On Saturday Sept. 8, the women’s U.S. Open tennis final took place. This match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka was weighed heavily in favor of Serena Williams, who has been a dominant player in women’s tennis for many years now and was predicted to win. But the 20-year-old rising star, Naomi Osaka, stopped Serena along her path to victory. Osaka defeated Williams on Saturday night with an impressively dominant score of 6-2, 6-4.
While many people were shocked by the outcome of the match, the behavior of Williams was extremely concerning and very unusual for a player at her level and with her experience. Williams got into a verbal altercation with the chair umpire during the middle of her match, leading to a night full of anger, tears, and consequences to come. Throughout the match, she received three code violation,s including on-court coaching, racket abuse, and verbal abuse. All three of these violations were justified according to the rules of tennis, but Williams did not agree with the umpire and confronted him in front of the live crowd.
As shown on the live television broadcast of the match, Williams confronted umpire Carlos Ramos, calling him “a liar” and “a thief.”
Ramos, along with the International Tennis Federation assured the general public that calls made during the match were correct and the violations were deserved. Williams did not agree whatsoever with the umpire or the ITF, arguing that it is all because she is a woman. She tried to argue that men break the rules all of the time and are never penalized for it.
The commotion between Williams and the referees caused an uproar both during and after the match. Williams is a role model in women’s tennis, and many fans at the match were unhappy with the results and angry with the umpire. Immediately after the match the victorious Osaka began to cry, as she did not know how to react in her current situation. She was overcome with emotion because she had just won her first major tournament, but she also felt bad for her opponent.
This was an extremely rare situation as proven by Williams, who said, “At one point, I felt bad because I’m crying and she’s crying, and I’m not sure if those are happy tears…I was thinking this definitely wasn’t how I felt when I won my first grand slam.”
After seeing her young opponent in tears during the award ceremony following directly after the match, Williams addressed the booing crowd, trying to comfort Osaka. Williams’ outbursts throughout the match took away from Osaka’s victory. Osaka played amazingly well and straightforward. She outplayed Williams, but she did not get the credit that she deserved.
Since the match ended, Williams has been fined $17,000 for her behavior on the court, and more rulings and fines are likely yet to come.