The U.S. Open finals match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka was a memorable affair that left the champion in tears, had claims of sexism against the match’s umpire and had the 23-time Grand Slam champion being fined $17,000.
Williams was hit with three code violations after her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Osaka on Saturday, according to ABC News.
She was fined $4,000 for being warned for coaching, $3,000 for breaking her racket and $10,000 for “verbal abuse” toward Carlos Ramos, the umpire who presided over the match.
Williams received a $1.85 million check for being the runner-up at this year’s U.S. Open. The $17,000 will be deducted from her earnings and given to the Grand Slam Development Fund, which fosters “competitive tennis opportunities worldwide, the U.S. Tennis Association told ABC News.
Ramos accused Williams of receiving coaching tips from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou while he was in the stands. He confirmed that he was making signals with his hands hoping she’d see, even though she said she did not see him.
After the first violation, Williams went to Ramos and said she would never receive coaching while playing a professional game and that she would rather lose a match than “cheat to win.”
Her second violation was for breaking her racket in frustration.
She received the third violation after she accused Ramos of being a “thief” for issuing the first warning.
“I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff and for me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark,” Williams said at a press conference. “He’s never took a game from a man [because] they said ‘thief,’ for me it blows my mind!”
Many were quick to defend Williams, following the fallout from Sunday’s match.
“When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalized for it,” tweeted 12-time Grand Slam champion Billie Jean King. “When a man does the same, he’s ‘outspoken’ and there are no repercussions.”
(2/2) When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalized for it. 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.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 9, 2018
Richard Ings, a former professional chair umpire, told The Sydney Morning Herald that Williams was the one who needed to apologize and that her sex and race had nothing to do with Ramos’ decision, per CNBC.
“We should not let her record, as glowing as it is, overshadow the fact that on this day, in this match Williams was wrong,” said Ings. “The decisions made by Ramos had nothing to do with sexism or racism. They had everything to do with observing clear breaches of the grand slam code of conduct and then having the courage to call them without fear or favor.”
In a statement to ABC News on Monday, The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) CEO Steve Simon said that the organization has been “working with the sport” to tackle gender inequality issues.
“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. We do not believe that this was done last night,” Simon said. “We also think the issue of coaching needs to be addressed and should be allowed across the sport. The WTA supports coaching through its on-court coaching rule, but further review is needed.”
Following the match, a visibly emotional Osaka apologized to the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium saying she “was sorry” that the match ended the way it did.
Williams told the crowd not to boo Osaka during the trophy ceremony, saying “let’s give everyone the credit, where credit is due…no more booing.”
“I know that in my dreams I won in a very tough, competitive match. I don’t know, I just felt very emotional, and I felt like I had to apologize,” Osaka told the TODAY show on Monday.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.