Written by Dr Jim Tunney on September 19, 2018
On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS September 17, 2018, #710…Serena!
After further review…It was certainly an unfortunate occurrence in the Women’s final tennis match on September 8, 2018, in the U.S. Open tournament played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, New York City.
Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams 6-2 6-4 to be the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam tournament. Williams came from the 17th seed to advance to the finals and was heavily favored as well as being the 27,000-fan favorite. Osaka, seeded 20th, was clearly the underdog.
The confusion (AKA controversy) happened in the second set. While most experts agree Osaka was playing better than Williams, it was Williams that, in frustration of losing her serve, smashed her racquet on the ground at her baseline, destroying that equipment – a violation. Chair umpire Dr. Carlos Ramos immediately issued a violation for that act. It was the second violation for Williams in that set. The first was for a “coaching” violation from her coach sitting in the stands. Most observers agree that Serena did not see the coaching act by her coach, Patrick Mouratogula, but Ramos did. More on coaching in tennis later.
With the smashing of the racquet, her second violation, Umpire Ramos gave a point to Osaka. Williams lost her composure and accused Ramos that she was cheating. “I don’t cheat,” said Serena. That’s not the point. The coaching violation was admitted by Mouratogula. Others commit coaching violations and some chair umpires ignore it. Ramos was only following tennis rules. Could he have ignored it, perhaps? Was he wrong in enforcing it? No! Ramos is a 54-year-old gastroenterologist from Miami. Did he issue those warnings and the ultimate loss of a game for Serena because he was prejudice against women? The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has supported Ramos and has fined Williams $17,000 for her behavior.
Not in defense of Ramos – but until you have sat in that chair and had to make those calls, be careful of your criticism. Having worked in that capacity for World Team Tennis, created by Billie Jean King, some 40 years ago, I can attest that women and men were treated alike. It is a lame excuse to say that men can berate the umpire, but women cannot. This writer doesn’t buy that. Having been berated by Romanian Ilie Nastase in WTT and penalizing him for his egregious on-court behavior, I can attest to that. Had Coach Patrick been courtside during Serena’s outburst, he might have settled her down and prevented the chaos. Let coaches sit courtside!
Will you log-in: do you think Serena was penalized because of gender or race or behavior?
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