Serena Williams stepped on the court for the US Open with too many controversies around her. The tennis star has been the target of sexism, racism and what not throughout her career but she has always welcomed them with a smile and answered them all with her talent.
The cat-suit ban had caused quite some stir before the start of the US Open and now we have another one to be added — The US Open Women’s Singles Final.
The 20-year-old Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams in the final of the competition. But neither of Naomi or Serena looked happy about the event.
Naomi became the first Japan tennis player to win a Grand Slam.
What was the controversy?
The match umpire Carlos Ramos penalised Serena thrice citing code violations:
First time for receiving coaching. The second time it was for smashing the racquet on the court and the third one for verbally abusing the match umpire. She has also been fined $17,000.
Here is what the ITF Grand Slam rules say-
– Verbal abuse is defined as a statement about an official, opponent, sponsor, spectator or other people that implies dishonesty or is derogatory insulting or otherwise.
– Abuse of racquets or equipment is defined as intentionally, dangerously and violently destroying or damaging racquets.
– Players shall not receive coaching during a match (including the warm-up). Communications of any kind, audible or visible, between a player and a coach may be construed as coaching.
In that case, there is nothing wrong with the umpire decision. But what is called into question is the sexism. There have been many instances where male tennis players have done the same but on most of the occasions, they have all gotten away with nothing more than a warning. However, the same wasn’t the case here.
Chris Evert, an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, said Ramos should have used common sense. “Because of the big occasion – finals, the score, a game penalty – he should have warned her,” the American said.
Former champion Billie Jean King thanked Williams via social media for making the overdue point, tweeting: “When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s ‘outspoken’ & there are no repercussions. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”
Here is how Serena reacted to the umpire’s decisions during the on-going match:
“I didn’t get coaching. You need to make an announcement that I don’t cheat. You owe me an apology,” she told.
“I have never cheated in my life. I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her. I have never cheated.”
“You stole a point from me. You are a thief”.
Sadly, for Osaka, what should’ve been the shiniest moments of her life wasn’t the same. A moment where every champion sheds tears to the applauding crowd, Naomi shed her tears to boos and jeers. Nevertheless, Serena Willaims, the woman herself, stood up for her counterpart and asked the crowd, not to boo.
“Let’s not boo anymore,” she pleaded. “Congratulations Naomi. No more booing.” And yes, the crowd responded as they welcomed Naomi Osaka with cheers when she took over the mic.
No matter what, the fact that Naomi is a winner and Serena is a fighter would never change. Way to go ladies!