Roger Federer finally speaks out on Serena Williams' outburst at the US Open
In September, Naomi Osaka's win at the women's finals at the US Open was somehow not the focus of the tennis world's attention, as it was trumped by an argument that took place on the court. Serena Williams, after making several minor code violations, became enraged at the umpire for repeatedly deducting her points.
Her initial violations were for allegedly receiving coaching gestures from the crowd (which she has firmly denied) and for breaking her racket after missing a shot. During her outburst on the court, Williams called umpire Carlos Ramos a "liar and a thief".
After this remark, she was given a game penalty, which frustrated her further. Given the sport's many instances of players passionately arguing over points, her anger then became about how she was being treated differently rather than her violations.
In the verbal spat, she demanded an apology, before telling Ramos that she would "never cheat to win and would rather lose". Much of the crowd was on Serena's side, as were many commenters online - with many claiming that her behaviour wouldn't have been so harshly criticised and penalised if she were a man.
This was a response that Serena agreed with as she spoke about the incident after the match, though she made sure to still act cordially towards Osaka after the game.
"I've seen other men call other umpires several things and I'm here, fighting for women's rights and women's equality, and for me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game? It made me feel like it was a sexist remark," she said in a post-match interview. "He's never taken a game from a man because he said 'thief' - for me it blows my mind."
Being a huge deal in the sport, there was bound to come a time when Roger Federer was asked to weigh in on the incident and the subsequent debate. Federer, who is probably one of the calmest players on the court, spoke to the Sunday Times, telling the publication that he believes that she "went too far".
"I feel like Serena should have walked away," he told the Sunday Times. "She did, but she went too far. She should have walked earlier." However, he did say that her actions were "a little bit excusable".
"The umpire maybe should not have pushed her there," he added. "It's unfortunate, but an incredible case study."
In the same interview, he also spoke about the other controversy involving Serena from earlier this year. After some debate over her and other female players' attire on the courts, it was announced in September that she would be banned from wearing a black catsuit at future French Opens.
The 20-time Grand Slam singles champion said:
"What was the problem with taking the shirt off or the catsuit?"
"Serena has worn crazier stuff in the past. Guys have worn crazier stuff. For me it was all a bit of nonsense.
"I was totally on the women's side. Leave them alone."
Seeing as this is one of the most accomplished and cool-headed players in the sports history, maybe his opinion does hold some weight, and we should just "leave them alone".