Serena Williams has accused an umpire of sexism and treating her more harshly than men as she used a press conference to double down on her earlier on-court tirade at the official during her US Open final defeat to Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
Williams was cited by official Carlos Ramos for three code violations during her 6-2, 6-4 loss to the 20-year-old Osaka on Saturday: for getting coaching signals; for breaking her racket, which cost her a point; and for calling the chair umpire a thief, which cost her a game.
2018 US Open press conference: Serena Williams says I don’t need to cheat to win
But despite the match penalties, she renewed her attack at a media conference later.
“I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things,” she said. “I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief’, and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. 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.”
Earlier, as Williams pleaded her case on court with tournament referee Brian Earley, calling the penalties unfair, she said: “Because I’m a woman, you’re going to take this away from me?”
The two-times Australian Open champion and two-times US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka backed up Williams’ stance, writing on Twitter: “If it was men’s match, this wouldn’t happen like this. It just wouldn’t.”
Billie Jean King, who won 12 grand slam singles titles and helped found the women’s tennis tour and pave the way for equal prize money in the sport, also commented via Twitter on what happened on Saturday.
“Several things went very wrong during the US Open women’s finals today,” King wrote. “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.”
Williams’ supporters could point to recent examples of how tennis has treated women differently to men.
Same umpire accused Venus of cheating in 2016 gave her a coaching violation because of it.
So when I say there is racial bias, please stop denying the obvious.
This is disgusting. Serena knew exactly what was happening and fought for the truth. #USOpen