Another Serena Controversy 🎾

 Julian Finney / Getty Images

Julian Finney / Getty Images

This time with the ref

The 2018 women's U.S. Open final ended in an upset victory for 20-year-old Naomi Osaka as well as a series of controversial incidents for her opponent Serena Williams. Williams received a violation for allegedly receiving coaching during the game, had a point docked for breaking her racket, and was forced to give up a game for calling the referee, Carlos Ramos, a “thief”. 

Obvious sexism or fair play?

Two viewpoints have emerged after this emotionally-charged match. One side sees these violations as the pinnacle of flagrant sexism towards women in sports, while the other side sees this as mostly-fair infractions given out by a strict chair umpire with years of experience. 


SEXISM IN TENNIS:

CBS News: Serena Williams' U.S. Open loss may be the grossest example of sports sexism yet

Salon: Serena Williams’ treatment during the U.S. Open final was sexist

Those who view this incident as an example of sexism in tennis support Serena and highlight the double standard that they believe exists in tennis. They point to multiple examples where male players conducted more egregious acts than Serena and were let off the hook with a lighter penalty or warning. They also highlight how trash-talking is tolerated more with male athletes in general but not with females. 

JUST A TOUGH UMPIRE:

The Guardian: It's not just Serena: how umpire Carlos Ramos has clashed with players

Slate: Carlos Ramos and Serena Williams Are Both to Blame for the Ugly U.S. Open Final

Those who believe Serena was simply dealing with a tough umpire note that this referee has a history of strict rule enforcement and has clashed with players in the past. They note that he is a "gold-badge" umpire with tons of experience. This side generally blames both Serena and the umpire for the clashes and the fact that tennis rules are sometimes inconsistently enforced depending on the umpire.


So was she being coached?

Serena was fined $17,000 for her violations. Later on, her coach admitted that he was coaching her but that she wasn't looking at him anyway. Her coach also noted that what he did during this match was no different than anything he (or other coaches) have been doing in previous matches. This begs a question as to whether tennis rules are being enforced to the same degree across matches.

When you play too hard

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