Serena Williams has been slapped with a hefty fine for three code violations after launching into an epic outburst at an umpire during her US Open final match.
The 36-year-old tennis pro accused umpire Carlos Ramos of sexism and branded him a “thief” in a furious row on the court, but while many defended her, she’s now been hit with serious backlash from others who claim she went too far.
Now, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) has reportedly announced the sports star will be fined $US17,000 (AU$23,920) for the code violations, which included US$10,000 for “verbal abuse”, US$4000 for being warned for coaching and US$3000 for smashing her racket, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Serena was beaten by Naomi Osaka, 20, with a final score of 6-2 6-4. However, it was her row with the umpire that caught the most attention.
It began at the beginning of the first set when Osaka handed Williams her first code violation for getting instructions from her coach.
Denying she had received instructions, Williams started to get agitated, first protesting the violation before throwing her racquet on the ground. This led to the second code violation and a one point reduction from Ramos.
This only angered Williams more as she called the umpire a thief for taking the point away.
“I have never cheated in my life,” she said while on court. “I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her. I’ve never cheated and you owe me an apology.
“You will never be on another court of mine as long as you live. Say it. Say you’re sorry. And you stole a point from me. You’re a thief.”
Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou later admitted he was coaching, and according to People magazine, he said: “I’m honest, I was coaching. I don’t think she looked at me so that’s why she didn’t even think I was.”
He added: “But I was like 100 percent of the coaches in 100 percent of the matches, so we have to stop this hypocritical thing… Sascha [Bajin, Osaka’s coach] was coaching every point, too.”
Following the outburst, Ramos docked a game from Williams, leaving the score at 3-5. From there Williams could not recover and Osaka claimed her victory.
Defending her outburst during the emotion-filled match, the talented mother has come out swinging, saying she is fighting for women’s right and equality.
“For me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported she said.
“He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief’. For me it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us to have equal – like Cornet should be able to take off her shirt without getting a fine. This is outrageous.”
It got a mixed response from spectators, but US tennis legend Billie Jean King shared her support on Twitter, writing: “Several things went very wrong during the @usopen Women’s Finals today. Coaching on every point should be allowed in tennis. It isn’t, and as a result, a player was penalized for the actions of her coach. This should not happen.
(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
“When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalised 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.”
However, others claimed she went too far accusing the umpire of sexism, with one Twitter user writing: “All jokes aside, from @HillaryClinton to @serenawilliams – self-proclaimed ‘feminists’ continue to embarrass America upon the world stage. It’s not inspiring to watch women whine, cry and excuse themselves when they come up short. Be Better. Work Harder.”