Serena Williams has been fined nearly $24,000 by the US Open for her three code violations during Saturday’s women’s singles final, capping off what many tennis fans have described as severely unfair treatment of the 23-time Grand Slam winner.
Williams, who lost the match to Japan’s Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-4, was initially warned by court umpire Carlos Ramos after he deemed hand-signals given from Williams’ coach in the stands breached the rules.
She verbally disputed that warning. Soon after, she smashed her racquet in frustration after fudging a shot. Ramos penalised her by notching a point in Osaka’s favour.
A clearly frustrated Williams then had a verbal altercation with Ramos, in which she called him a “thief” for the penalty. Ramos then made the call to punish Williams by awarding a full game to Osaka.
Video shows her disputing her treatment with chief ref Brian Earley and supervisor Donna Kelso, and the runner-up voiced her opinion that the treatment she received on the court would not have been levelled against a male player in the same circumstances.
Serena Williams after getting penalized because she called judge a "thief" "There;s a a lot of men who have said things and because they are men nothing happens to them"….pic.twitter.com/Vr9WTspqFw— gifdsports (@gifdsports) September 8, 2018
In a statement, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) said it slugged Williams $5,600 for the coaching infraction, $4,200 for smashing her racquet, and $14,000 for the verbal altercation with Ramos.
Critics, including Williams, say the incident is one of several recent examples of sexism in the sport.
Everyone should listen to this from Serena Williams. pic.twitter.com/TF03dhpq2P— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) September 8, 2018
The infringements come not long after Williams was barred from wearing her bodysuit at the French Open for some pretty flimsy reasons, and days after Alizé Cornet was penalised for removing and adjusting her shirt during a match – while Novak Djokovic was allowed to practically bask shirtless during his win over Australia’s John Millman.
The US Open later apologised to Cornet, but the USTA says Ramos’ decision here will not be reviewed.
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Image: Tim Clayton / Corbis / Getty Images