Serena Williams Fined In U.S. Open Umpire Dispute

by Samuel Abasi Posted on September 9th, 2018

Serena Williams has been fined a total of $17,000 for three code violations during the U.S. Open final, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) said on Sunday.

During Saturday’s match, which she lost 6-2 6-4 to Japan’s Naomi Osaka, Williams, was handed a coaching violation and a point penalty for breaking her racquet before a heated argument with umpire Carlos Ramos ended with her losing a game.

The tournament referee’s office fined the former world number one $10,000 for the “verbal abuse” of Ramos, $4,000 for being warned for coaching and $3,000 for smashing her racket.

Williams, who was seeking a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam singles tile on Saturday, vigorously disputed each of the violations during the match.

She demanded Ramos apologize for handing her a coaching violation and later called the umpire a “thief” for giving her a point penalty

The chair umpire that Serena Williams called a thief in Saturday’s United States Open women’s final has long been one of the on-court officials willing to enforce the rules without fear or favor on the game’s biggest stars, male and female.

The umpire, Carlos Ramos, a 47-year-old from Portugal, was the focus of Williams’s ire during her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka. Ramos gave Williams three code-of-conduct violations — for illegal coaching, racket abuse (she threw it down in anger or frustration) and verbally abusing a judge, the last of which resulted in Osaka being awarded a game in the second set.

According to the rule book, players are subject to fines up to $20,000 for each of those offenses.

Ramos is one of the most experienced match officials in tennis. Players chase the career Grand Slam by trying to win all four of the major titles. Chair umpires use similar terminology among themselves, and Ramos has completed a “Golden Slam” by being in the chair for men’s singles finals at all four Grand Slam tournaments and at the 2012 men’s Olympic singles final between Andy Murray and Roger Federer.

Ramos also has officiated in high-profile Davis Cup matches, a men’s team event where emotions can run even higher than they ran on Saturday.

While there was much criticism of Ramos on social media after the match, and top tennis players have been less than appreciative of his calls, some in the world of officials defended him.

“Carlos has been one of the top tennis umpires in the world since the mid-1990s and has a reputation for being firm but fair in his handling of the players,” said Mike Morrissey, a former top chair umpire and formerly the head of officiating for the International Tennis Federation.

Still, players like Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios have complained on court after receiving code violations from Ramos.

At the 2016 French Open, Venus Williams disputed an illegal coaching call, saying, “I’m 36 years old. Never in my life have I had a coaching violation. No, I don’t do that.”

In 2017 during a fourth-round match between Nadal and Roberto Batista Agut at the French Open, Ramos penalized Nadal for two time violations, the second of which cost Nadal a point (not that it mattered much in his 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory).

“There are umpires who sometimes put more pressure than others, and you have to accept this,” Nadal said after that match.

Nadal added: “I’m telling you this with some type of sadness, because I don’t want to have any problems. But this umpire is, I think, trying in a certain way to look for my faults, my errors. This is the impression I have.”

In the same interview, Nadal said of Ramos, “I respect him a lot.”

Active chair umpires like Ramos are generally not permitted to give interviews because of tour policies. Ramos has not spoken publicly about Saturday’s match in which Williams accused him of being “a thief” and also accused him of sexism for dealing with her more harshly than he would have a male player in the same circumstances.

“I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things,” she said after the match on Saturday. “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.’”

There is no record of any men’s player calling Ramos a thief during a match. But he has certainly not been reticent to penalize men. He gave Murray a code violation during the 2016 Olympics after Murray accused him of “stupid umpiring.”

“No sexist issue there,” said Chris Evert, the former world No. 1, on Sunday. “His history with men players shows that.”

Although Ramos has focused more on officiating men’s matches during his career, he has officiated at three of the four women’s Grand Slam singles finals: the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

“Top umpires have to be able to withstand the pressures put on them by top players who do not own the court, who have to play by the same rules and code of conduct as the qualifier, the new finalist and the softly spoken player,” Morrissey said.

“I think that Carlos waited and waited to let Serena let off steam and get back into the match. Sadly that wasn’t to be, and the ‘thief’ accusation is not one any chair umpire on any court should ignore.”

Williams herself said she had not had negative experiences when Ramos had worked her matches in the past.

“Not at all,” she said Saturday. “He’s always been a great umpire.”

But she told Ramos on Saturday in the heat of the moment that he would “never” officiate one of her matches in the future. Players do not have the power to make those decisions, although tour supervisors have in the past discreetly kept chair umpires from working the matches of players with whom they have had altercations. But those breaks — known as “vacations” — are not permanent breaks.

EARLIER : Naomi Osaka Beat Serena Williams For Her Ist Grand Slam Title

New York City, USA : Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams in a dramatic women’s singles final, 6-2, 6-4, to claim her first career Grand Slam title. Osaka held her nerve to serve out the match and halt Williams, who was contesting her second final in as many majors, from tying Margaret Court’s record of 24 women’s singles titles.

After prevailing over her idol, Osaka becomes the 11th woman in the Open Era to win her first major at the US Open.

The match saw the American lose composure after she was assessed penalties for abusing her racquet and arguing with the chair umpire.

Serena Williams argued with a chair umpire during the U.S. Open finals who gave her several penalities, telling him “I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose.” Williams lost the match 6-2-, 6-4 to 20-year-old Naomi Osaka, who won her first ever Grand Slam.

Williams tearfully demanded an apology from chair umpire Carols Ramos when he handed a game penalty to Osaka.

Ramos gave Williams several code penalities: The first one is a warning for a coaching violation, the second warning was when she broke her racket, which gave a point to Osaka. Williams was given a third penalty for calling Ramos a thief. On that penalty, it put Osaka up 5-3, meaning she only needed one more game to win the match.

Williams told Ramos that she was not being coached, and she would never cheat. She demanded an apology, calling him a “thief” and a liar.”

“I have never cheated in my life,” Williams said. “I have a daughter and I stand for what is right and I have never cheated.”

When a second code violation for racket abuse was handed out to her – along with a point penalty – Williams exploded.

“You’re attacking my character,” she said. “You will never, ever be on another court of mine. You are the liar,” she fumed and Ramos handed her a game penalty that put Osaka one game from victory at 5-3 in the second set.

Williams won the next game, and continued her tearful remonstrations with a supervisor on the changeover but Osaka – who displayed not only a stellar game but remarkable poise throughout – held serve to seal a historic win for her country.

Williams, seeking a first Grand Slam title since the birth of her daughter Olympia on September 1 2017, was denied a 24th Grand Slam title that would have matched Margaret Court’s all-time record.

As the pro-Williams crowed booed the announcers at the trophy presentation, Osaka was tearing up herself, but Williams urged the spectators to show the young champion respect.

“She played well,” Williams said, pausing to compose herself. “This is her first Grand Slam. “I know you guys were here rooting, but let’s make this the best moment we can. Let’s give everyone the credit where credit is due. Let’s not boo any more. Congratulations Naomi.”

When it was Osaka’s turn she seemed at a loss.

“I know everyone was cheering for her and I’m sorry it had to end like this,” she said.

“It was always my dream to play Serena in the US Open finals,” she added, turning to Williams herself. “I’m really grateful I was able to play with you, thank you.”

She also picked the $3.8 million winner’s cheque.

Osaka and Williams had played against each other once before, at Miami in March, and it was the Japanese upstart who used her formidable power to topple her idol in straight sets.

She repeated the same feat on Saturday night. But more important for her was that she had lived a dream.

“Even when I was a little kid, I always dreamed that I would play Serena in a final of a Grand Slam. Just the fact that it’s happening, I’m very happy about it,” Osaka said after her semi-final win over 2017 runner-up Madison Keys.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe congratulated Osaka on Twitter and thanked her for “giving Japan a boost of inspiration at this time of hardship” — a likely reference to the earthquake that hit the northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, killing at least 21 people.

Kei Nishikori, who lost in the men’s semi-finals to Novak Djokovic and was runner-up in 2014, posted a video of Osaka lifting the U.S. Open trophy on his Twitter page along with the hashtag #proud and a Japanese flag.

Japan has been charmed by Osaka’s off-court humility and genuineness as much as her on-court ferocity and that unpretentiousness came through in her post-match comments.

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Samuel Abasi

Samuel Abasi

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