The total fines handed out to her meant little, but by not settling down and resuming play, it brought out her other self, and action by the ITF did not support her
By Arnie Leshin
In the aftermath of Sunday night’s Serena Williams versus the chair umpire Carlos Ramos and questioning the rules in the two sets of the US Open Tennis women’s singles championship she lost to Naomi Osaka of Japan, the International Tennis Federation did not hesitate to make its call on Monday morning.
The Federation stood by Ramos, who dealt Williams not one, not two, but three violations that stirred Williams up and had her ranting and raving to Ramos. First, she called him this and that, then slammed and shattered her racket, and when she again told Ramos how she felt, the three violations cost her an important point and she never let up in the 6-2, 6-4 setback for the six-time US Open champion.
It began when Ramos informed Williams that her coach sent her illegal signals from his seat. Despite her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitting he did do this, Williams stormed off the court and spent about 20 minutes defending herself by tearing into the umpire.
But the Federation issued a statement saying that Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis, that his decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and was re-affirmed by the US Open’s decision to fine Mrs. Williams for the three offenses.
Included was Williams being fined a total of $17,000 by US Open tournament officials — $10,000 for verbal abuse of an umpire, $4,000 for the coaching allegations and another $3,000 for the broken racket.
Williams contented that Ramos treated her outburst differently from her male counterparts, and did not deserve to be treated like this.
The ITF’s unilateral support for Ramos comes as arguably the greatest women’s tennis player in history being subjected to racist and sexist political cartoons for her on-court behavior. It was Williams who called Ramos a racist and sexist.
Said Martina Navratilova, another of the Hall of Fame elite players: “I have to say that Selena went too far, that enough was enough. Rules are rules and she must realize that rules aren’t changed for her or anyone else. This was wrong time, wrong place.”
Paying these fines means little to the multi-millionaire, now 37, and married with a 1-year-old daughter, but showing her other side while losing was not worth it. Sure, the packed house booed the violations and supported Williams, but they don’t make the rules.