Serena Williams calls umpire a 'liar' and a 'thief' after game penalty in dramatic US Open final defeat
On Sunday, Naomi Osaka's win at the US Open was unfortunately overshadowed by an argument that took place on court between Serena Williams and the umpire. This transpired after Williams made code violations for receiving coaching gestures and breaking her racket after misplaying a shot.
However, her outburst on the court, in which she called umpire Carlos Ramos a "liar and a thief" for stealing her point, only made things worse for the tennis star.
Initially, she received a code violation for coaching, after her coach Patrick Mouratoglou gave gestures during the game. Coaching during the game is against guidelines, but as Mouratoglou later added, these simple hand gestures are common in the sport. Williams remains adamant that she did not see the gestures.
"I just texted Patrick, like, 'what is he talking about?' Because we don't have signals," she later added. "We have never discussed signals."
The part of the match that has gone viral is footage of Williams arguing with Ramos, after he punished her for calling him a "thief".
She was given a game penalty for the remark, which angered her even more. Tennis players are known to passionately argue against rulings, with plenty of players in the past calling umpires far worse things than Serena did that day without punishment.
The crowd, and a large portion of the online commenters, were on Williams' side:
Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post summed up the pro-Serena response perfectly in her article, writing:
"Williams abused her racket, but Ramos did something far uglier: He abused his authority. Champions get heated — it’s their nature to burn. All good umpires in every sport understand that the heart of their job is to help temper the moment, to turn the dial down, not up, and to be quiet stewards of the event rather than to let their own temper play a role in determining the outcome.
"Instead, Ramos made himself the chief player in the women’s final. He marred Osaka’s first Grand Slam title and one of Williams’s last bids for all-time greatness. Over what? A tone of voice. Male players have sworn and cursed at the top of their lungs, hurled and blasted their equipment into shards, and never been penalized as Williams was in the second set of the U.S. Open final."
This is a response that Serena echoed, as she later referred to the incident as sexist, claiming Ramos' response would have been far different with a male player. Rather than simply referring to the punishment as sexist in itself, her criticism comes from the fact that male tennis players have gotten away with far worse in the past without so much as a slap on the wrist.
"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."
While many have criticised Williams for the outburst overshadowing Osaka's victory, Serena was quick to praise her opponent and show remorse that the game was marred by the penalty she was given.
She even praised Osaka for achieving her first grand slam and instructed the crowd not to boo her simply for the decisions of the umpire. The moment must have been overwhelming for Osaka, who was celebrating a huge victory - but one that was unfortunately complicated by the decisions made on court.
To add insult to injury, it was revealed that the US Open fined Williams $17,000 for the three code violations during her loss in the final, according to the United States Tennis Association.