Serena Was Right: Ump Was 'a Thief'

Carlos Ramos 'couldn’t take a woman speaking sharply to him'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2018 9:11 AM CDT
Chair umpire Carlos Ramos watches play as he officiates the match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka during the women's final of the US Open, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in New York.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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(Newser) – Carlos Ramos, the man tasked with umpiring the women's final of the US Open between Serena Williams and Naiomi Osaka, instead "marred Osaka’s first Grand Slam title and one of Williams’s last bids for all-time greatness," and he did it "all because he couldn’t take a woman speaking sharply to him." So writes Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post, herself taking a sharp tone with the chair umpire, who first dinged Williams for receiving coaching, then docking her a point for smashing a racquet. "You stole a point from me. You’re a thief," Williams told him. "There was absolutely nothing worthy of penalizing in the statement," contends Jenkins. "It was pure vapor release." Jenkins notes that Rafael Nadal last year told Ramos he'd never let him ref one of his matches again, to no penalty.

But not Williams. No, Ramos "wasn’t going to take it from a woman pointing a finger at him and speaking in a tone of aggression." His third penalty gave Osaka the win, and now "we will never know whether young Osaka really won the 2018 U.S. Open or had it handed to her by a man who was going to make Serena Williams feel his power." As both players stood crying during the trophy presentation as the crowd booed, Williams put her arm around Osaka, trying to give her back her spotlight. But Ramos had already ruined the moment for both: "Osaka can never, ever recover this moment. It’s gone. Williams can never, ever recover this night. It’s gone. And so Williams was entirely right in calling him a 'thief.'" Click for Jenkins' full column. (Meanwhile, Billie Jean King said in the wake of the controversy that there's absolutely a double standard in tennis.)

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