Serena Williams has spoken with the media for the first time since her controversial US Open final loss to Naomi Osaka, denying that her coach gave her on-court assistance during the match – an infringement for which she was penalised, and which served as turning point in the second set.
Speaking to The Project’s Lisa Wilkinson, Williams disputed the claim from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou that he “made a motion” at the 23-time Grand Slam winner.
“He said he made a motion,” she said.
“I don’t understand what he was talking about. We’ve never had signals.”
Later in the match, Williams labelled umpire Carlos Ramos a “thief” for penalising her over a smashed racquet. That remark itself resulted in an entire game being awarded to Osaka.
When questioned over her remark, and subsequent comments that a male tennis player would not have been penalised to the same extent for the same outbursts, Williams said “I just don’t understand… if you’re a female you should be able to do even half of what a guy can do.”
Williams’ treatment on the court and the subsequent debate surrounding her response has sparked a broader discussion of the double standards faced by women more broadly, and even spurred that flagrantly racist cartoon.
The full interview will be aired on The Project this Sunday night.