Serena Williams, one of the greatest sportswomen of all time, continued to battle against the sexism baked deep into society as she went head-to-head with the incredibly talented Naomi Osaka at a controversial U.S. Open on Saturday, September 8.
During the match, chair umpire Carlos Ramos gave Williams a costly penalty for "cheating by illegal coaching," a charge Williams immediately denied. Williams demanded an apology from Ramos, whom she called a "thief." Hordes of fans expressed their displeasure online.
❤️ @serenawilliams. The true definition of a hero. https://t.co/9dvvvT8mkq— Nina Garcia (@Nina Garcia)1536455575.0
After the match, Williams said aloud what so many watchers were thinking: the umpire's decisions were clearly influenced by sexism.
I'm here fighting for women's rights and women's equality. And for me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game, made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He's never taken a game from a man, because he said thief. For me, it blew my mind.
And just in case there was any doubt, male tennis stars James Blake and Andy Roddick sounded off online, confirming they've done far worse and received no penalties at all.
I will admit I have said worse and not gotten penalized. And I’ve also been given a “soft warning” by the ump wher… https://t.co/cy1K63etJ1— James Blake (@James Blake)1536461274.0
@DanaBerger1982 @UHCougarProud I’ve regrettably said worse and I’ve never gotten a game penalty— andyroddick (@andyroddick)1536466575.0
In addition to the in-game penalty, Williams was also given a "$17,000 fine for three code violations."
Like....... Anywhere? Ever? By anyone? Ever? https://t.co/Mv6ORHRjiR— andyroddick (@andyroddick)1536466663.0
Fellow tennis player Victoria Azarenka was watching Williams's match, and live-tweeted her anger at what was happening.
This is bs— victoria azarenka (@victoria azarenka)1536442548.0
If it was men’s match, this wouldn’t happen like this. It just wouldn’t— victoria azarenka (@victoria azarenka)1536448398.0
Hearing from other tennis pros made a big difference to many online:
@andyroddick @DanaBerger1982 @UHCougarProud Thank you for saying this @andyroddick— Elizabeth Banks (@Elizabeth Banks)1536599514.0
@andyroddick @lori_stella75 @DanaBerger1982 @UHCougarProud Even Andy Roddick agrees that Serena Williams was targeted.— LeighClifton (@LeighClifton)1536533520.0
A change must be made...
@Mark_Edstrom @usta @serenawilliams The problem is that the line apparently moves based on an umpires mood. Differe… https://t.co/UqkKA5PLVe— andyroddick (@andyroddick)1536534595.0
Russell Westbrook yells at a ref, Baker Mayfield taunts an opponent, Andy Roddick berates an umpire and they're cal… https://t.co/nX45LnKx9l— Andrew Gilman (@Andrew Gilman)1536532862.0
@SymoneDSanders Y’all remember when Andy Roddick use to flip the hell out and curse at the umpire. I don’t remember… https://t.co/7xw6s7xHSV— KD (@KD)1536453410.0
@TheeGadfly @kymberlyh @serenawilliams @andyroddick @RafaelNadal @usopen Did she break a rule? Yes, several. Are th… https://t.co/47UFumcBHg— Chris Sawyer (@Chris Sawyer)1536586691.0
The @wta is backing @serenawilliams over her claims of sexism in the @usopen final. Male players have behaved the s… https://t.co/yvd6zQY7Mv— Sarah-Jane Mee (@Sarah-Jane Mee)1536557390.0