When a player wins his/her maiden Grand Slam title, it is the completion of a target they have set for themselves. But forget living out a dream, newly crowned US Open Champions Naomi Osaka endured a nightmare and there was only one person to blame for it - not Carlos Ramos, but Serena Williams.
It all started in the second game of the second set with Osaka leading 40-15. Serena had just hit her forehand long and turned around to her coach. As Osaka got ready to serve, Carlos Ramos, who would be turned into a villain by the end of the night, gave the American a warning for coaching. Serena should have just taken one on the chin and moved on but she walked up to the official and proclaimed, “If he gives me a thumbs up, he is telling me to come on. We don’t have any code and I know that you don’t know that and I understand why you may have thought that that was coaching. But I am telling you that it was not. I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose. I am just letting you know.”
Let’s take a moment and just look at the facts. "Players shall not receive coaching during a match (including the warm-up). Communications of any kind, audible or visible, between a player and a coach may be construed as coaching," reads the rule in Section L of the ‘Article III - Player On-Site Offense’. Is this rule a joke because of what happens in every single match of every single tournament? Of course, it is! But does that mean that if a player breaks the rule and gets caught doing it, the player should not be penalized? Well if you listen to the chatter after the final, you would think so because apparently everyone does it, which it makes it right. Serena was adamant that she didn’t cheat. While she might have gotten the benefit of the doubt, Patrick Mouratoglou’s comments after the game were like a Mike Tyson knockout punch.
“I was coaching. I don’t think she looked at me so that’s why she didn’t even think I was. A hundred percent of the coaches, (coach) on a hundred percent of the matches. So we have to stop this hypocrisy. It is strange because this chair umpire (Ramos) was the umpire in most of Rafael Nadal’s matches and Tony (Nadal) is coaching every single point. And he never gave a warning. So I don’t really get it,” Mouratoglou said after the match. While it might have been harsh that she was singled out in the final of a Grand Slam, it was nothing more than a slap on the wrist. No points deducted. No extra punishment. It was nothing and she should have just moved on from there.
#SerenaWilliams had to get the referee together in the middle of the US Open Championship game for insinuating she was getting illegal coaching on the sidelines 👏🏽👏🏽 “I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose” pic.twitter.com/JvuWtqoWGI— Rap 🔥 (@iIoveRap) September 8, 2018
So that was where we stood at the end of the game with the scoreboard reading 1-1 in the second set. Serena then broke the Japanese and looked like she was going to make her way back into the game. However, Osaka wasn’t done. She broke back in the fifth game to bring the score to 2-3 and was back on serve. That is when Serena decided to take out her frustration on the racquet - hurling it to the floor and thereby breaking another rule. The second code violation came for racquet abuse which cost Serena a point but it looked like Serena wanted the first violation to be taken off because “she had not cheated.” What followed was another monologue,
“This is unbelievable.
What she meant by the problems she has faced at Flushing Meadows in the past is most probably in reference to a 2009 semi-final clash against Kim Clijsters, in the same stadium, where she was defaulted from the game for threatening a line official. With the game interestingly poised at 15-30, with the set score
After Serena was broken for a second consecutive game, she went on yet another tirade, knowing fully well that she had already received two code violations. “It’s wrong. You attacking my character. You owe me an apology. You will never ever ever be on a court of mine as long as you live. You are the liar. And you stole a point from me. You a thief too,” Serena said. As the American walked over to restart the match, the umpire charged her with another code violation, this time for verbal abuse, she was docked a game.
U.S. Open: An argument between #SerenaWilliams and Chair Umpire #CarlosRamos that resulted in calling him a "thief."— BlueprintAfric (@blueprintafric) September 9, 2018
Earlier in the match, Ramos handed down a warning for coaching following hand gestures from Williams' coach #PatrickMouratoglou.
See previous post!
When the penalty was explained to her, Serena laughed out at the decision before asking for another apology demanded
Serena Williams: "There's a lot of men out here that have said a lot of things and because they're a man, that doesn't happen to them." (via ESPN) pic.twitter.com/9MqhnAja20— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 8, 2018
Let’s get something out of the way. It is unusual for players to be warned for coaching especially in a final but I cannot stress this enough, Ramos is well within his rights to do it. Mouratoglou’s claim that Nadal does not get a code violation for coaching certainly holds some ground but Ramos is known as a man who does not shy away from handing out warnings. At this year’s French Open, Nick Kyrgios was warned for shouting at a ball boy and Djokovic suffered the same fate when he bounced his racquet off the grass at Wimbledon. The shocking thing, both incidents, and the Serena
The idea that John McEnroe is one of the most loved characters in tennis and his utter disdain for officials was considered to be bravado is done and dusted. That is a concept from a bygone era which will obviously not be tolerated today. The
Forget the accolades, what Serena has done for tennis, not women’s tennis but world tennis, has been nothing short of incredible. But no one is above the law. Her only excuse every time has been that others do it as well. That sound less of a