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Serena Williams U.S. Open Controversy Highlights Sexist, Possibly Racist, Nature of Sport

Serena+Williams+takes+exception+to+chair+umpire+Carlos+Ramos%27s+charge+of+receiving+illegal+coaching+during+the+U.S.+Open+women%27s+final+on+Sept.+8.
Serena Williams takes exception to chair umpire Carlos Ramos's charge of receiving illegal coaching during the U.S. Open women's final on Sept. 8.

Serena Williams takes exception to chair umpire Carlos Ramos's charge of receiving illegal coaching during the U.S. Open women's final on Sept. 8.

Serena Williams takes exception to chair umpire Carlos Ramos's charge of receiving illegal coaching during the U.S. Open women's final on Sept. 8.

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Serena Williams’ clash with the chair umpire in her Sept. 8 controversial loss in the U.S. Open finals has stirred a raging debate in the tennis world, even overshadowing the win by Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who won her first Grand Slam singles tournament.

Williams was hit with a combined $17,000 dollars in fines for “violations of code.” Although this may seem minuscule when compared to the $1.85 million dollars she earned as the tournament’s runner up, she has rekindled the debate on racism and sexism in her sport.

On Sunday, the day after the match, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) docked Williams $10,000 for “verbal abuse” towards the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, as well as $4,000 for receiving illegal coaching during the match, and $3,000 for breaking her racket when she slammed it to the ground in anger.

Williams took particular exception to the charge of illegal coaching which should took as Ramos and the USTA calling her a cheater. “We don’t have signals. We’ve never discussed signals. … I want it clarified myself,” Williams explained after the match.

In terms of verbal abuse, Williams called Ramos a “liar” and a “thief.” She also told him on a few accounts, “You owe me an apology!” in reference to the illegal coaching call. After the match, Williams mentioned that she’s seen male players call the other umpires “several things.”

“I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff,” Williams stated. “For me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark.”

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) released a statement Monday stating: “Mr. Ramos’ decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were re-affirmed by the U.S. Open’s decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offenses.”

It is also worth taking into consideration that Serena Williams has quite a history in this tournament. In 2004, some controversial calls by the line judges and umpire cost her the win in the finals leading to an apology from the USTA.

In 2009, Williams verbally abused a line judge leading to the loss of a point and an automatic loss. She issued an apology afterwards. The most recent incident occurred in 2011 when Williams served a shot beyond possible return to her opponent’s backhand corner to take a game. Because she shouted “come on” before contact was made by the opponent, the point was rescinded. She called the umpire a “hater” and “very unattractive inside.” She went on to lose that match and refused to shake her opponent’s hand afterwards.

Many celebrities, including women’s tennis legend Billie Jean King, have come out in support of Williams. In a tweet on Saturday night after the finals, King claimed, “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, Serena Williams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”

Former fourth ranked men’s tennis player James Blake admited in a tweet after the match, “I have said worse and not gotten penalized. And I’ve also been given a ‘soft warning’ by the ump where they tell you knock it off.”

Additionally, former number one men’s tennis player Andy Roddick expressed his feelings on the match with a tweet during game-time stating: “Worst refereeing I’ve ever seen …… the worst !!!”

Serena Williams may not have won the match, but she definitely got her point across and has stirred up controversy. And she does not seem to be backing down as she hopes to spread her message on sexism and racism in her sport and on a global scale.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Serena Williams U.S. Open Controversy Highlights Sexist, Possibly Racist, Nature of Sport”

  1. Ari Silver on September 12th, 2018 12:06 pm

    I like tennis too.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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Serena Williams U.S. Open Controversy Highlights Sexist, Possibly Racist, Nature of Sport