Penalties were sexist, tennis star says

Story by CBC Kids News • 2018-09-11 15:03

Tennis federation says umpire was just following the rules

American tennis star Serena Williams says the chair umpire was being sexist when he penalized her during the final match of the U.S. Open on Saturday.

But the International Tennis Federation said he was just following the rules.

Chair umpire Carlos Ramos told Williams she was breaking the rules three times during the match.

He said she was getting signals from her coach in the stands, she broke her racket and she called him a thief.

Serena Williams stands beside a bent tennis racket on the ground.

Serena Williams ruined her racket when she threw it on the ground. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

The penalties:

She also had to pay a $17,000 US fine, which came out of the $1.85 million prize she won for coming in second place, behind Japan’s Naomi Osaka.

Serena Williams yells and points up at the chair umpire.

Williams was fined for verbally abusing the chair umpire during the final match of the U.S. Open. (Danielle Parhizkaran/USA Today Sports)

Williams’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted afterward that he was trying to send Williams a signal, even though coaching during a match is against the rules.

Ruining your racket is also against the rules, as is “verbal abuse” of an official.

But Williams said a man wouldn’t have faced the same penalty for calling the chair umpire a thief.

“I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things” without losing a game for it, Williams said.

“It blows my mind,” Williams said, “but I’m going to continue to fight for women.”

Japan's Naomi Osaka claps without smiling, while Serena Williams covers her face.

Japan’s Naomi Osaka, left, went on to win the U.S. Open. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Former American tennis champion, Andy Roddick, tweeted in support of Williams.

Not everybody agrees that Williams was treated unfairly.

The International Tennis Federation said the chair umpire acted “with professionalism and integrity.”

Other examples?

There are examples of ways in which men and women are treated differently in tennis.

During this year’s U.S. Open, a female player was told she broke the rules when she changed her shirt, temporarily showing her sports bra.

Men often show their chests when they change their shirts on the court.

Also, it used to be that only women were allowed to take a 10-minute break during a match on a very hot day.

Last week, the U.S. Tennis Association created a new rule that allows men to take a break, too.

With files from the Associated Press

Get your class on the same page, add this to
Google Classroom

Was this story worth reading?