I really had to let this sit in for a few days before I wrote about this. There was alot that was wrong about this. I have listened to and read alot of opinions on this. So let’s go through this one by one.
1. Serena gets a warning for her coach sending instructions from the stands which is illegal in Tennis. Now I never played tennis. I don’t watch Tennis outside of the brief time I was logging commercials for ESPN3 while working at MLB Advanced Media. So if this is the rule then so be it. If it is never called and was called during this match then I can’t answer to that because I don’t know. Nor do I know why this is a rule. Why this umpire chose this time to give a warning is something you would have to ask him. The little i know about Tennis and from hearing all sides about this the fact that this was called is bad. Especially in a Grand Slam finals match. So the judge Carlos Ramos who is highly decorated but also known as a strict rule enforcer and someone who will penalize star players should have shown some restraint and not given a penalty but should have asked Serena to have her coach stop.
2. Serena’s reaction to this was inexcusable. At no time did Ramos accuse her of cheating. Her coach who later admitted to coaching from the stands and who also said every coach does it made the comment that Serena can’t even see him. However she did reference to her coach giving her a thumbs up and that it was not coaching. From the video we all saw which I have put a link to it above and his own words he was coaching. Was Serena using this coaching we don’t know, She defiantly said she does not cheat and does not get coached from the sidelines and she kept on about that when she should have just let it die. Besides Ramos made a ruling and he is not going to and nor should he change the call because Serena said I was not getting coaching which we all know now was not true. Not one person said she was following the instructions her coach was giving her or that she was even aware of it. She did acknowledge seeing her coach give her the thumbs up while he was giving instructions.
So from my prospective this should have ended right now. Serena was given a warning. Maybe she did not know the rules and if she didn’t know the rules then that is her fault. Maybe she thought her explanation made Ramos overturn the warning which he did not. And By the way the score was 1-0 in set 2 in favor of Serena when the warning was given.
3. Serena is given a code penalty because she slammed her racket on the court. Again I am not a Tennis fan so I don’t know if everyone who slams their racket on the ground gets a penalty but according to the rules she deserved this penalty. The score was 3 to 2 in set 2 but Serena just lost her serve so she was upset at her play. Did the accusation when the score was 1 to 0 make her player bad when she won 2 out of the next 3 games? No. But once she breaks her racket she loses one point in the next game. Again this is the rules of Tennis. Now I have no idea if losing one point makes a huge difference in that game. I guess it does but it does not mean you are going to lose that game. Naomi Osaka still had to win 3 more points to win the game.
4. Serena’s reaction and out burst to getting one point taken away from her was embarrassing and disgraceful. One to demand Ramos to make an annoucement that she did not get coaching was a disgrace. First of all we know she did get coaching he admitted it and it was caught on camera. Then to demand an apology while raising her voice is dis respectful. Claiming she has a daughter and stand up for what is right has nothing to do with this situation. Kept demanding an apology.
5. Serena continuing her rant when the score was now 4 to 3 in favor of Osaka a full 2 games later. It is obvious to me she lost all composure and she knew she was not going to win on this day so she looked for an excuse and in the process took away a once in a lifetime moment for Osaka. Serena kept saying you owe me an apology and you attacked my character, Called him a iiar. By saying you will never work another one of my courts again is a threat and her trying to bully Ramos around. Demanding Ramos not talk to her because he won’t issue her an apology. Then called him a thief because she lost a point. Ramos should have said to her to knock it off otherwise I have to give you a game penalty which he ultimately did. Serena was more upset about being called a cheater in her eyes but her play on the court did not reflect it. Now I am not going to accuse her of cheating but it sounded to me that maybe she has received coaching during her previous matches by the way she kept carrying on about this.
6. Ramos issues a game penalty after Serena called him a thief. Again he could have warned her before issuing her the game penalty but Serena was verbally abusing him. Upon learning she was assessed a game penalty Serena continued her tirade with the referee and started playing the gender card. But before she asked for the referee she said I told you to apoligize to me. Who does Serena think she is demanding an apology when her coach was clearly giving instructions from the stands. Serena needs to apoligize to Ramos and every one else. While talking to the referee she said several times men get away with worse behavior. Again I don’t watch alot of Tennis so I can’t confirm that men don’t get treated the same way.
So in my opinion Serena just melted down and knew she was going to lose and just simply lost her composure. It’s a fact that this same judge has been harsh on other Tennis players including men. I am in no way a world class athlete like Serena is but at some point you need to shut up and play. Bad calls are a part of sports. You can’t act like she did afterwards. If she was trying to build a platform for women’s rights then she could have just as easily built that platform once the match was over. But to use all of this as an excuse for losing and yes in her mind she is doing that even if she didn’t actually say it is just a disgrace. Serena does have a history of being a bully on the court even telling one judge I am going to jam this ball down your throat. She ruined this moment for Osaka who outplayed her all match.
Ramos was wrong initially. But Serena’s reactions were disgraceful. She was immature and acted like a baby. She needed to set a better example. She ruined Osaka’s moment. The crowd who booed and the people who are defending her are clueless. Call me a sexist or an asshole. Whatever. Serena may be the best female tennis player of all time. With that she has a responsibility to not lose her composure. Your actions or lack of actions define you more. Just ask Jackie Robinson.