Serena Williams Fined $17,000 Following Incident With U.S. Open Umpire
Serena Williams and tennis go together like matching socks. However, the sport hasn’t always been kind to her. Besides constantly being drug tested at random, despite always coming up clean and having the dress code changed due to her wearing a full body compression suit for health benefits, it appears professional tennis may have an ax to grind with Serena.
On Saturday, Serena competed in the U.S. Open against newcomer Naomi Osaka. Naomi dominated, winning her first Grand Slam, but her shine was hardly celebrated due to incidents that occurred during the match.
During the match, Serena defended herself against chair umpire Carlos Ramos after he gave her a court violation for receiving illegal coaching from her player’s box. According to Serena, the hand gestures her coach was making was not an inside code or any type of coaching. She told Ramos,
“We don’t have any code. I know you don’t know that. I understand how you would think that was coaching but I’m telling you it’s not. I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose. I’m just letting you know.”
Out of frustration, Serena smashed her racket, earning a second violation and losing a point.
After receiving the violation, while fighting back tears Serena then told Ramos,
“You will never, ever, ever be on another court of mine as long as you live. You are the liar. When are you going to give me my apology? You owe me an apology. Say it. Say you’re sorry. … And you stole a point from me. You’re a thief, too.”
For calling the umpire a thief, Serena was given another violation. The crowd began to boo loudly.
Following the match, Serena did not shake the umpire’s hand and instead, still demanded her apology.
On Sunday, it was announced that Serena had been fined $17,000 for her three violations: $10,000 for “verbal abuse” of the umpire, $4,000 for being warned for coaching and $3,000 for breaking her racket. The fine will come out of her $1.85 million prize earnings as the runner-up in the tournament.
Despite the drama with the umpire, after the match, Serena embraced her 20-year-old opponent with hugs, consoled her when she was crying and urged the crowd to stop booing her and allow her to celebrate her moment.
“Well, I don’t want to be rude, I don’t want to do questions. [Osaka] played well, this is her first Grand Slam. I know you guys were here rooting. Let’s make this the best moment we can. Let’s not boo anymore. We’re gonna get through this and we’re gonna be positive. No more booing!”
At a press conference following the match, Serena accused the umpire of sexism and said she will continue to fight for women.
“I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things. I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief,’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief.’ For me, it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women.”