US Open: Serena Williams partly wrong, says Navratilova

Sep 12, 2018, 12:09 IST | mid-day online desk

Legend Navratilova disagrees with Williams' outburst during US Open final; says it can't be justified even if men's players get away with it

US Open: Serena Williams partly wrong, says Navratilova
Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, says Serena Williams was wrong in her outburst at the US Open women's finals even though she agreed there is a double standard. Writing in an opinion article for the New York Times, the Czech-born American said a higher standard needed to be observed when Serena called umpire Carlos Ramos a thief and was penalised a key game in the second set.

"We cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should be able to get away with," Navratilova wrote. "In fact, this is the sort of behavior that no one should be engaging in on the court." Serena said she was punished for saying something where men have said far worse without incurring such a penalty.

"Serena Williams has part of it right. There is a huge double standard for women when it comes to how bad behaviour is punished ­– and not just in tennis," Navratilova said. "But in her protests... she also got part of it wrong. I don't believe it's a good idea to apply a standard of, "If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too. Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honour our sport and to respect our opponents?"

Williams was issued a warning for coaching, something her coach sitting in the stands, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted to doing. Williams was unhappy at the violation call and complained to Ramos she hadn't taken any signals. Williams smashed her racquet, resulting in a code violation and a point deduction, which she argued over with umpire.

"Ramos had no choice but to dock her a point," Navratilova said. "It was here that Williams started to lose the plot. She and Ramos were, in effect, talking past each other. She was insisting that she doesn't cheat – completely believable, but besides the point – while he was making a call over which he, at that point, had little discretion.
Navratilova further wrote: "It's difficult to debatable, whether Williams could have gotten away with calling the umpire a thief if she were a male player."

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