Japan’s Naomi Osaka beat Williams on Saturday in a Grand Slam showdown that ended in tears for both players — for different reasons. What was supposed to be a fairy-tale matchup for Osaka and the player she idolizes spun out of control after Williams was handed code violations that she described as unfair.
The U.S. Open hit Williams with fines totaling $17,000 for three violations, the U.S. Tennis Association said Sunday.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion has faced racist attacks for most of her career, and after the match Saturday, she said she believes sexism is rampant in the sport.
Here’s a look back at some recent times sexism has been called out on the tennis court:
Serena calls the umpire a ‘thief’
Williams accused umpire Carlos Ramos of sexism after she was handed a series of code violations during Saturday’s match.
Ramos first gave Williams a code violation warning for coaching after he ruled that her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, gave her hand signals from the stands.
Then she got a point penalty for smashing her racket, followed by a game penalty for verbal abuse after she confronted the umpire.
“You stole a point from me and you are a thief,” Williams told Ramos prompting the game penalty ruling.
At a news conference following her loss, Williams said she’s seen male players 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,” she said.
“He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief.’ For me it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women,” Williams said.
Billie Jean King, a tennis legend and equal rights advocate, agreed with her.
“When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, Serena Williams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same,” King tweeted.
For Christine Brennan, a CNN sports analyst, the clashes between Williams and the umpire show that women are not being treated equally in the tennis world.
“We know that there’s quite a history to it. Think of John McEnroe, think of Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi. These men all berated chair umpires, famously so. Commercials have been made. McEnroe has done, ‘you can’t be serious’ and all the other tirades, top of his lungs over the years and none of them received a game penalty,” Brennan said.
“Would he (umpire) have done that with a man? History has said, no. He would not have done that with a man.”
Retired US tennis star Andy Roddick tweeted, “I’ve regrettably said worse and I’ve never gotten a game penalty.”