The drama surrounding Saturday’s U.S. Open women’s final carried into a second day Sunday, when tournament officials said that they had fined Serena Williams for her part in the controversial match. The penalty breaks down to $10,000 for “verbal abuse” of chair umpire Carlos Ramos, $4,000 for mid-match coaching, and $3,000 for breaking her racket.
Ramos gave Williams a warning for receiving mid-match coaching, which is not allowed but rarely enforced. Later, after Williams mangled her racket, Ramos docked her a point since he had already given a warning. It re-ignited Williams’s frustration with Ramos’s insinuation that she had cheated, and told him so, saying, “You’re a thief.” She insisted several times that he apologize. Instead of apologizing, Ramos penalized her again and, by the rule of three strikes you’re out, it cost her a game, giving Osaka a five to three lead. She had to win one more game for the title, and she eventually did so.
A tearful Williams argued her case with tournament referee Brian Earley and grand slam supervisor Donna Kelso, claiming a male player would not have been punished in such a situation, but a tournament statement later confirmed the umpire’s decisions were final.
During a press conference it was asked what she would have done differently in the situation, Williams became emotional as she said: “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. 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’. It blows my mind.”