Umpires might refuse to officiate Serena Williams’ matches until she ‘apologizes’

Naomi Osaka Wins US Open

People haven’t talked this much about tennis since… I don’t even know when. Even if you disagreed with every single word and argument in favor of Serena Williams, surely you have to admit that Serena brings SO much global attention to a sport which already has millions of fans around the world, and that’s a good thing. It’s also a good thing that this isn’t purely a conversation about tennis, just as it’s a good thing that the conversation isn’t being merely dominated by the white men who make the rules for tennis. The Serena Williams-US Open final conversation is larger than that – it’s about race, sexism, her personal history at this tournament, her history in the sport and how so many women identified with Serena, and feel like they’re punished for being passionate, for being angry, for not following the unwritten rules of “how a lady should behave.” Rebecca Traister wrote an incredible piece on Serena and her anger, and how that anger has been weaponized against her.

Speaking of anger and the racist tropes weaponized against Serena, this is what an Australian cartoonist did:

This is disgusting. And the fact that there are so many people going “what, why is this racist?” is part of the f–king problem too. Also part of the problem? A historically white sport making moves to shun and otherize Serena in the future.

An anonymous official told The Times that there was a growing consensus that umpires were not supported by the USTA on several occasions, and that Carlos Ramos was thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it. Umpires are discussing whether they could take action to stand up for their profession. One suggestion being floated is to refuse any match assignments involving Williams until she apologises for vilifying Ramos and calling him a “liar” and a “thief”.”

[From Eurosport]

Poor bro got his feelings hurt when Serena rightly called him out for sexism and when she demanded to be treated equally as the Roger Federers and Rafael Nadals of the same sport. So now all the bros are going to band together and refuse to officiate Serena’s matches until she apologizes for… losing her temper. For being justifiably angry. For shining a spotlight on the double-standards in this sport. This nonsense, my God.

US Open Women's Singles Final

Photos courtesy of Backgrid and Avalon Red.

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197 Responses to “Umpires might refuse to officiate Serena Williams’ matches until she ‘apologizes’”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    Absolute and total BS. UGH.

    • Bella DuPont says:

      Apologies my ass. Serena can quit and let the women’s games return to the doldrums.

      • Sunglasses Aready says:

        If this rumour is true, this will now be seen as plain old racism.

        Any institution that practices inconsistances will eventually disappear.

      • Mac says:

        Serena is the GOAT. They should be honored to ref her matches. Getting paid to watch her play is an effing dream job.

      • FF says:

        @ Bella Dupont

        Serena should quit because other people are assholes that are trying to microaggressively push her out of the sport?

        How about no.

      • Bella DuPont says:

        @ FF

        Lol….fair enough.

        @Serena…….if these a-holes follow through and refuse to umpire your matches, just let me know and I’ll step in, no problem.

        As long as you give me a couple of weeks notice in advance, I’ll sort you out a treat. Plus, guess who would win *every* match then? 😉😉😘😘

      • Still_Sarah says:

        I don’t think the umpires are going anywhere – i.e. to boycott Serena Williams. Unless I have seriously underestimated the power that support staff have. Because then the tournament people could just hire more umpires to replace the ones who aren’t willing to work on matches with Serena.

    • Pandy says:

      Even male tennis players are saying they’ve said worse and had a soft warning … so this is just BS. Won’t happen.

      • Rhys says:

        I don’t watch tennis much, but what were the instances of male players saying the same or worse and getting away with it? Have Nadal and the rest of them insulted an umpire?

      • diana says:

        @rhys Fognini called an umpire “cocksucker” just couple of months ago. Jack Sock called a FEMALE umpire “atrocious” and berated her throughout the match. He even yelled that he can do whatever he wants as a player because she wouldn’t be here without him. He then went to the toilet without asking for permission.
        An american player (Donaldson IIRC) called an umpire “criminal” in May of this year.
        In 2009 Federer (huge fan of his) at the us open final was dropping the f word left and right.
        Nadal threatened TWO umpires (one of them is Carlos Ramos!!) that they’ll never officiate his matches. Serena does the same in a moment of anger and headlines say that she threatened the livelihood of the man.
        Novak broke a chair in the US open couple of years ago. He regularly swears at people in the crowd for booing him as well.
        Canadian player threw a ball in anger straight to the face of an umpire and it required a surgery.
        Never forget that Marat Safin (again, huge fan) climbed to the umpire‘s chair once because of a bad call.

        All of those incidents are very recent. Didn’t hear a sound about any umpire avoiding any of those players.

        It’s also interesting that when female umpires get vilified there are no think pieces about their treatment. Past players are not writing columns about it for the NYT. There were no calls for boycotting players and forming umpires union.
        It’s all so very interesting when it comes to Serena.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        @Diana: Damn. I don’t follow tennis but what Serena Williams said is tame compared to a lot of the things those male players said and did. Thanks for bringing those up.

      • A says:

        @Diana, also Andy Murray at one point said that Carlos Ramos’ umpiring was “stupid” and the man misheard what he said and thought that Murray called *him* stupid and gave him a game penalty. Andy Murray found him during the break and told him that he was saying “stupid umpiring” not “stupid umpire” but that if Ramos wanted to make the show about himself and not about the game or the players, he was welcome to do that too.

        The signs and existing evidence point to a man who operates on this principle that he is the most important person in the stadium, not the players. And that he has the authority to penalize people on a personal level if he’s unhappy with them. Carlos Ramos is not special. The only reason these umpires are trying to blackball Serena is because she called them out for their racism, publicly, and they didn’t like that.

      • Pippi says:

        Sharapova at AO Grand Slam tournament to umpire: “Are you fucking kidding me?”
        Maria at FO to the crowd: “Allez, up your fucking ass.”
        Nobody seemed to mind, and no punishments followed. The commentators seemed to be amused and cheered up by profanity use.
        Serena was too emotional during the match for her own good, but absolutely does not deserve this media circus.

      • Addison says:

        Exactly! How many times did I not see the male diva John McEnroe bash a racket and throw tantrums and no ref ever was all like “I’m indignant I was treated so…” Please! Other men since have behaved worse than Serena. No one was clutching their pearls. Is it a case of how dare a Woman speak to me this way? Or is it how dare a black person, and a woman at that speak to me like that?

        This is just so gross. I’m surprised the Rump has not weighed in on this.

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      I don’t ever want to be threatened for doing my job which was what Serena did. There is context etc but that is what she did.

      Being the GOAT does not change the fact that she was all day wrong.

      Our acceptance that she has the right to threaten an umpire for doing his job is part of the problem.

      The behaviour of tennis players needs to be looked at by World Tennis. Expecting certain players to be treated differently because of their status or prior difficulties is too much to place on each individual umpire.
      All tennis players need to do better, Serena included

      • Muttonchop says:

        The issue is that she’s been held to a higher standard and being made an example of for behavior that she’s not the first to exhibit. Sure, maybe she could have handled it differently but that doesn’t justify her being penalized and demonized more than male or white players who have done the same, if not worse. Women and POC are constantly required to be better and try harder than their white male counterparts and given far less latitude to make a mistake. It’s bullshit and Serena is right to call a spade a spade.

      • horseandhound says:

        amen to that. it’s nice to hear the voice of reason.

      • Lorelei says:

        @Ronald I’m sorry but if you’ve been following this story for four days now and still don’t see the issue, that’s just willful ignorance on your part. It has been explained many times, and well, by people who know what they’re talking about.

        I’m generally not even a Serena fan but this treatment of her is absolute BULLSH!T. That cartoon was beyond disgusting and these umpires are acting like spoiled toddlers.

      • Jamie says:

        Serena is far from the first person to say she won’t accept a particular umpire at one of her matches.
        Nadal did the same thing a couple of years ago.

        A quote from the article: “The Association of Tennis Professionals confirmed on Tuesday that the situation was far from unique, as supervisors at each event take into account requests from both players and umpires when they draw up the officials’ schedules.”

        It happens all the time, these “threats” you’re so concerned about.
        Gee, I wonder why they’ve suddenly decided to protest about it? hmm

      • Ronaldinhio says:

        Lorelei I am not going to be schooled on something actually none of you can speak on with any greater knowledge than me – you can have points of view but those hold no greater weight than mine
        Saying but what about means nothing. She should do better.
        Serena is a once in a lifetime talent. It has been difficult for her. She also inhabits her GOAT status very comfortably.
        She showed a real lack of judgement and was justly penalised.
        She threatened the umpire and this isn’t her first incident of being grim to people simply going about their job on a tennis court
        This for me and for once isn’t about anything other then her temper. I was embarrassed to support her. I was embarrassed she tried to make it about anything other then it was. As a mother…come on…
        If she is so damaged by world tennis I suggest she see a therapist rather than pass her pain around.

        She holds all the power now and she is acting in an entitled manner. These rules don’t work against me, apologise, say sorry to me…you’ll never umpire for me again
        Big old no from me

      • Addison says:

        Exactly Muttonchop. If you are a minority it’s like you should be honered to just be playing and shouldn’t complain. It’s insulting.

  2. Jess says:

    F those umps. If they seriously do this it proves just how racist and sexist the whole system is. Serena should just start how own tennis tourneys. She’s the only reason I watch tennis.

  3. Emily says:

    She is so powerful in this sport that she could threaten not to come back until the umpire apologizes. Why would they risk the ratings and fans?

    • Sarah says:

      Apologize for what, though? Giving her a code violation for the illegal coaching even her coach admits occurred?

      • Meemow says:

        Thank you for bringing some sense into the outrage. She cheated. When she was penalized for cheating, she had the exact reaction of someone who was embarrassed they got caught. It’s interesting to me that she has not addressed the fact that her coach admitted he was coaching her when he was not supposed to.

        Name calling is never professional in a work environment. I can understand her frustration (though self inflicted since she WAS being coached) and breaking her racket. But the 3rd violation was for abusive language and I think it was the right call. I couldn’t call someone at my work a liar and a thief without their being consequences. And if I already had 2 warnings and knew the consequences of a 3rd infraction, I’d sure watch my tongue.

        I understand that men get away with similar behavior and Serena was treated unfairly compared to what a man would have faced. But here’s an idea – instead of stooping to their level and being angry that they can be unprofessional raging name callers without consequences, why not raise the standard for behavior for all tennis players and set an example of professional behavior in the face of unfair treatment? I know it’s not her job to fight this issue alone and she’s making important points. But basically saying “yeah, I behaved badly but everyone else does too” is childish and not a good look.

      • Pineapple says:

        Sara … I disagree with you. She was entitled to be angry. She was called out, in a Final, for something that happens ALWAYS and is never called. It is NOT okay.

        Meemow, WHY are the women expected to be the paragons of Grace and patience? She got angry, as many of her top male co-workers have. She is punished like no other woman in this sport. Anger is intelligent and justified in this situation.

      • Marty says:

        Let me get this straight, it’s not her job to take the high road every single time she feels she’s being treated unfairly, but she should still do it so that tennis as a whole will somehow be magically elevated?

        Whew…the ignorance. Just say you don’t like seeing a black woman stand up for herself and go.

      • Meemow says:

        Pineapple – I don’t appreciate your insinuation that I am racist. It is not her job alone to elevate behavior in tennis – she is responsible for her reactions alone, as we all are. I work in healthcare and I have been called disgusting names by male coworkers, as recently as last week. But I take the high road and would never stoop to their level. If I did, I would face the repercussions of my actions, not point the finger and say “but he did it first!”

        I think at the core I’m offended that she is saying she is defending women with this behavior. I am a woman and she does not represent me if what she is fighting for is fairness in cheating, unprofessional behavior, and name calling at work.

      • Nic919 says:

        She didn’t cheat and that’s what she was telling the ump which got her the third penalty. Her coach may have made a hand signal but Serena was at the other end and couldn’t have seen what he did. The ump was watching her coach and she got punished for her coach’s actions. The rules may penalize the player for a coach’s actions but it still doesn’t mean that the player cheated and it’s a blantant lie to suggest otherwise. This is exactly what she was upset about and why she kept telling the ump she didn’t cheat. We can all pretend that we would be paragons of calmness in this same high pressure situation, but since none of us are tennis professionals in a grand slam we are all talking out of our asses. But you know who has also reacted with emotion this way? Other high level professionals like Nadal, Federer and Djokovic.

      • Americano says:

        They could start by apologizing for inconsistency of officiating. Either the rules apply at all times to every player or not at all. I watch a lot of sports, including tennis, and one of the most frustrating things is inconsistency. It’s extremely frustrating as a sports fan and sometimes discourages me to watch. I’m not even a Serena fan, but I can understand her frustration here. Also, I think people need to stop comparing the sports world to a regular place of work. It’s not the same at all.

      • HeyThere! says:

        I don’t think she cheated. That’s the thing… was her coaches actions that brought the violation on, not hers! I feel for her! It’s a crap situation all the way around. She’s ‘guilty’ by association and I hope she fires that coach. I don’t follow tennis but men get to have their shirts off, while a woman wearing a sports bra can’t flip her shirt around for one second without a violation call? The rules should be the same.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        “But I take the high road and would never stoop to their level.” Oreo, snickerdoodle, or chocolate chip?
        I have to agree with Pineapple and the others. This situation does seem like it was about putting Serena in her place, and I don’t think she should be considered a cheater when this was the decision of her coach. Her frustration seems justified.

      • liriel says:

        Sarah and Mimmow I agree! Why no one says that she broke the rules a few times so he had every right to punish her and after smashing the racquet he had no choice.
        Sexism is a real thing but why do we stoop so low?
        She should admit she was in the wrong AND point out things she points out.
        Yet she acts like she’s innocent!

      • A says:

        There are plenty of players who have stooped far, FAR lower than Serena, and done much greater disservices to the sport than she has. There are people who have said far more atrocious things, who have actually broken the rules, who don’t see a fraction of the blow back that Serena does and did here.

        Carlos Ramos is the same man who penalized Djokovic for throwing a racket, but didn’t penalize Kei Nishikori for doing the exact same thing in the Wimbledon quarter finals this year. His excuse to Djokovic? “I didn’t see him do it so he doesn’t get a penalty.” You trust this man to have dealt with Serena fairly? Really? He called Venus Williams a cheater for the exact same call many years ago as well.

        Why do we not hold every tennis player to the same standard that we expect from Serena Williams? Isn’t that what’s fair? Sharapova still gets a ticket back and she ACTUALLY cheated. John McEnroe blatantly and thoroughly disrespected the sport when he was still playing, to the point where I know people who will turn off the match if he’s commentating because of how repulsive they found his behaviour decades ago. If people want to be fair, let’s start be deplatforming the troglodytes like him who still rattle around in men’s tennis, who are doing more to stoop to levels far beneath the strictures of basic human decency. Let’s be consistent, or at least let’s shut up when people point out inconsistencies like these.

      • Megs says:

        i have been so engrossed in this debate. That argument against Serena is such a common one. But I have to say, even as a rural American white lady, I get it. This argument MEEMOW is making reeks of white privilege. The idea that if you act ‘correctly’ you will be rewarded is just simply not true for a huge number of people around the world. Plus that cartoon and then the defense of that cartoon. Beyond disgusting!

    • Clare says:

      TBH I think many in the sport would be happy if she stopped playing. Her refusing to compete would be a win for those who dislike her.

      I don’t doubt that the sport will survive her retirement, just as it will survive a self imposed exile, if that’s what she chooses (I hope she doesn’t).

      • Bella DuPont says:

        Women’s tennis was the poor, ugly stepsister to men’s tennis until the William sisters. They were instrumental in raising the profile of that part of the sport materially, even as they were being abused, booed and jeered.

        Even in her maternity year away, what happened? A series of little known women nobody cares about won various titles. When Serena retires, the sport will feel it for a while, and they know it.

      • Deering says:

        Down deep, pushing Serena out entirely is what all this is about. And it’s not just a matter of itching for a “new generation” to take over. Ever since she came back from pregnancy leave, she’s been handed one ridiculous blow after another, starting with being ranked down in the hundreds somewhere. And it’s not enough to cost her a Grand Slam—the constant PR drumbeat since then painting her as a spoiled brat diva is a weapon to wreck her legacy.

  4. Mara says:

    I don’t know if it’s the same in tennis but in football (soccer) referees are constantly abused and intimidated often by players who make a lot much more money than them.

    I’m all for referees/umpires standing up for themselves in what is a vital and often thankless job.

    THAT SAID, standing up for yourself should NEVER come at the expense of treating one race/gender etc differently to another.

    • Maum says:

      It’s such a lose- lose situation because technically the umpire followed the rules.

      Saying that if they’re going that route they need to make every single player, male or female, get the same rules consistency.

    • Adee says:


      I take issue with sports people who because of being world famous, think they can disrespect others in their games and talk down to them because of being the “bigger star”

      Don’t know what happened in this match, but verbal abuse, just like physical abuse is a no no in sport or every day life.

      • Kitten says:

        OR maybe she’s just like most of the world’s greatest athletes: she gets hyped up, anxious, excited, and yes sometimes angry while playing her sport. *shrugs*

      • perplexed says:

        “OR maybe she’s just like most of the world’s greatest athletes: she gets hyped up, anxious, excited, and yes sometimes angry while playing her sport. *shrugs*”

        That’s what I think too.

        I think it’s easy to say how we feel someone should behave in a sport, but I don’t necessarily think, if placed under the same pressure and stress, whether I could execute it. I would want to always be graceful in theory — would I be able to actually execute it under that kind of stress? I’m not sure.

      • Veronica S. says:

        Kitten – Or all of the above, with a healthy dose of years of built up frustration over being the recipient of racial and sexist profiling, compounded with back to back incidents of media racism (Sharapova’s book), medical incompetence (nearly dying of blood clots after birth), and blatantly being singled out for testing more than other athletes (with the constant implication that her accomplishments are due to steroids).

        I don’t know what reality y’all live in where any human being can be expected to not eventually get defensive and tired and fed up and sometimes snap. It’s dehumanizing to think black women are somehow different.

  5. BlueSky says:

    Again they keep proving her point about how she is treated differently than other athletes in her sport.
    That cartoon was disgusting and offensive and again proves her point.

  6. grabbyhands says:

    This is so f*cking gross – sexist and racist – that it’s hard to express my outrage. How the right must be rejoicing at this.

    She is being punished for one thing – being an angry black woman. Her male counterparts were lauded back in the day for behavior as bad or worse that happened on a regular basis. But because they’re white men, it’s just a funny story because they’re such “legends”.

  7. Tw says:

    I’m starting to think this is about the record. They don’t want her to get it – to go down on paper as the best ever, even though IMO she’s already there.

    • IlsaLund says:

      I agree. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I truly believe every roadblock possible is being thrown In Serena’s path to prevent her from winning that 24th Grand Slam.

      • Nic919 says:

        Beating the record of well known racist Margaret Court would certainly ruffles some feathers. And her 24 only occurred because few players even bothered to attend the Australian Open prior to the open era. Serena’s 23 was accomplished when all elite players competed at all grand slams.

      • Lilly says:

        +1 Yeah, I’m somewhat of a conspiracy theorist too. Especially on this.

    • Deering says:

      Agreed—I’m convinced they want her gone and her legacy tarnished.

  8. Jess says:

    This just keeps getting worse, and it’s only proving her point! How do those idiots not realize that??!

  9. paranormalgirl says:

    Did they do this to Jimmy Connors? To John McEnroe? No. They were just chuckled at and referred to almost affectionately as “l’enfants terrible”

    • Sarah says:

      You’re going back 30 years on that one. Nick Kyrgios and Fabio Fognini would be better examples. And, yes, they get absolutely hammered for their behavior.

      • perplexed says:

        Have they ever had to apologize. I think they just get fined.

        There was one player several years back who got ejected from Wimbledon, but his behaviour was off-the-charts bad. Serena Williams’ temper is kind of momentary — it doesn’t go on forever like not does with some of the male players of the past. Even when she threw her racket to the ground, I was like “that’s it”. To be honest, I don’t get the whole thing against abusing raquets. I think it’s better to just throw the racket than punch someone in the face.

      • tw says:

        Go watch some recent videos of males players in conflict with umps. You will see umps kissing ass and deescalating the situation.

      • CN says:

        Serena’s behavior pales in comparison to that of Kyrgios and Fognini. Take the time to google what those two had to apologize for and let’s see if there is any similarity to what Serena said. There is none and Serena is right to call out what is a clear double standard.

        The umpire has the discretion to issue warnings and the male players seem to get this allowance a lot, to the point where fines, suspensions, and apologies come only when they have pushed things to the limit. It is not the same for women and for sure not for Serena.

      • perplexed says:

        “Yes, they have. They very much have.”

        But have umpires refused to officiate until an apology is given? Here, they’re not simply asking for an apology. They’re saying she has to apologize or they won’t officiate. I find that a little distinctive in the wording of the request. Perhaps they have done this to other players. but the apology they’re getting will be hollow. If they simply asked for an apology outright without a caveat attached, that would make more sense. If they have to force her to apologize in this particular way, the apology you’re getting won’t even be sincere. To be honest, for the sake of expediency and practicality, I would probably just apologize to get it out of the way, but it’s not like I’d mean it. Years later, I’d write a book, and tell everyone how I simply apologized to keep my career going but didn’t really mean it. And some might disagree with my stance, but others would also understand how we all have to sometimes apologize for things we don’t really agree with just to keep the momentum in our careers going.

        “Breaking a racket is an automatic code violation, for both the men and the women”

        Yes, i know that. But what I’m saying is that I’ve never really gotten the point of the rule. You throw the racquet to the ground, it breaks, and you get a new one. Sometimes it literally breaks on the ground; other times it doesn’t. For some reason people seem to consider it abuse when the racquet actually breaks even though it depends on a stroke of luck for it not to. Everybody moves on. It’s so momentary and the player seems to mentally move on to something else immediately after the deed has been done that, imo, the rule has always struck me as odd.

        Then again, outbursts in tennis generally seem tame compared to what we see in other sports. Sometimes the media will hype up someone’s temper tantrum and then I’ll watch it and I’ll be like “huh — that wasn’t that bad.”

      • Sarah says:

        “The umpire has the discretion to issue warnings and the male players seem to get this allowance a lot…”

        Ramos once gave a male player a code violation for saying “towel” too loud. Are you seriously going to argue he goes easy on the male players? If you are, you’re being willfully ignorant.

      • Birdix says:

        Perplexed, do you mean Jeff Tarango? He told the the crowd to shut up, then told the ref he was the most corrupt in the game. That got him a second code violation, and he stormed off the court. After the match his wife slapped the ref!

      • CN says:

        @Sarah, let’s not make this personal.

        I see you failed to address my comments about Kyrgios and Tonini as regards what they had to apologize for.

        As concerns Ramos and a code violation for saying ‘towel. too loud. Take a moment to think about that and whether that punishment makes sense.

        What I said was that the umpire has discretion on the action he/she chooses to take when it comes to warnings and code violations. This is a fact and cannot be disputed. What can be debated each decision given the context in which it occurs. I’m on Serena’s side on this one and clearly, you’re not, which is fine.

        There are many people that have commented on the leeway that men get on court e.g Billie Jean King has commented on it as has James Blake. James is honest enough to say that he has gotten away with much more stuff than Serena and he would get “soft warnings” where the umpire would ask him to stop otherwise he would get a code violation. The evidence is there, it remains for people to see and acknowledge it for what it is.

      • perplexed says:

        I think systemically overall men are given more leniency. That may be the larger point people are talking about, not necessarily just this individual umpire.

        I don’t know if Ramos himself is sexist, but after reading about the towel violation, I do think his umpiring sounds a little strange, and I’m wondering what goes through his mind when he applies certain rules at his discretion.

      • Sarah says:

        @CN – Well, Fognini had to apologize for name-calling, which is exactly what Serena engaged in. Fognini had to apologize, was fined $96,000, and was suspended for two grand slams. Serena certainly never faced such a harsh punishment, even though her track record includes once threatening to assault a lineswoman.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        That’s because I’m old and don’t watch much tennis any more. I think Serena was out of line, but I also thing the umpire was a little out of balance. As for the threat of refusing to umpire until she apologizes? Just suspend her, then. Don’t punish other players.

      • perplexed says:

        I think Ramos may have unintentionally called attention to his own officiating.

        If he penalized someone for saying towel too loud, that sounds like a power trip. He may not be sexist himself (though I think overall the system is as all systems are), but something else is rather strange about him. And if he’s officiating from a sense of feeling some sense of power or going out of the bounds of what another umpire would do given the same discretion, I think that in turn does make me question how someone else may have umpired the match between Serena Williams and Osaka. It starts to make me look at Ramos as an individual umpire as slightly inefficient or even slightly weird (for lack of a better word). Thus, I think the behaviour of both the tennis player AND the umpire can be analyzed. Maybe this umpire has a personality quirk, but if it’s a quirk that results in so many tennis players having a meltdown with him (I read that Raphael Nadal did) then I would question why he has this position and someone else doesn’t.

      • CN says:

        Ok, I’ll just spell it out for the benefit of everyone. Fognini called a female umpire a “prostitute” only he didn’t use such “polite” language, as well as other names which I cannot type here. Prior to that, he used an ethnic slur to refer to a Serbian opponent.

        As for Kyrgios, he made a remark about Stan Wawrinka’s girlfriend. He told Wawrinka in the middle of a set that another player had “banged his girlfriend”. Kyrgios has done so many other things for which nothing has been done and in certain cases, other people have apologized on his behalf.

        Please tell me that these things compare to Serena calling the umpire a “thief’ given the context that she believed points were being taken away from her unfairly.

        If all those actions are the same to you, then this discussion is pointless. You just refuse to see what is plainly out there for you to see.

      • Nic919 says:

        Kyrgios got a pep talk from an ump during this past US Open tournament and then won the match so even pretending they are treated the same by umpires is a blantant lie. Also calling someone a thief and calling someone a whore are very different. But keep on with the disingenuous comparisons.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        @CN: +1000. Don’t you love it when people disingenuously try to pretend that all name-calling is equal?

      • Dixiebells says:

        I think where a lot of this is coming down for me is sex discrimination vs sexism. Now I’m an employment lawyer so that’s my frame of reference for this. People have been going back and forth for days on finding other examples where men are in the same situation. Sometimes they’re punished, sometimes they’re not. To my reading as an attorney that makes for a wishy washy case of sex discrimination. You have to prove you are being treated differently on the basis of protected class (in this case sex/gender). I don’t know if we’re ever going to have the definitive proof with people just throwing examples that prove their point back and forth. It seems like to me sometimes the umps are strict and nit picky and sometimes they aren’t. Which they should probably work on their consistency. Is the inconsistency always on the basis of sex though? Hard to say.

        However is the fall out and hoopla around sexist? I think absolutely so. This has been a story for days when it often isn’t all that remarked upon in the men’s game. Plus the policing of Serena’s behavior is still continuing. She should apologize she should be classy she has a responsibility to do better. I mean these are repeated tropes that women (and in this case particularly WoC) face in all walks of life. If you’re in the minority you can’t ever put a toe out of line, the standards are higher for you, because you will fall farther if you mess this up.

    • Sarah says:

      “But have umpires refused to officiate until an apology is given?”

      A) Nobody has refused anything.

      B) No umpire has been hung out to dry the way Ramos has.

    • Other Renee says:

      I always thought McEnroe and Connors were an embarrassment to the sport. Throw in Ilie Nastase for that matter. I remember Bjorn Borg telling a story how his father pulled him off the tennis court as a youngster for exhibiting bad behavior. It taught him a lesson about decorum and good sportsmanship. And he was better than all three of those players.

      I think that all players need to be equally penalized for bad court behavior. If in fact that the male players are getting away with it, that needs to change. I loathe bad sportsmanship all around.

    • CN says:

      Ok, I’ll just spell it out for the benefit of everyone. Fognini called a female umpire a “pr0stitute”, only he didn’t use such “polite” language, as well as other names which I cannot type here. Prior to that, he used an ethnic slur to refer to a Serbian opponent.

      As for Kyrgios, he made a remark about Stan Wawrinka’s girlfriend. He told Wawrinka in the middle of a set that another player had “banged his girlfriend”. Kyrgios has done so many other things for which nothing has been done and in certain cases, other people have apologized on his behalf.

      Please tell me that these things compare to Serena calling the umpire a “thief’ given the context that she believed points were being taken away from her unfairly.

      If all those actions are the same to you, then this discussion is pointless. You just refuse to see what is plainly out there for you to see.

      • Veronica S. says:

        And all of our discussion of the issue is pointless when several white, male players have come out and admitted that they’ve said far worse and gotten away with lesser penalties. Inconsistency obviously exists in the first place, and pretending that Serena Williams can magically separate her experiences from a well documented history of racism and sexism is outrageous. The problem is that the industry has allowed these problems has allowed this double standard and these internal prejudices to build up for too long. Ramos’s only misfortune is being in the firing line when Serena Williams finally got fed up.

  10. Brunswickstoval says:

    The herald sun is a trash paper. I’m not surprised but I am appalled. I love JK Rowling calling it out.

  11. Maya says:

    I will cancel Tennis if they do that…

  12. Juls says:

    It’s so true. Any time in my life that I’ve gotten angry and stood up for myself, I’ve been castigated for it. Called to the carpet. Women are supposed to act like “ladies.” Just lay down and take it and swallow your pride and be grateful for being allowed to exist in a man’s world. I’ve been called “girl” so many times in these situations that I’ve lost count. And told to apologize even when I’m in the right. But when a man does it, he’s called courageous and gets promoted. It’s infuriating. But I keep on speaking my mind. It doesn’t mean I’m always right, and I apologize when Im not. But I shouldnt have to apologize for standing up for myself when I am. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment.
    ETA: gaslighting is REAL and happens to me all the time too.

    • otaku fairy... says:

      ‘Women are supposed to act like “ladies.” Just lay down and take it and swallow your pride and be grateful for being allowed to exist in a man’s world.’ This. There are so many different variations of this and you’re right, gaslighting is real.

    • JanetDR says:

      Yep, and I think the expectation is even more so for black women. And for such a visibly powerful black woman, would any apology be enough? How about that ref gets a time out from important matches until he apologizes and shows some consistency?

  13. CN says:

    This is getting crazier by the minute. She’s already been fined, why does she need to do more. They really are trying to make an example out of her but to what end? Is it so that all other women toe the line or what?

    • Xi Tang says:

      Thanks CN. Sarah up there thinks she’s the only one who watches tennis. Much worse has happened during matche. Serena is being singled out. No matter how much I disapprove of her on court behaviour, it is now clear why she feels mistreated in this sport. This literally proves her point.

  14. perplexed says:

    I think it’s a little weird you’re not allowed to disagree with an umpire if you disagree with him on principle. Realistically, I don’t think any umpire could have expected her to agree with him if he gave her a violation and penalized her on a point. That is a situation where I think even the calmest person could get mad. You’re not disagreeing about the weather — you’re disagreeing on something that directly effects your game. I think that is a realistic situation to get angry about and to have a fundamental disagreement about. If you don’t disagree about something like that, you probably don’t care if you win or lose.

    • Sarah says:

      He didn’t penalize her a point, though. She smashed her racket, which is an automatic code violation. Since it was her second violation in the match, she was automatically penalized one point, per the rules. He had no say in her getting penalized a point in that situation – the rules made the decision for him.

      • Tania says:

        Sarah are you related to the umpire?

      • Reese says:

        No she has been shown receipt after receipt of the double standards placed on female tennis players in multiple posts. Refusal to acknowledge any sexism or racism placed upon Serena. She goes back to the same rhetoric. Serena was wrong blah blah blah.
        I’m still waiting for her receipts. So far just blabble.

      • Zoe says:

        Sarah I didn’t watch the game but I watched BBC report on it last night there’s more to it than what you are saying from what they said.
        What they said was that he penalised her twice. Once for arguing and then when she smashed her racket in reaction to that descion.

        With regards to verbal stuff that started it she was definetly treated differenty than the men. BBC show the stats last night she’s the only player who has been penalised for verbal abuse out of all the men and women. There’s defiently a double standard here.

      • perplexed says:

        Regardless, I am of the opinion that an athlete should be allowed to disagree with an umpire’s officiating if they feel it’s on principle.

        Looking at the playback, I can see why she got heated with him. She didn’t get angry for the sake of getting angry — she had an actual philosophical disagreement with what she felt had transpired. In that particular context, I could see even the calmest player getting angry. She wasn’t getting angry about getting called on a foot-fault — she was actually disagreeing with him about the assessment/evaluation he had given her about why he felt a code violation was necessary.

        What I’m saying therefore is that I think there are moments when a player is allowed to disagree with an umpire. Of course, it would be in the athlete’s best interest to calm down (you know, so that they can win)– however, I also don’t think disagreements should never be allowed either when it comes to a situation like the one Williams was in.

      • Derriere says:

        @perplexed This is why the umpire should never have officiated the match. Calling coaching violations when it’s not clear that the player received any coaching is horrendous. Have an umpire or member of the committee walk down to speak to her coach if it is such an issue. Have the opposing player take it up with the ref if they feel it is an issue. The ref taking issue with it is unbelievable because…as you have stated, Serena and Ramos have a fundamentally different take on the events that took place.

        Any person with a passing interest in the rules or the law would be able to understand that.

        He had a bone to pick and he chose the wrong person.

      • Eva says:

        @Zoe She received her first warning for coaching (which she disagreed with, but her coach has admitted), second for smashing her racket which is an automatic code violation and third for the verbal abuse.

        I completely agree with Sarah in this scenario; I do not believe she has been targeted unfairly. She threatened Ramos’ career and called him a thief and a liar, when she was already on two warnings. However, that is not to say there is not sexism and racism in tennis, there absolutely is and Serena has certainly faced the brunt of it (in my mind, there is no way the French Open would have banned Serena’s catsuit had she been white). However, I do not think it is fair to conflate that, along with the abhorrent Australian Cartoon, with Ramos’ decision. Ramos is notoriously a harsh umpire and a stickler for the rules and has run ins with many player, men and women.

        Whether he should have called the coaching violation is certainly debatable, but I don’t believe it was a sexist decision.

      • liriel says:

        Exactly. Why no one says that she broke the rules a few times so he had every right to punish her and after smashing the racquet he had no choice.
        Sexism is a real thing but why do we stoop so low?
        She should admit she was in the wrong AND point out things she points out.
        Yet she acts like she’s innocent!

      • Cranberry says:

        From what I understand he first penalized her for getting coaching when he should have only warned her at most. This is what let to the other infractions. Sports analysts that have been looking at replays don’t think Serena understood that he had actually penalized her because that doesn’t usually happen to any players for that call and never for Serena. This is also what led to Serena incurring two more infractions and not controlling her self before she incurred the 3rd.
        So you can talk about the rules being the rules, but that only refers to the final “official” outcome. It doesn’t mean the way the actual game was handled by the umpire was fair and balanced. In short he forced the initial unjust penalty on Serena, and she reacted thinking it was a warning when it was a penalty where she incurred two more penalties.

  15. Melomelo says:

    Although I agree about referees deserving respect, I think these guys are doing too much going for Serena in particular and proves her point exactly when other players disrespect umpires as well.

    That said, I dont think this umpire in particular gave her penalties because hes a sexist pig. Doing some digging he just seems very strict, even giving Murray a code violation for calling him ‘stupid’.

    And before the ‘did he take a game or point from her male counterparts?’ questions start, it seems most of them stopped after one or two penalties, avoiding being taken a game with a third penalty.

    He could have been a little more lenient, but I dont agree with the ‘Ramos is sexist’ claim.

    • Lee1 says:

      I will admit to knowing very little about tennis, though I did watch much of this match because it was well hyped and kind of exciting. My question though is, why would they have Ramos ump the women’s final then if he is known for having a hair trigger for such violations? Aren’t slam finals the kind of matches where officials should try not to get in the way of the play? Why give that responsibility to someone who is more likely to insert himself where another umpire would make more efforts to de-escalate or use their discretion for soft warnings? I mean, I watch a lot of hockey and there are some calls that, while technically valid, refs would and should absolutely let slide in a Stanley Cup final as compared to a regular season game.

      • Melomelo says:

        I dont follow tennis that much either, all this I learn with some googling during a day that nothing much was happening lol

        I dont know the answer to your question, but from what I read he is/was very respected and has been around for years. I do think the first warning for coaching should have been a soft warning, since it was on the coach not on her.

        The issue is against the organization itself, they should be more consistent, because once a consistent Umpire does his work like it should be as stated in the rules, its called controversial.

  16. CharliePenn says:

    I am having FEELINGS! I hate this whole story and it reminds me so much of what my best friend deals with as a woman of color… god forbid she have any passion or state things strongly or even actually get angry! She’s treated like a violent maniac. While my white ass goes around salty and irritated on some days and I am NEVER treated the way she is treated. Even in the court system my friend was treated like an angry, crazy Latina just for speaking up for herself. There were real-world negative outcomes that she faced JUST BECAUSE she’s a brown women with a Spanish accent and natural hair. They took one look at her and decided she was “unruly”, among other things.
    I am so angry about this. If anyone doesn’t see that this has a LOT to do with the color of Serena’s skin, they need to sit down and talk to some women of color or stand by while those women are treated like they are violent offenders just for speaking up in any way, just for acting like a normal person who is heated or defending herself.

    • RuddyZooKeeper says:

      This exactly! People and news sources are using words like “tantrum,” “outburst,” “menacing,” “out of control,” etc. After watching the entire exchange, I never once found Serena to have actually raised her voice in anger. She was controlled and I would go so far as to say calm. Of course she can’t use her inside voice in the context of a stadium-crowd venue! Who could? But she did not “lash out” by any stretch of the imagination. She pointed her finger to emphasize her side of the argument. How is that threatening? What we have here is an experienced, talented, strong, intelligent, respected, elite, adult black female speaking sternly to an official who she felt was questioning her integrity. How dare she, some ask, speak to the umpire in such a way?! Well, she’s the best in her sport and has earned the latitude granted athletes (especially males) who have attained that pinnacle. It seems this umpire took issue with being spoken to as a peer by a black female athlete who should’ve known her place. And after the initial exchange, he did not hesitate to put her in it. He continued to draw her back into the conversation, I would go so far as to say goading her in an attempt to key up her emotions.

      It’s racism that perceives a disagreement with a POC as a personal threat. It’s sexism that says this person has no right to disagree with you at all. I realize this is a gross oversimplification of a very complicated issue, but in this case I think it can be boiled down to pretty much that. Throw in a bit of self importance and inflated ego on the part of the umpire, and this was never going to end well.

      And if umpires are going to be so precious in the future as they have been in the past, tennis needs to implement a rule against umpires and players engaging verbally in any way at any time during a match.

  17. HK9 says:

    Let them refuse. It will only be a matter of time before someone else wants to do it anyway. Until male players are made to apologize for “loosing their temper” they need to move on. It just proves her point, which they don’t seem to get.

    • Scal says:

      THIS. Where were the call for ump boycotts when recent players have kicked line judges? Screamed? Swore in much rougher language that Serena? Threatened that they would never ref again?

      Oh yea….those were all dudes so it’s fine *eyeroll*

  18. A.Key says:

    I think it’s unfair that people defend her just because she’s a woman, when she was clearly in the wrong.
    Just because male players got away with breaking the rules doesn’t mean everyone should now get away with breaking the rules because hey, eff the rules.
    Even her own coach admitted to illegally coaching her from the sidelines – why are people ignoring that and turning her into a victim??
    She should have just accepted the warning and continued to play. She knew he was right yet she continued to turn this into some global issue for equality but equality for what – for everyone to be able to break the rules equally? Really?? Is that what we’re striving for?

    What she should have done is accept the fair ruling because yes your coach was coaching you when he shouldn’t have been, say “but next time also penalize Nadal and Federer when they get coached” and just get on with the game.

    And then talk about the fact that male players get away with coaching in the press. Afterwards. When you’re potentially a grand slam winner. Or a finalist, either way. Start the conversation.
    Don’t throw a tantrum like you’re an entitled three-year-old and start breaking things and completely ignore the rules of the game and sportsmanship.

    • ilove6kies says:

      Totally agree with you. Every word.

    • Coco Puff says:

      I agree

    • perplexed says:

      “Just because male players got away with breaking the rules doesn’t mean everyone should now get away with breaking the rules because hey, eff the rules.”

      The rules should be consistently applied across the board then — not differently applied depending on one’s mood and reaction to gender.

      • Lee1 says:

        Yes! Absolutely! I mean, is jay walking technically always illegal? Of course. Is smoking weed technically always illegal (depending on where you are)? Yes. But is there still an issue with the fact that I can and have jay walked in front of a cop car without as much as a warning while the homeless people downtown rack up tickets (that they clearly can’t pay) for the same thing? Or the fact that weed is consumed at the same rate by all races but the arrest rates for POC are 4-10x higher? Did Serena technically violate certain rules? Sure. But if a rule isn’t applied consistently, how is it even a rule anymore?

      • A.Key says:

        “The rules should be consistently applied across the board then — not differently applied depending on one’s mood and reaction to gender.”

        I completely and absolutely agree with you.
        But that’s just it, the rules should be applied.
        If you want her to get away with illegal coaching then the rules, once again, would have been ignored.

        Also, it doesn’t matter whether she knew she was being coached or not. Does Nadal know? Does Federer? How do you prove that they were aware of it?

        But yes I agree that perhaps it would be better to remove coaches and penalize them.

    • Zoe says:

      She’s the only player that’s been penalised for arguing BBC had stats on this last night. So those are FACTS. We are not turning her into a victim by the way she’s the best female tennis player in history, a giant of the sport. She’s no victim she’s succeeded against the odds. But why brush these inconstiencies under the table? Why aren’t we allowed to talk about it. I really don’t understand women who think equality was ever won by people being “polite” and quiet.

    • Kate says:

      She didn’t see her coach coaching. She only saw him give her a thumbs up and she told the ump that they don’t have any code and that she would never cheat she would rather lose. She was terse but reasonable. She had no idea he was making coaching motions b/c she couldn’t see him. So in her mind the penalty was completely unfair and wrong. And b/c she’s all alone out there (no coach) no one could explain to her what was going on. No one except maybe the ref if he was so inclined not to allow the situation to escalate, but he was clearly more concerned with punishing her as her emotions escalated.

    • Marty says:

      “I think it’s unfair that people defend her just because she’s a woman” what kind of men’s rights activist propaganda bull is this?!

      No one is defending her “just” because she’s a woman. We’re defending her because SHE was treated unfairly because she’s a woman.

    • Veronica S. says:

      Nobody is defending her “just because she’s a woman.” Miss me with that strawman’s argument. We’re discussing the incident within the framework of an industry that has a documented history of racism and sexism, with Serena Williams in particular finding herself in the crosshairs of both and other players/professionals contributing viewpoints that support her version of the events. Don’t act like the rest of us are idiots who can’t form opinions based off of critical analysis and a thoughtful examination of what went down because we don’t agree with you.

      • A.Key says:

        I didn’t call anyone an idiot, that’s your own unfortunate conclusion.
        I also don’t see the need to start name-calling, we’re all allowed to express our opinions.
        I simply firmly believe that had this have been a male player who got a warning for getting coached and who then threw his racket and started yelling “but you never warn Nadal or Federer for getting coached!!” and started arguing with the umpire, no one, absolutely no one would be defending him.

      • A says:

        @A.Key, she didn’t call you any names. She objected to your implication that you think people are misconstruing this situation out of a lack of understanding or because they want to defend Serena because she’s a woman. They’re not.

        As for male players–have you read this thread in any detail? The problem has never been that male players have their behaviour defended. The problem is that they don’t get penalized and they don’t get the outsize reaction for behaving in FAR worse ways than Serena did here. And they have absolutely never been threatened in this way, where they’re refusing to umpire her matches. That’s the crux of the problem.

        We can argue about the specifics of the penalties all day, but those exact details are not the issue here and it never has been. Players will get penalties, sometimes deserved, sometimes not, and that’s just part and parcel of the game. The problem is that reaction to Serena’s behaviour, from the umpire, from the umpire’s association etc, is disproportionate.

        As someone else mentioned up thread, Fognini referred to a female umpire as a prostitute. I don’t see the umpire’s association rallying around her and refusing to umpire his matches. People never outright defend male tennis players’ behaviour, but they sure do seem to shrug about it and let it slide an awful lot. If any female tennis player, not just Serena for that matter, went around swearing at umpires and calling them prostitutes and throwing their rackets with the fervour of some men out there, do you think they would get very far in the sport? We expect so much more respect and deference from women than we do from men and that’s f*cked up. Period. That’s the problem.

        People who continue to argue this from a perspective of, “But Serena did something wrong!!!!” are continuing to miss the entire point. It’s not the penalty. It’s the fact that her behaviour is considered so awful when as far as I know, she’s behaved with more decorum and grace throughout her career. Most male players, either past nor present, would not have managed that. If we want fairness, let’s begin with treating the men the same way we treat Serena Williams.

      • perplexed says:

        “I simply firmly believe that had this have been a male player who got a warning for getting coached and who then threw his racket and started yelling “but you never warn Nadal or Federer for getting coached!!” and started arguing with the umpire, no one, absolutely no one would be defending him.”

        I think I have seen that argument given by male tennis players — not necessarily about coaching specifically, but about instances where they have received a penalty and the other player didn’t. Some have complained about the rules being enforced inconsistently. Novak Djokovic (sp?) has made this complaint about the same umpire (Carlos Ramos) during a match — he questioned why his opponent wasn’t given the same penalty for doing the same offence. Never have I seen a guy simply let an umpire get an umpire walk all over him if he felt something was unfair. I don’t know if anyone sides with the male player, but I also don’t see anyone making a big media storm out of what the player did either.

        This particular umpire does seem to have the accusation of inconsistent enforcement of the rules levelled at him fairly often it seems.

      • A.Key says:

        @perplexed you’re right, good point.

        @A I don’t wanna take this to another level and talk about sexism in general and about other matches etc. that’s not what my post was about. I was only looking at this one specific match and this specific case. I’m not looking at other matches. After all, this whole story is about what happened with Serena at the US Open final, it’s not about anything else.

        Was it right to give Serena a warning for coaching? Yes.
        Was it right to give her a warning for breaking a racket? Yes.
        Was it right to react to her calling the umpire a thief? Well honestly, yes.

        I absolutely know other players get away with worse and of course I know sexism exists in tennis. But I cannot understand how that makes it okay to let Serena’s behavior on the court that day slide. Her behavior was not in accordance with the rules. Why ignore that?

        This reminds me of when I was in school and I’d get a bad grade and my mom would be angry with me. I’d say “but mom, all the other kids in my class also got a bad grade, the test/teacher/whatever was too difficult/unfair etc”. My mom would always say to me “I don’t care about the other kids, I care about you. You got a bad grade. I don’t care if everyone else in your class failed the test. YOU failed it. Don’t blame others for your own failure.”

        To me, this is the same thing.
        Serena was losing. Her coach wanted to help her by coaching her from the stands which is against the rules.
        Should that have been penalized?

        Now, does sexism in tennis exist? Yes.
        Do male players get away with a lot more than female players? Yes.
        Is that right? No.
        Should we change it? Yes.
        Should we change it by now allowing everyone to get away with everything?
        I don’t think so.

    • Derriere says:

      Why wouldn’t they have just discretely asked the coach to remove himself from the game or stop giving hand signals from the stands? There are multiple staff members available to walk down and give a warning. But no…the player is penalized.

      It’s not like she can tell him to stop lol. People really don’t play tennis.

      If it were a real problem, I think her opponent should take it up with the ref. Not the ref himself.

      • Melomelo says:

        Removing the coach on a first warning would be excessive tho. They should just revise it, either not prohibit it or have someone else looking out for the coaches that are coaching so it gets called on more constantly.

    • liriel says:

      Exactly. Why no one says that she broke the rules a few times so he had every right to punish her and after smashing the racquet he had no choice.
      Sexism is a real thing but why do we stoop so low?
      She should admit she was in the wrong AND point out things she points out.
      Yet she acts like she’s innocent and didn’t break any rules while her coach admit it, smashing the racquet was a sure thing so..

  19. Coco Puff says:

    I think its unfair to pile all this on Ramos, he was doing his job and it sounds like he is consistently strict. If his peers don’t do the same, surely that should be raised with the Tennis Authorities and not him.

    Cant help but wonder if this had been someone people don’t like, say Sharapova, if people would still call it sexist.

    • Smith says:


      I have no love for Sharapova but if this had happened to her no one on here (or in the media or social media) would be running to defend her.

      Ramos is a strict umpire and is following the rule book. As you said, it is not his fault he applies the rules as they are written and others let it slide. If people don’t like it, they should talk to the ITF who makes the rules.

      • perplexed says:

        Would Sharapova have made it to final without banned substances in her body? It’s a hypothetical that’s hard to discuss, because we don’t know if she could have made it that far without using a substance of some kind to help her out. And you’re usually more stressed out in a final than you would be in a 4th round match.

      • liriel says:

        Exactly, one are more lenient, others less. Sharapova would never ever get benefit of a doubt and we’d be glorious that she’s such a bitch.
        Why no one says that Serena broke the rules a few times so he had every right to punish her and after smashing the racquet he had no choice.
        Sexism is a real thing but why do we stoop so low?
        She should admit she was in the wrong AND point out things she points out.
        Yet she acts like she’s innocent and didn’t break any rules while her coach admit it, smashing the racquet was a sure thing so..

    • Veronica S. says:

      He’s not consistently strict, though. Other people have pointed out events where similar events went down with him that didn’t lead to similarly intense penalties with male atheletes. I don’t think Ramos should be held as a symbol of everything wrong with the industry, but this incident unfortunately highlights that this is an ongoing problem in the industry and he got caught in the crossfire of Serena Williams and her (rightful) anger exploding at the double standards she has to tolerate in the industry. And she’s not the only one who feels this way:

      Sexism is not necessarily overt. Ramos may not THINK he was sexist or racist or even behaving in a way that he thought was unfair. But networks have pulled receipts showing how her penalties stack up against others, and it’s hard not to think something is there. And in a world where Australian papers print racial caricatures of her and Maria Sharapova releases a book full of dog whistles and the world constantly criticizes her appearance, her attitude, her behavior at a level not matched by anybody else – well, pretending that such a history wouldn’t inform her approach is ridiculous. Suggesting that it’s fair to expect her to be objective when it’s clear to anybody who has watched this sport that it is very much NOT is oppressive. The industry has had years to address it’s problems. The fact that it’s dragged it’s feet is what led to that moment.

      • Coco Puff says:

        Personally, I dont believe that experiencing societal injustices, condones bad behavior.
        Yes, she is a black woman who has endured racism and gender discrimination, I can relate and I sympathise, but that in no way makes her behavior excusable.

    • Esmerelda says:

      ITA with SMITH. And i think the tennis federation should endorse a stricter line throughout, and keep the focus on sportsmanship. Otherwise the whole tennis business becomes just a sideshow to the celebrity lifestyle of the players… and just another way to sell us overpriced gear made in sweatshops, for the profit of some multinational corporation or other.

  20. Cee says:

    Female tennis players should rally behind her if this move from Carlos Ramos actually happens. He is a bully and is making this too personal, proving her point. Where is the US Tennis Federation at?!

    • Xi Tang says:

      There’s a lot of female tennis player whose views about women issues will disappoint you. So I wouldn’t count on them.

  21. DizzyLizzy says:


    Now she can weed out all the racists by default.

    Hope they will request apologies for every other player who lost their shit on court.

  22. Really says:


  23. DizzyLizzy says:

    I have been trying ti avoid this story very unsuccessfully and low key feel crazy that there is some conspiracy against Serena reaching 25.

    Notice how that Australian cartoonist went to town on Serena dehumanising, debasing and turning her into a Sambo.

    The AUS Open is the next major tournament she will face and I am starting to low key suspect that people are trying to throw her off her focus.

    I hope she can knuckle down and wipe the floor with the haters.

    Let my girl be great please.

  24. Tallia says:

    Did the offiicals demand Nadal apologize for his comments after Carlos Ramos was butt hurt then too? Did the officials threaten to boycott his matches? I must have missed that part.

  25. Sayrah says:

    Nonsense. She doesn’t owe them an apology and I gasped at that blatantly racist cartoon yesterday. They even turned Osaka into a blonde white woman. Terrible and shameful.

  26. Veronica S. says:

    Some of the responses to these posts about Serena Williams are really revealing, honestly.

  27. perplexed says:

    “An anonymous official told The Times that there was a growing consensus that umpires were not supported by the USTA on several occasions, and that Carlos Ramos was thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it”

    If this is the case, they should take up the matter directly with the USTA. It doesn’t make sense to make Serena Williams a symbol of some kind of change they hope will come if they feel this is a problem they’ve had on “several occasions” (what what I assume would be many different players).

    • Lorelei says:

      And how exactly was he “thrown to the wolves?” His penalties stood. She lost the match. What is this guy’s issue?!

  28. Cay says:

    I had such a hard night last night “fighting city hall.” When I was almost defeated and broken by a room full of lying white men, I asked myself, “What would Serena do?”

  29. Lindy says:

    I just am filled with so much rage over the gaslighting sexist racist misery of this. Today’s one of those days where it feels like we’re never going to escape the patriarchy, never going to get to a better, more just world. I’m trying to get my head in a better place today but this news just feels like the universe saying a big eff you to women, and especially women of color.

  30. Sharon says:

    “A clearly frustrated Federer turned to the umpire who said: ‘The call did not hinder you. The call was out and you missed the shot. In an angry outburst, Federer blasted back and said: ‘That’s a bulls**** argument, it was during the shot.

    Can anyone remember what Roger’s fine was? My memory fails me…

    • perplexed says:

      I think it was only $1500.

    • LB says:

      He got a warning. Which is what Serena also got for the first infraction. Had he broken his racket after losing a game, he would have gotten a second and lost a point. Had he started arguing with Ramos through 2 breaks (and let’s keep it to Ramos because he’s stricter than other umpires), he would have lost a game and been fined.

      I love Serena but people forget that she had a few chances to to change behavior before it got to this point. It’s not like she doesn’t have a history of escalating tensions either when she’s losing. Does no one remember 2009 or 2011? She played a part in this.

      This specific incident isn’t sexism or racism problem though there are other times I do see the preferential treatment for me. Serena deserves all the praise most of the time but she handled this poorly. Anyone who follows games all year and sees Ramos be an umpire knows he’s an equal opportunity ass lol.

      • perplexed says:

        She was fined heavily in 2009. I was shocked when I saw the level of fines. She paid a high penalty and if you’re reprimanded to that degree vs other players I can see how you might get agitated.

        I read that Ramos also penalized Venus Williams for a coaching violation in a 2016 match. When I read that, I thought it was possible that maybe Serena Williams was playing back in her mind another instance where she might have thought he was being unfair to them both.

        I did read that Raphael Nadal who also lost his temper with Ramos said in a press conference that “I respect him as an official. I just wish he’d show the same respect to me” (paraphrase). Maybe this umpire gets under the skin of tennis players in a different way from other umpires. If that’s the case, I’m wondering why they just didn’t pull in another umpire for this final.

        I think how you conduct yourself afterwards is more important than how you conduct yourself in the heat of the moment of a match where you’re under a level of momentary stress and anxiety that is not normal. . Serena Williams generally seems to cool down during the ceremonies. She changed into quite a gentle person when congratulating Osaka, the winner. Someone like John McEnroe seems way more problematic because not only did he act up during matches, he’s generally irritating as a personality off the court as well. And he talks himself up a lot too — “I had a personality and the other players of today don’t!” There’s a great deal of emphasis as to how people are supposed to conduct themselves when they’re playing a match but no seeming emphasis on the overall character of a person.

      • A.Key says:

        “He got a warning. Which is what Serena also got for the first infraction. Had he broken his racket after losing a game, he would have gotten a second and lost a point. Had he started arguing with Ramos through 2 breaks (and let’s keep it to Ramos because he’s stricter than other umpires), he would have lost a game and been fined.”

        Thank you.

      • liriel says:

        THIS! Finally someone!

  31. ItReallyIsYou,NotMe says:

    I am an employment lawyer, so I have something to say about this because I think it’s apples to apples. It absolutely is a viable claim, even if an employer has a policy that is violated, if that employer holds a woman to the rule and doesn’t hold a man accountable who violates the same rule. Same for holding one race accountable and not another, an older person but not a younger person, etc. So from that perspective it doesn’t matter one little bit what rules Serena violated IF RAMOS HAS NOT HELD MEN ACCOUNTABLE TOO. THAT is why people are making such a big deal over that point.

    • LB says:

      But he does. How many pieces of evidence have to be posted for people to get it? Ramos is an equal opportunity ass. He warns men all the time. Do they get fined always? No because they never make it to 3 infractions. They calm down, move on, play the game.

      In her presser, she said she and Ramos made peace after the first warning. But then she smashed her racket after losing a break back to Osaka and was angry and they got into an argument again. I doubt Ramos brought it up again. She couldn’t back away from her emotions, which is fine. But if you keep doing it, the umpire will get fed up.

      • Anon33 says:

        It’s fairly disingenuous to reduce this to the actions of one umpire. Just so everyone who is making that argument knows that. There are larger implications and putting on your “this only affected one person” glasses in order to not see reality is telling.

      • Veronica S. says:

        Furthermore, the suggestion Serena Williams behavior is not something that can be removed from the context of her experiences as both a woman and that of a black athlete is disingenuous and reductive. Pretending otherwise is putting on the privilege blinders to all of the various microaggressions women like her deal with on a daily basis. Anybody who has looked at the headlines involving this woman for the past two years can absolutely see an escalation of frustration and anger that led to an explosion like this. It’s not a matter of whether her behavior was 100% professional or that she didn’t make mistakes but how the toxicity of her environment can lead to misunderstandings and lashing out in a heated moment. It shouldn’t be solely on her to keep quiet and make the objective selection of when she’s being subjected to prejudice and when she is not.

    • Thank you for commenting with your knowledge and expertise. Serena was right in her argument about the rules being unevenly applied across the sport.

  32. phaedra says:

    They’ve really painted themselves into a corner on this one. Now the refs will be forced to hold everyone to that standard or they’ll be called out for what they are really doing: forcing Serena out.

  33. Meeee says:

    It’s cool to be surrounded by so many women, and professional tennis players, who’ve never gotten angry and yelled at someone when they’ve felt they were treated unfairly. Teach me your ways.

  34. perplexed says:

    If they force her to apologize, every time something like this happens with someone else in the future will be scrutinized. I don’t know if I’d want to be scrutinized like that as an umpire all the time.

    • Veronica S. says:

      Good. Doing so will reveal what underlying prejudices do exist and force us to confront them.

      • perplexed says:

        True. I’m just surprised that umpires would want to put themselves in that position. They think they’re objective, but I don’t see how that’s possible.

  35. HeyThere! says:

    For anyone thinking it isn’t racist or sexist, this would not and does not happen to white men in the same sport. There’s your answer!

  36. Lofi says:

    This is ridiculous and they are just pushing this too far.

  37. holly hobby says:

    What a bunch of wimps. You don’t see any other officials quitting at other sports like this. I know this raises the racism issue but it is also sexist. They expect women to sit there and smile and be demure. Screw that.

  38. helen says:

    I just really hope that Trump weighs in here and teaches us how to regulate our emotions.

  39. The Original Mia says:

    I wish they would boycott. Please. Go ahead. Show us how thin-skinned and misogynist this sport really is. Can take verbal abuse (and that is what happens with the men) from male players, but clutch their damn pearls when a woman feels justifiably wronged and insulted and says so. GMAFB. Serena doesn’t owe Ramos a damn thing, except the middle finger. He let his ego get out of control and made the match all about his feelings. To put the onus of all of tennis, both male and female, on her shoulders is outrageous. How about umpiring consistently and fairly? How about policing yourselves first?

  40. Lala11_7 says:

    If I were her…I would sit my a– at home…kick it with my Baby and my man and let the various tennis associations see how their television ratings fare while she’s not there…

  41. Miss M says:

    I do think Serena could have handled things differently, but the umpire was wrong as well. I think both were wrong…
    So, instead of planning to boycott Serena’s games, they should re-evaluate the way they perform their jobs in women’s versus men’s games. They should be embarrassed that their operate in a biased manner and should discuss a better way to enforce the rules and decrease (if not abolish) the double standards women face in the tennis world.
    I hope that no female umpire will follow this ridiculous attempt to boycott her.

  42. Patty says:

    There’s an easy fix for this, both the WTA and ATP are going to have to resort to a smaller but stricter set of rules – and they must be enforced.

    If coaching is illegal, the only way for it to stop is going to be to punish people. 1st offense should be an immediate point loss, second offense, game loss. Third offense, coach should be ejected and there should be huge fines issued. Same with on court arguing with the officials, throwing racquets, delay if game tactics, etc. Maybe each player gets five minutes at the end of each set to discuss tactics with their coach – so there’s no excuses. In my opinion if you are playing tennis at an elite level you should be able to follow rules – that applies to the coach and the players team as well. I don’t watch tennis for the theatrics and the tantrums; I watch it because I enjoy the sport.

  43. perplexed says:

    Serena Williams was sportsmanlike during the trophy ceremony. So clearly her anger isn’t a fixed personality trait. That the media keeps making it seem like that is annoying. She simply got heated in a moment like everybody else does in a high pressure situation.

  44. Poppy says:

    Mark Knight is a trash cartoonist and the Herald Sun is renowned for being racist. We had to analyse some of his cartoons back when I was at school. His cartoons depicting Indigenous people weren’t much better.

  45. shy vi says:

    From a monetary and a common sense standpoint these umpires are idiots and won’t be able to force Serena to apologize. Do they realize how many millions tune in to tennis on tv ONLY to watch Serena and how much money they’d stand to lose if she were to refuse to play? Not to mention how many endorsement deals she has so those companies alone behind the scenes can easily get other umpires in besides these lame ones if push came to shove. Team Serena for life.

  46. perplexed says:

    I think there was a tennis player that told another tennis player that someone was sleeping with his girlfriend. This was said during a match. I don’t know if the player was fined, but that sounds worse than having a legitimate disagreement with an umpire about cheating.

  47. Shh says:

    Most players – obviously not all, but most – usually manage to stop whatever they were saying / doing to cause a code violation after they’ve lost a point, because they know the next one could lose them a game. That contributes to why you don’t hear men being penalized a game, even if their outbursts are way worse that what she did.
    The “being coached” warning is definitely arbitrarily applied and mostly against the women. Seems a pointless and ineffective rule, if “every coach does it in every match”, as per her coach.

    • liriel says:

      THIS! She just couldn’t stop.

      • me says:

        The only thing I didn’t like about her reaction was the crying. Women have to deal with that damn stereotype all the time. Serena fought for what she thought was right, and that is her choice. I just wished she had kept that stern look instead of starting to cry. Not that crying is a form of weakness, but most men sure think it is!

      • Shh says:

        It’s one thing to be frustrated about calls going against you and express it in anger but then to start crying … that just plays right into the narrative of “weak women not being able to handle their emotions; can’t play with the boys, etc”. I admire her for her amazing prior achievements but this particular incident was absolutely NOT helping fight for women’s rights as she claimed to be doing later in the press conference.

    • A.Key says:

      “Most players – obviously not all, but most – usually manage to stop whatever they were saying / doing to cause a code violation after they’ve lost a point, because they know the next one could lose them a game. That contributes to why you don’t hear men being penalized a game, even if their outbursts are way worse that what she did.”

      I gotta agree here. Novak Djokovic comes to mind, for example. He tends to be an *ss a lot, he is known for his tantrums and racket throwing and bad behavior. But despite it all he usually manages to get his sh*t together after he gets a warning or two because he knows that if he continues what he’s doing he’ll lose the game.

      Serena was getting coached and she should have just accepted the warning and continued with the game. Talk about overreacting and blowing it out of proportion way more than it should have been. With zero thoughts spared for her opponent and how her unsportsmanlike behavior affected Osaka and the entire match.

  48. A says:

    If people didn’t have proof that the way the umpire behaved was racist and disgusting before, they sure do now. I have nothing to say except that I support her wholeheartedly, and I think this temper tantrum on part of the umpires is awful. They need to grow up.

    The fact that Serena Williams was penalized for what she said to Carlos Ramos is flat out wrong. This man has a history of being incredibly thin-skinned and petty when he feels like he’s been disrespected, and numerous other top tennis players have called him out for this, as well as his double-standards in umpiring before. He singled out Venus Williams for coaching before as well, and she responded in a very similar fashion to Serena. This stuff isn’t new. Carlos Ramos is a tool and a snowflake, and he and the rest of them should pull up their big boy pants already.

  49. perplexed says:

    A lot of tennis players have told umpires that they will never referee one of their matches again (maybe this is a standard thing tennis players say?). Perhaps they have all received code violations. But I don’t think I’ve seen umpires claim they might boycott these matches because of what these tennis players have said. That they’re saying they might boycott NOW specifically because of Williams’ outburst does seem to suggest some level of sexism. Maybe Ramos himself wasn’t being sexist, but the aftermath seems to be sexist to me. (However, one of the articles noted that Ramos has never penalized a player in a Grand Slam final before. They say umpires usually are more cautious at those times because of the weight of the occasion. So maybe there is some subconscious sexism coming in from his end to enforce a rule arbitrarily at that high of a level — I don’t necessarily think players should have to pay a penalty for something they are unaware of what they’re coach is doing).

    John McEnroe has received point violations but considering the way he’d go on and on and on, he probably should have been penalized the whole match (if such a thing were to ever exist).

    • KLO says:

      I just watched today a video of McEnroe being penalized a match at the Australian open. He intimidated the line referee, smashed his racket on the ground, badmouthed the referee, and off he went. The whole match, gone.

  50. me says:

    Just wondering, how many female Umpires are there in tennis? The number should be 50/50! It’s not a job only a f*cking man can do!

  51. liriel says:

    Seriously guys you block all comments that aren’t praising Serena. How classless of both you and Serena. You’re made for each other. Yup, so Trump-like. “You have to think like us otherwise you’re bad”

    • pepperright says:

      and not just for Serena article, tradition of this site I guess.

    • Shh says:

      Unless you’re following the groupthink in lockstep you’re automatically deemed some sort of “ist”.
      I love watching both the William’s sisters play. I admire their amazing talent, tenacity, athleticism; what they overcame to reach the pinnacle in their sport is unparalleled and must be lauded.
      However, they are not flawless beings and ought not to be placed above criticism. No one should.
      To block people who disagree with one implies a level of insecurity in one’s own position/ statement. Which is fine too.

  52. Bliss 51 says:

    Jimmy Conners. John McEnroe.

  53. Bc says:

    I’m not even surprised. I feel like I unfortunately called it. They’re trying to kick her out of the sport and deny her her 24th grand slam. It’s ok though. I feel like if something’s meant for you, it’s for you. You can’t stop destiny. If she’s meant to win it, all these obstacles will be nothing but propellers. Sometimes it’s funny how life works. The harder you try to take someone down, the more they rise lol. Anyway, I love Serena and I can’t imagine watching tennis if she ever leaves. Part of my love for her is her charity work in my country and her pop culture influence , and what a hard worker. She’s my role model and I’m learning from her to speak up and not wait. Why shld women be censored? This isn’t the 15th century. We should speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. There was a time women and persons of Color couldn’t even vote. It took someone to change that. So glad not everyone is a racist and can exhibit empathy. Imagine the job you do and loving that job dearly, now imagine a hostile work environment and experiencing that FOR YEARS and being expected to take it and keep taking it. I guess some people are human and others are simply stones who feel no emotions, huh? Hugs Serena baby girl you’ll make it out of this, we got you.

    • lisanne says:

      No one is trying to kick Serena out of the sport. Tennis, like other professional sports, is all about selling tickets. This whole mess will just bring more people to Serena’s matches. Which I’m sure is not lost on Serena or the USTA. Also, a lot of people here don’t understand tennis very well, or sports in general, or they’d know that yelling at the umpire and pitching a fit is a time-honored tactic to rattle your opponent and throw them off their game. Especially useful when said opponent is in a groove and kicking your ass.

      • Miss M says:

        Lianne, this is one of the reasons I didn’t side with Serena. Her initial exchange eith the umpire and her continuing behavior after that first warning could be interpreted as her strategy to disrupt Osaka’s focus and momentum. I am glad Osaka kept her focus on the game.

  54. PrincessK says:

    Does anyone remember the Nalbandian incident when he smashed a bench to bits and splinters of wood were flying in the air and almost injured a linesman? Does anyone remember Pliskova who very recently went over to the umpires chair after a bad call and repeatedly and madly hacked into the umpires chair with her racquet? Yes, she was fined but nobody references it in relation to her its all been forgotten. Can you imagine the apoplectic outrage if Serena had done anything like that???

  55. Sza says:

    That horrid cartoon sums up everything Serena has put up with in her career.

  56. Mela says:

    Again, Keep fighting Serena and shining a light on sexism and racism in women’s tennis. We hear you

    Id love to see a great feminist cartoon perspective of Serena. Id envision a strong Serena climbing up a steep mountain carrying a thousand woman on her back.

    I hope she doesnt let this backlash hurt her- she is making such a positive impact on the world for women and POC.