Tennis Umpires Fear 'No One Has Their Back' After Serena Williams Controversy

Naomi Osaka

A much more sinister plotline came from Serena's controversial penalization at Saturday's women's final against Naomi Osaka, with the 23-time Grand Slam victor accusing chair umpire Carlos Ramos of sexism. "They feel that no one has their back when they have to make unpopular calls".

In the women's final, Ramos issued Williams three code violations: a coaching warning, a point penalty for racquet abuse, and then verbal abuse when Williams finished extended complaints by calling him a "thief", docking her a game.

Williams was unhappy at the violation call and complained to Ramos she hadn't taken any signals.

The International Tennis Federation offered support for Ramos on Monday evening, saying in a statement: "Mr Ramos's decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were reaffirmed by the US Open's decision to fine Ms Williams for the three offences".

And the judge at the heart of the controversy, chair umpire Carlos Ramos, has said only that he is "fine" and is in a "delicate position".

After the match, Twitter users and tennis commentators alike said the penalties assessed to Williams were excessively harsh, and some said they may have reflected sexism and racism in tennis officiating.

Of his social-media commentators, he added: "I tried to reply to these people but they just don't listen".

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An Australian cartoonist has come under withering criticism for portraying tennis superstar Serena Williams using - what Harry Potter author JK Rowling described as - "racist and sexist tropes".

The Times of London reports that there is a growing consensus that umpires are considering boycotting matches played by Williams.

(Supplied)Naomi Osaka chats with Ellen DeGeneres about her win at the US Open women's final. The WTA issued a statement that appeared to side with Williams' accusation of sexism, saying the same standards should be applied to men and women and "We do not believe this was done last night".

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) also supported Williams' claims, while Billie Jean King, founder of the WTA and victor of 12 grand slam singles titles, told CNN Tuesday that though Williams was "out of line", Ramos had aggravated the situation.

There is a lot of unhappiness in the umpiring community because no one is standing up for officials.

Her comments mark a change of heart after King initially backed the 23-time grand clam champion, tweeting after the final: "When a woman is emotional, she's "hysterical" and she's penalised for it".

He is still set to officiate a Davis Cup match this Friday between the United States and Croatia.

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