New York, Former world number one Serena Williams was the centre of all attention at Flushing Meadows despite having lost the US Open final to young Japanese rising star Naomi Osaka (6-2, 6-4) in a match mired in controversies and penalties.
Wiliams, who failed to clinch her seventh US Open title and 24th Grand Slam, directly accused the chair umpire, Portuguese Carlos Ramos, of sexism during a post-match press conference Saturday, reports Efe news.
Ramos called out three violations against Williams in the second set: the first being a warning about receiving coaching, the second a penalty point for racket destruction and the third another penalty for verbal abuse for calling him a “thief.”
“He took a point from me. He alleged that I was cheating, and I wasn’t cheating. Then I had a good conversation with him. I said, Listen, you know my character. You know me really well. I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose,” Williams said.
“Then when I sat down, I said it again (…) I can understand what you saw because it may have looked (…) like I was getting coaching, but I’m telling you, that’s not what I do,” she added
The younger of the Williams sisters claimed that male tennis players go unpunished even when they argue and use bad words on court all the time.
“I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things. 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,'” said Williams at the press conference.
Williams then argued that her protest could serve as an example for people who have emotions and want to express them with total freedom.
“I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions, and that want to express themselves, and want to be a strong woman. They’re going to be allowed to do that because of today. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person,” said Williams.