Tennis umpires considering boycotting Serena Williams matches: report
Tennis umpires are reportedly considering boycotting matches involving Serena Williams after the athlete’s controversial loss in the women’s final of the U.S. Open on Saturday.
A report by The Times of London published on Tuesday cited an anonymous official saying that tennis umpires are considering refusing to officiate matches involving Williams.
The potential stance comes after the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and United States Tennis Association (USTA) supported the athlete following her claims of sexism against chair umpire Carlos Ramos in the final.
Williams’s match with 20-year-old Naomi Osaka of Japan was clouded with controversy after Ramos issued a code violation to Williams during play, saying she had received coaching during the match — a point Williams strongly denied.
Williams later broke her racket and shouted at Ramos, which led to a penalty point and a game penalty.
Williams accused Ramos of sexism after the match and pointed out that male players have been more aggressive verbally with umpires than she was, but had been not been penalized the same way.
She also called Ramos a “thief” for taking a point from her.
U.S. Tennis Association President Katrina Adams issued a statement praising Williams as a “true champion” on Saturday and told “CBS This Morning” Tuesday that she believes there is a double standard when it comes to how female and male tennis players are treated.
The CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, Steve Simon, also issued a statement backing Williams on Sunday and said that his organization “believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women,” while also adding they he did “not believe that this was done last night.”
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.”
But that did not stop an anonymous official from claiming in an interview with The Times of London that Ramos was “thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it” and for also saying that umpires have felt they the were “not supported” by the USTA frequently.
Another person identified as a “senior figure” told The Guardian that umpires felt Ramos was “hung out to dry” after the incident and that “no one is standing up for officials” amid reports that the incident is fueling talks of a boycott.
“There is a lot of unhappiness in the umpiring community because no one is standing up for officials,” the person told the Guardian.
“Umpires keep asking: ‘What if it was me in that chair on Saturday?’ There is a widespread feeling that Carlos was hung out to dry for nearly 48 hours and that no one is standing up for officials.”
“Umpires don’t have any independent means of representation and are employed by the governing bodies,” the source continued. “If talking to the media is not allowed, and governing bodies are speaking out against them, what are umpires supposed to do?”
Ramos, however, said days after the match that he is “fine, given the circumstances.”
“It’s a delicate situation, but umpiring ‘a la carte’ doesn’t exist. Don’t worry about me,” Ramos said while speaking to Portuguese newspaper Tribuna Expresso, according to The Associated Press.
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