can only go based on what he sees, as he saw a violation and he called it right by the rule book. Now, if Serena Williams doesn’t like that rule, she can talk to the people upstairs but being frustrated at the referee for doing his job is unfair and unprofessional on her part.
Soon after, Williams received a second violation for racquet abuse which cost her a point. At this point, the fire was lit within her and she started going off on the referee on national television. Williams called Ramos a “thief” and claimed he “stole points” from her. She kept rambling on and continued to complain to the referee, and ultimately he got tired of it and issued Williams another code violation, resulting in a game penalty.
Williams wasn’t done. She continued complaining even after the game was declared over and called out the tournament supervisor and tournament referee. She even went on to tell the media that she believes that the ref was completely sexist towards her and she deals with this all the time.
There is something wrong with her statement, however. Carlos Ramos is known to be a stickler in the tennis community, and not just to women.
In August of 2016, Ramos called a code violation on Andy Murray for saying “stupid umpiring.” Another 2016 incident, Ramos called a code violation on Nick Kyrgios for yelling at the towel boy. In July of 2017, Ramos called a time violation on Andy Murray for playing too slowly. In 2018 during Wimbledon, Ramos gave Novak Djokovic a code violation for slamming his racquet on the ground.
There are many more incidents that show how strict Ramos is as a ump. Ramos isn’t to be called and declared sexist based on his actions in the US Open Final. It is very improper for Serena to pull the gender card and accuse Ramos of such an ignorant thing to say.
Williams was getting outworked, she got mad and went against the rules. The ump realized this and called it how he saw it, and Serena then got mad and acted like everybody was against her. She went straight to sexism as fast as this story got out. End of story.
Sure, Ramos was a little over the top. He could have handled the situation a little bit better but he is known to be a hardcore, by-the-book ump. Pulling the gender card was an easy way out of the situation for Williams, a way of not facing her problems.
The real problem in this whole situation is that everyone was so focused on Williams and Ramos’ disagreement that Naomi’s great outing and accomplishment was overlooked. The young talent faced her idol and beat the greatest player in our generation, not to mention dominating the game. Osaka was looking like she was going to win the game regardless of what happened through Ramos forfeiting Williams.
Along with her great performance being shadowed, Osaka’s accomplishment of being the
first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam is not even being mentioned. It is a shame, what should have been one of the great moments in tennis history for Osaka became an embarrassing day for the sport of tennis. Naomi didn’t deserve it, as she should’ve been celebrating instead of sobbing in disgust and in fear that no one liked her because the entire crowd was booing.
Ultimately, it was a bad look for the sport of tennis on the biggest stage of the sport annually. Whether you blame Ramos or Williams, the situation was unfortunate for all parties involved and could have been avoided.