US Open: All you need to know about Serena Williams' epic meltdown

Sep 10, 2018, 07:50 IST | PA Sport

Here's a lowdown of Saturday's US Open final 'clash' between Serena Williams and chair umpire Carlos Ramos. You decide if she had a point

US Open: All you need to know about Serena Williams' epic meltdown
Serena Williams argues with chair umpire Carlos Ramos during the US Open final against Naomi Osaka in New York on Saturday. Pics/AFP

How did it start?
Serena Williams was unhappy to be given a code violation for coaching early in the second set. Players are not allowed to receive coaching from anyone in the stands and umpire Carlos Ramos saw Williams's coach Patrick Mouratoglou making a gesture.

Coach admits to tips
Yes, Mouratoglou admitted to ESPN that he was coaching, but claimed all coaches do it, something that is widely accepted but inconsistently penalised. Williams told Ramos she would rather lose than cheat. The American is one of the few players never to call their coaches on court, which is allowed on the WTA Tour, and said they had never discussed hand signals.

Chair umpire Carlos Ramos
Chair umpire Carlos Ramos

What happened next?
Williams smashed her racket after dropping serve in the fifth game. A second violation, even though not for the same offence, results in a point penalty. There was no dispute about this warning, a broken racket is an instant violation.

Why was she penalised a game?
Having not initially realised she would be penalised a point, Williams continued to protest to Ramos at the next change of ends. When she called Ramos a liar and a thief for taking a point off her, the Portuguese official decided to issue another violation, which resulted in a game penalty.

Serena makes her point with referee Brian Earley
Serena makes her point with referee Brian Earley

Was he right on this one?
Technically, yes. The Grand Slam rule book states: "Verbal abuse is defined as a statement about an official, opponent, sponsor, spectator or other person that implies dishonesty or is derogatory, insulting or otherwise abusive."

How did Williams take it?
Not well. She demanded to see tournament referee Brian Earley, who came onto court with Grand Slam supervisor Donna Kelso. Williams became tearful as she argued that male players say worse things to umpires and are not given code violations and later accused Ramos of sexism.

Serena chats with Grand Slam supervisor Donna Kelso
Serena chats with Grand Slam supervisor Donna Kelso

Does she have a point?
Perhaps. The issue once again is one of consistency. On the scale of verbal abuse, this was fairly minor, but it was still a breach. Umpires can give so-called soft warnings, and Ramos applied the letter of the law where maybe a different approach could have been taken. Whether it was sexist or not is much harder to determine.

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