World tennis legend, Serena Williams has been fined `$17,000 as penalty for her conduct during last Saturday’s final US Open match between her and Naomi Osaka of Japan.
The match which Serena eventually lost was marred by controversy in the second set after umpire, Carlos Ramos deducted a point from Williams and then an entire game.
Ramos first issued a warning to Williams after ruling that her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou had given her hand signals which he said constituted illegal coaching. Williams denied the accusation and could be heard repeatedly demanding an apology from the umpire.
Williams approached the net and told the umpire, “I don’t cheat. I’d rather lose. Every time I play here, I have problems”.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion did not however elaborate on the previous incidents, but in 2009 she was docked a point after she was deemed verbally abusive to a lineswoman.
In 2011, Williams’ opponent, Sam Stosur was awarded a key point and thus the game, when an umpire ruled that Williams yelling ‘Come on’ had hindered Stosur before she made contact with the ball.
Later in Saturday’s match, Ramos docked Williams a point after she smashed her racket upon misplaying a shot. Ramos then issued Williams a full game penalty after she called him a ‘thief’, saying the comment amounted to verbal abuse.
It was a case she also was heard making to tournament referee Brian Earley and supervisor Donna Kelso, whom Williams summoned to the court after Ramos penalized her.
At a post-match news conference, Williams accused Ramos of sexism and also voiced displeasure with an incident last week in which chair umpire, Christian Rask handed Alize Cornet a code violation for taking off her shirt.
“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’,” she said.
In a statement, the US Open said Ramos’ decision was not reviewable while the Women’s Tennis Association released a statement saying that Williams ‘plays with class’.
The controversy dampened Osaka’s victory, the first for a Japanese player, but Williams was quick to say during the post-match trophy presentation that her opponent deserved the win.
Although Williams won $1.85 million as a US Open finalist, the tournament referee, Earley levied fines of $4,000 for the coaching violation, $3,000 for the racket abuse and $10,000 for the verbal abuse against her.
The money will go to the International Tennis Federation’s Grand Slam Development Fund.