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'I'm going to continue to fight for women,' vows Serena after US Open final controversy

Williams accuses umpire Carlos Ramos of sexism after she was penalised in her defeat to Naomi Osaka.

SERENA WILLIAMS VOWED to continue to fight for women after an on-court controversy with umpire Carlos Ramos overshadowed Saturday night’s US Open final.

Japan’s Naomi Osaka, 20, won her first Grand Slam crown, beating Williams 6-2 6-4 in New York.

But the final descended into controversy in the second set as Williams was handed three code violations by Ramos — the last of which was assessed after she called the umpire ‘a thief’ and which resulted in her forfeiting a game.

Williams’ furious response followed an earlier warning after Ramos deemed that her coach Patrick Mouratoglou was using hand signals in an attempt to communicate with her from the stands. She was later assessed a point penalty for smashing her racket, before the umpire handed her the final penalty for verbal abuse.

Speaking to the supervisor and the tournament referee on court, Williams could be heard saying, “That’s not right. This is not fair.

“This has happened to me too many times. This is not fair. This is not fair. To lose a game for saying that is not fair. It’s really not.

“Do you know how many other men do things? They do much worse than that. This is not fair. There’s a lot of men out here who have said a lot of things and because they are men, it doesn’t happen to them.”

And Williams, who was chasing a record-equalling 24 Grand Slam singles title, doubled down on her accusations of sexism in the post-match press conference when she was asked if there was anything she would change, given the opportunity.

“You definitely can’t go back in time, but I can’t sit here and say I wouldn’t say he’s a thief because I thought he took a game from me.

“But I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things and I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff, and for me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game? It made me feel like it was a sexist remark. I mean, he’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief’. For me, it blows my mind.

“But I’m going to continue to fight for women, to fight for us to have equal — like, [Alize] Cornet should be able to take her shirt off without getting a fine. This is outrageous.

“I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions and that want to express themselves and they want to be a strong woman and they’re going to be allowed to do that because of today.

“Maybe it didn’t work out for me but it’s going to work out for the next person.”

In a statement, the US Open said that Ramos’s decision to hand Williams a game penalty could not be reviewed by the tournament referee or supervisor.

“On the fifth point in the second game of the second set between Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams, the chair umpire witnessed coaching taking place from Williams’ coach. Even though her coach has admitted to coaching, Williams has made it clear that she did not receive any coaching. Nevertheless, in accordance with the rules, Williams was assessed a Code Violation, resulting in a warning. 

“At the completion of the fifth game of the second set, Williams was assessed a second code violation for racquet abuse, which required a point penalty. 

“At the changeover, at 4-3, Williams was assessed a third code violation for verbal abuse in the judgment of the umpire, which then required a game penalty. 

“The chair umpire’s decision was final and not reviewable by the Tournament Referee or the Grand Slam Supervisor who were called to the court at that time.”

In a statement of their own, the Women’s Tennis Association said that “there are matters that need to be looked into that took place during the match. 

“For tonight, it is time to celebrate these two amazing players, both of whom have great integrity. 

“Naomi is a deserving champion and Serena at all times plays with class and makes us proud.”

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Niall Kelly

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