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US Open 2018: Blow-by-blow account of Serena Williams, chair umpire controversy

Written by PaperDabba
By: Sports Desk | Updated: September 9, 2018 5:15:18 am

Serena Williams of the USA argues with chair umpire Carlos Ramos after losing to Naomi Osaka of Japan in the women’s final on day thirteen of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Serena Williams was left upset with chair umpire Carlos Ramos after being warned for off-court coaching. (Source: USA Today Sports)

Naomi Osaka won the US Open 2018 title 6-2, 6-4 but the win was overshadowed by dramatic scenes inside a closed Arthur Ashe Stadium. Serena Williams and chair umpire Carlos Ramos had a heated verbal interaction in the second set of the match which saw multiple code violations handed down to the 23-time grand slam winner. The controversial finish cast a cloud over what should have been Osaka’s shining moment as she became Japan’s first grand slam winner having already become the first woman to reach a final.

INCIDENT 1: Coaching violation

With Osaka in complete control in the second set, Portuguese chair umpire Ramos sent Serena into complete rage mode after handing her a coaching violation. The hand gestures made by Serena’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou were deemed to be coaching by the chair umpire. During the match, Serena argued she was being gestured to pump up even though she had her back turned towards them on the far side of the court. She also told Ramos that she doesn’t take off-court coaching and would rather lose than cheat. A visual from the match, however, suggests Mouratoglou was indeed telling Serena to move forward towards the net.

Later Mouratoglou admitted he had been trying to coach Williams from the stands with some signals but accused Osaka’s coach Sascha Bajin of doing the same. “I am honest. I was coaching,” said Mouratoglou. “I don’t think she looked one time. Sascha was coaching every point too. Everybody does it.”

INCIDENT 2: RACKET ABUSE, POINT DOCKED

In the fifth game of the second set, Osaka broke Serena back after two double faults from the American. Incensed with how she was playing, Serena smashed her racket and was handed a violation for racket abuse. As she stepped up to recieve the serve after change of ends, she came to know she had been docked a point. She walked up to Ramos and told him: “Every time I play here, I have problems. I did not have coaching, I don’t cheat. You need to make an announcement. I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right. You owe me an apology.”

INCIDENT 3: VERBAL ABUSE, GAME DOCKED

The drama continued on the Arthur Ashe Stadium as the atmosphere became quite toxic with the crowd backing the former World No 1. Still upset with the allegations of cheating, Serena went after Ramos at the change of ends at 4-3 in the second set. “How dare you question my character. I’ve never cheated in my life. You will never be on a court with me as long as you live. You are the liar. You owe me an apology. Say it. Say you’re sorry,” she claimed. For the heated exchange, Ramos handed Serena a verbal abuse and the scoreline became 5-3 in favour of Osaka.

Boos continued to rain down, generating plenty of noise, as Williams refused to take court and demanded an intervention from the tournament referee. Serena calls the umpire a ‘thief’ for taking the point from her. She repeatedly tells the referee, “This is not fair, this is not fair. A lot of men have come out here and said worse things but I am being penalised.”

Security staff escorted Ramos off the court and the Portuguese did not return, as he would usually have done, for the trophy presentation.

INCIDENT 4: TROPHY CEREMONY

Even as Naomi Osaka maintained her focus to win the title, things didn’t die down when the trophy ceremony began. Just as Tom Rinaldi spoke to get things underway, it was met with a roar of boos from the crowd. With things not comfortable for the new champion, Osaka pulled her visor down over her eyes to hide her tears.

Serena tried to diffuse the tension by saying, “I know you guys were rooting but let’s make this a great moment. Let’s not boo. Let’s be positive. Congratulations Naomi. No more booing. Thank you to the crowd, you guys really are the best in the world. I really hope to play here again. It’s been tough here for me but thank you so much.”

Osaka, in an awkward speech, said, “I know that everyone was cheering for her, and I’m sorry it had to end like this. It was also my dream to play Serena in the US Open final, and I’m really glad I was able to do that. I’m grateful I was able to play with you. Thank you.”

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