Serena Williams row: Tennis umpires mulling boycott of matches involving American star

Emmett Rice
September 13, 2018

Portuguese official Carlos Ramos was accused of sexism in the aftermath of the match, which saw him involved in an escalating dispute with Serena Williams that ended with him slapping the player with a one game penalty as she lost in straight sets to Naomi Osaka in NY on Saturday evening.

But the International Tennis Federation defended Ramos and said in a statement that his "decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules" and that he "acted at all times with professionalism and integrity".

His appearance could prove awkward after several figures from the US Tennis Association, including president Katrina Adams, publicly supported Williams in her sexism allegations.

NEW YORK, Sept 11 ― Spawned by sexism or not, Serena Williams's run-in with chair umpire Carlos Ramos in a tumultuous US Open final loss to Naomi Osaka had tennis officiating in an unwanted spotlight once again.

The sport's top umpires have felt that Ramos "was hung out to dry" and are miffed with the fact that ITF took 48 hours to issue a statement, according to The Guardian.

There are now discussions about boycotting Williams' matches between a group of umpires that lack a body to represent their interests. Ramos need not have stuck so closely to the rule book as he did because his primary duty is to help players across choppy waters. One suggestion being floated is to refuse any match assignments involving Williams until she apologizes for vilifying Ramos.

And Ramos has defended his actions by insisting that he can not ignore certain rules during matches.

The 20-year-old, who is of Haitian and Japanese descent, became the first-ever Japanese-born Grand Slam champion Saturday after defeating her idol, Serena Williams. You are the best player at the end of this event and because of the turn of events with the crowd and the booing and everything, it wasn't the way - that was the outcome I was referring to.

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"The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned" by officials with the Women's Tennis Association who questioned Ramos' rulings in such a high-profile contest, Ings said.

At the 2016 French Open Venus Williams was also angered to receive a code violation for supposedly communicating with her coach.

The governing body's support for Ramos came after the WTA, which operates the women's tour, was critical of the way things went between him and Williams in NY.

Ramos gave three code violations to Williams - for on-court coaching, racket abuse and verbal abuse - all of which were justified, and between them added up to a game penalty.

"I'm fine, given the circumstances", Ramos told Tribuna Expresso, a Portuguese news outlet. "What was supposed to be a memorable moment for tennis, with Serena Williams, perhaps the greatest player of all time, facing off against Naomi Osaka, the future of our sport, turned into another example of people in positions of power abusing that power", King wrote.

Ramos was unable to defend himself over the weekend as the rules prevent umpires from commenting on the matches they oversee. She said on Tuesday both sides shared the blame for the incident. "We do not believe that this was done".

BBC tennis presenter Sue Barker expressed similar sentiments while saying, "I've sat courtside watching the men ranting at umpires and they haven't been given a violation".

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Williams said she didn't know if she would have managed to turn things around if the dispute with Ramos had not occurred. Williams later broke her racket, which earned her another penalty, which led to an argument between Ramos and Williams.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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