Serena Williams was fined $17,000 on Sunday for three controversial code violations chair umpire Carlos Ramos handed her during her loss to Japan's Naomi Osaka in the U.S. Open finals on Saturday, the U.S. Tennis Association said. Ramos gave Williams the first violation for a hand gesture her coach made from the stands, ruling it illegal coaching, a charge Williams denied. He docked her a point for her second violation, smashing her racket, and when Williams demanded an apology and called him a "thief," Ramos took the unusual step of penalizing her a game for what he called verbal abuse.
Osaka notched her first Grand Slam title 6-4, 6-2, but Williams was right about Ramos being a thief, argues Sally Jenkins at The Washington Post. "We will never know whether young Osaka really won the 2018 U.S. Open or had it handed to her by a man who was going to make Serena Williams feel his power," she said, and Ramos "abused his authority" by putting his ego over his job, tipping the scales against Williams, who was trying for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title. You can watch the escalating exchanges below.
Williams lost her temper, but "male players have sworn and cursed at the top of their lungs, hurled and blasted their equipment into shards, and never been penalized as Williams was," Jenkins noted. And "Ramos has put up with worse from a man. At the French Open in 2017, Ramos leveled Rafael Nadal with a ticky-tacky penalty over a time delay, and Nadal told him he would see to it that Ramos never refereed one of his matches again." Williams' $17,000 fine is also being compared with the $1,500 fine Roger Federer was handed for swearing at umpire Jake Garner during his loss to Juan Martin Del Potro in the 2009 U.S. Open finals. You can watch that encounter below, but be cautioned that it gets a little NSFW at the end. Peter Weber