Tennis Ethics: Spectacular Ethics Train Wreck At The U.S. Open

 

Wow.

And tennis is supposedly one of the most ethical sports.

This weekend’s U.S. Open women’s final opened up so many cans of ethics worms that they should be squiggling for weeks.

Here is the New York Times report in part:

Anger, boos, tears and an accusation of sexism overshadowed a remarkable victory by Naomi Osaka, a rising star who became the first tennis player born in Japan to win a Grand Slam championship.

Osaka soundly defeated her childhood idol, Serena Williams, 6-2, 6-4, in the women’s final of the United States Open on Saturday, blocking Williams from winning a record-tying 24th major singles title. But the match will long be remembered for a series of confrontations between Williams and Carlos Ramos, the match’s chair umpire, who issued three penalties against Williams in the second set, after Osaka had established her dominance.

The first was a warning after Ramos felt Williams was receiving instructions from her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, from the stands, which is against the rules. Williams was offended by the implication that she was cheating, and she demanded an apology. Later, after losing a game, she smashed her racket on the court, incurring a second penalty and the loss of a point. Finally, after she called Ramos a “thief” for taking the point from her, Ramos cited Williams a third time, resulting in the loss of a game. Williams’s anger intensified, and she pleaded for help from the tournament referee, Brian Earley, and the Grand Slam supervisor, Donna Kelso….

But what should have been a moment of uninhibited joy for Osaka turned into tears of sadness. The postmatch celebration was tarnished by the angry booing from fans upset over what they perceived as Ramos’s unfair treatment of Williams, and amid the cacophony, amplified by the closed roof because of rain, Osaka pulled her visor down over her face and cried….

In the second game, Ramos spotted Mouratoglou urging Williams to move up, and Mouratoglou conceded that he was, in fact, coaching. But he argued that it is done by every coach in every match and that the warning was the cause of what followed. He said Ramos should have quietly told Williams to inform him to cut it out. “That’s what umpires do all year,” the coach said, “and it would have ended there, and we would have avoided a drama that was totally avoidable.”

Williams approached the chair to tell Ramos that it was a “thumbs-up” gesture and that she would never accept coaching on court, which is against the rules of Grand Slam events. “I don’t cheat to win,” she said in a stern tone. “I’d rather lose.”

During the next changeover, tensions seemed to simmer down during a civil exchange when Williams explained to Ramos that she understood he might have interpreted some coaching, but that none actually existed.

Williams went back on court, held her serve in that game, and then broke Osaka’s serve to take a 3-1 lead in the second set. If she could have consolidated that break, it might have turned the flow of the match. But Osaka broke right back, and after the game ended, Williams destroyed her racket by throwing it to the court in anger. That resulted in a racket abuse penalty, a second code violation, for which the penalty is a point. Osaka would start the next game ahead by 15-0. When Williams realized that, she argued more and demanded that Ramos apologize to her and make an announcement to the crowd that she was not receiving any coaching. Ramos, known for his no-nonsense approach, did not relent.

“You owe me an apology,” Williams said. “I have never cheated in my life. I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her and I have never cheated.”

When the next changeover came, with Osaka leading, 4-3, Williams, still visibly distraught over what she perceived as unfair treatment, told Ramos that he had stolen a point from her and called him “a thief.” For that, Ramos gave Williams a third code violation, which meant she lost a game. Without swinging her racket, Osaka was now ahead, 5-3, and one game from the championship. Williams did not appear to realize that Osaka had been given the game until she reached the baseline again. Now fuming, she returned to the chair and demanded to speak to Earley and Kelso. Fighting back tears as the crowd yelled, hooted and booed, Williams pleaded her case. She said the treatment was unfair and argued that male players routinely behave in the same manner without facing penalties.

“There are men out here that do a lot worse, but because I’m a woman, because I’m a woman, you’re going to take this away from me? That is not right,” Williams told one official. Later, at a post match news conference, she accused Ramos of sexism for issuing a code violation for her “thief” accusation….

As the players stood next to each other, fans booed and Williams, seeing how upset Osaka was, moved over and put her arm around the new champion and then pleaded with the fans not to boo.

Osaka, in her speech, apologized to the fans, acknowledging that most of the fans were rooting for Williams in her quest to set a career record.

Now this, from the Sporting News:

Patrick Mouratoglou admitted to coaching Serena Williams during the U.S. Open final, but believes she never received his message….Mouratoglou said he had attempted to help Williams, but added coaching was common in almost every match.”I’m honest, I was coaching. I don’t think she looked at me so that’s why she didn’t even think I was,” he told ESPN.

“But I was, like 100 percent of the coaches in 100 percent of the matches so we have to stop this hypocritical thing. Sascha (Bajin, Osaka’s coach) was coaching every point, too. “It’s strange that this chair umpire (Carlos Ramos) was the chair umpire of most of the finals of Rafa (Nadal) and (his uncle) Toni’s coaching every single point and he never gave a warning so I don’t really get it.”

If you read Ethics Alarms with any regularity at all, you should be able to predict some of the commentary here, if not all of it.

Observations:

 I. The primary Ethics Dunce and the originator of the wreck was Serena Williams.

Serena Williams is the greatest female tennis player of all time, bar none. She is admirable in many ways, and has pretty much saved American’s women’s tennis in the post-Chris Evert era from being overwhelmed by boring international stars and uninteresting personalities. She is also a raging narcissist, a bully, and often unsportsmanlike. I don’t mark her down too much for narcissism. Narcissism is as much an occupational hazard for athletes as it is for actors, models, bodybuilders, artists and politicians. It is the rule rather than the exception for all of these professional pursuits, and the greater the achievements, the more pronounced the narcissism in most cases….not all, but most.

Williams is a prime example of why caution should be used before one selects heroes and role models, and this episode shows her capacity as an ethics corrupter. She knew that the New York crowd was overwhelmingly favoring her over her underdog, Japanese-American opponent. She knew she was losing fairly and squarely. She knew that protesting to the umpire repeatedly would inflame the crowd, and she knew that doing so was considered bad form in her sport. She also knew, or expected, that as her sport’s biggest star and personality she could count on “The King’s Pass” to some extent, meaning that instead of being held to a high standard as a star and role model, she would be held to a lower one.

Her protests to the umpire were in fact a series of rationalizations, including “Everybody does it” (#1), “It’s not the worst thing” (#22), They’re Just as Bad” (#2), and  “No harm no foul” (#8). Williams  played the victim, knowing that doing so would undermine her opponent’s victory, which was looking likely. Serena didn’t care. Hers was an unethical—and revealing—performance in multiple ways.

II. Williams was cheating as well as lying about the coaching from the stands…

…and not just lying, either, but also grandstanding at an obnoxious level. In Serena’s case, you have to pick a defense; arguing in the alternative doesn’t work. Williams was claiming “How dare you suggest that I was cheating!” while her coach was arguing, “Everybody does it!”

At least Mouratoglou confirmed that he was, in fact, giving hand signals despite Serena’s feigned indignation, which really translated as, “How dare you not let me, the Great Serena Williams, cheat to achieve my inspiring comeback?” After the match, and her coach had spilled the beans, Williams’ defense morphed into “But I wasn’t watching him, so it doesn’t matter.” Yes, it does. The act of cheating is completed when a third party affiliated with the player on the court provides advice to that player. The officials don’t have to prove that the advice was taken, or that it was effective.

If Serena’s coach was giving hand signals this time, then he’ s done it before. If he’s done it before, then Williams knows he coaches during matches. If she knew that before the U.S. Open, then she ratified the cheating unless she instructed him, “No hand signals.”

Williams was essentially using yet another rationalization, #61. A.  Barry Bonds’ Pass:  “He didn’t need to cheat,” changing the “he” to “she.” The evidence is, however, that her coach was signalling Williams to move to the net, and she did start moving to the net, and did start winning points by doing so.

I’m sure it was just a coincidence.

III. All three penalties were justified.

Once her cheating lie was exposed by her own coach, then her defenses against her other two penalties from the umpire, Ramos, were imaginary. Throwing a racket in anger is usually an infraction: it was even when I was playing competitive tennis. Calling an umpire a “thief” should be a penalty, and was. That’s not just unsportsmanlike; it is impugning the integrity of the the official, the match, and the tournament. A baseball player who called an umpire a thief would be thrown out of the game. If he said it after a game, he’d be suspended and fined. A lawyer who called a judge a thief would be held in contempt, and probably disciplined by the bar.

VI. Playing the gender card was despicable.

When one is caught in misconduct, play the victim. That’s what Williams was modeling for her fans and admirers. Note that she was not saying that blameless conduct was being punished by the official that male players routinely engage in with impunity. She was saying that she should be allowed to engage in misconduct, because according to her, men did it too. The problem is that even if she’s correct in her complaint—and with Ramos, she was not correct—what she is arguing is that their unpunished conduct justifies hers. Wrong. If true, the remedy would be to make sure that male players are penalized too, not to allow her to violate the rules.

Today the sports media is full of opinion pieces supporting Williams because she called attention to the gender inequality in pro tennis. There are issues in that area, though not the main one—women get less money to play tennis because they aren’t as good at it, therefore not as entertaining to watch. If they want equal prize money, the solution is simple: open up the men’s tournaments to the women, and see how they do. They know how they’d do—badly.

Williams decided to exploit the earlier controversy in the tournament over a female player’s penalization for changing her shirt on the court to bully this umpire, who wasn’t buying it. Writes the Times’ Janet Macur, “You also have to wonder if Williams would have gone after Ramos so relentlessly — and with such conviction to stand up for women’s rights — if she were winning.” No, you don’t have to wonder. Hers was a cynical, self-aggrandizing protest, playing to the crowd, playing to her fans, playing to the media, at the expense of tennis and her innocent opponent. Masur again:

“The match tarnished tennis and was a stinging blow to sportsmanship… the match was ruined, and Osaka’s great moment was clouded..”

Bingo.

V. Playing a “mother card” was worse.

“I have a daughter and stand for what’s right for her,” she told Ramos on the court as she swore she’d never cheat, while she was cheating. This was flagrant grandstanding, Everyone knows Williams is coming back from child-birth, intensifying her feminist fans’ passion, but it has nothing to do with the game on the court. Because she is a mother, her coach’s hand-signals don’t count? Good theory, Serena. So now tennis players who are parents have greater credibility than the rest. Is that the Williams Rule?

Shameless.

VI. Carlos Ramos was the Ethics Hero in this fiasco.

The umpire Williams accused of sexism has a strong record of being strict with all infractions by both genders. Williams accused him of sexism because he is male, an action itself that is bigotry. She had the wrong umpire to try that tactic, probably knew it, and impugned his integrity anyway. Nice. To his credit, he did not buckle under her “Do you know who I am?” assault, which is what this was.

The pro-Serena chorus, which includes most of the sports media, are still spinning madly to find Ramos at fault. Pam Shriver, the former player who is now an ESPN analyst, said “Ramos helped derail a championship match by being rigid beyond normal protocol by not giving first a soft warning for coaching, not communicating effectively to defuse an emotional player and by not allowing a player to let off more steam before giving the third code violation that gave a game at a crucial time in a final. No four-letter words were used that I heard.” That statement makes Shriver another Ethics Dunce on this train wreck:

  • A soft warning on cheating? Really? Ramos is not obligated to follow the misguided practice of his less competent colleagues. He enforced the rules.

The biggest name in women’s tennis was cheating at the U.S. Open. That’s a big deal, and he was right to treat it as such, even if other umpires wouldn’t have the guts.

  • It’s not the umpire’s job to play therapist with a misbehaving star. It is the players’ job to control their emotions.

In baseball, supposedly a far less mannerly sport than tennis, a player behaving like Serena would have been thrown out of the game before the second infraction.

  • “No four-letter words were used that I heard.” Ugh. “Thief” may be a five-letter word, but it is far worse than any four-letter expletive, as I already explained. She didn’t curse at him she impugned his honesty and motives.

VII. The crowd booing Osaka was cruel, unfair..

…and entirely seeded by Williams, who, having set her opponent up to be vilified, then stepped in after the crowd had reduced Osaka to tears and asked the fans to stop jeering.

Later Williams said, “Maybe it was the mom in me that was like, ‘Listen, we got to pull ourselves together here.’ ” Yecchh, ick, uck, gag. Isn’t she wonderful? Did you know she was a mother?

She pulled off a bizarre tennis version of Munchausen by proxy, the mental disorder in which mothers make their children sick so they can appear heroic by caring for them. She caused Osaka’s distress, then played the noble rescuer.

I have lost all respect for Serena Williams after her performance. Her pose as a heroic role model for women is a sham. She revealed herself as manipulative, self-centered, and ruthless.

VIII. The only apologies due are those Serena Williams doesn’t have the character to utter, and apologies from the vicious and stupid crowd..

…but mobs never apologize. Naomi Osaka, the 20-year-old rising star  who beat her childhood idol—I hope she has gotten over that—apologized to the fans for disappointing them and spoiling Serena’s dream comeback. This is one remnant of Japanese culture that Naomi needs to drop, quick. You owe no one an apology for winning fairly. It is notable that the U.S. Open Ethics Train Wreck ended with one of its victims apologizing to her abusers.

45 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Sports

45 responses to “Tennis Ethics: Spectacular Ethics Train Wreck At The U.S. Open

  1. Cynical John

    Just another example of what is ruining professional sports–arrogant anuses who are overpaid, spoiled brats. Unfortunately, it seems to be spreading.

    • Yes, but most of the overpaid anuses aren’t vigorously defended for being thus.

      • Other Bill

        Great discussion, Jack. However, the elephant in the room I keep having a hard time ignoring goes by the name of John McEnroe, certainly an ethics corrupter, no? And by the way, I think we can fairly call Serena an ethics corrupter.

        • Yes, and yes.
          Actually Mac (and before him, Jimmy Connors) was penalized quite a bit.. He never accused an official of deliberately stealing a match from him, though.

          Both Mac and Connors should have been suspended for long periods. But they were Americans, and big draws, like Serena.

          • Other Bill

            Thanks Jack. I was never a serious tennis fan having never played the game. Connors and McEnroe were such big deals in their time they were hard not to notice. In many ways, they were more infamous than famous, at least to the general and even sporting public. Having played tennis, you probably paid them more attention. My son played and Andre Agassi was far and away his favorite. I think Andre was pretty well mannered.

  2. Aleksei

    I’m glad you covered this story. As I first read about it yesterday, I started counting the rationalizations and justifications used. I think she needs to be suspended, a la Tom Brady with the deflating ball scandal. I also don’t get how you can use the sexism card in this instance, when your competitor is also a woman, yet doesn’t get the same infractions as you do. That was despicably cynical.

  3. Alex

    Re: coaching signals

    I’m a bit surprised the coach was not immediately removed.

    Back in the middle ages when I did martial arts competitively the coach had a chair next to the sparring area and was allowed to talk, yell and give signals. This had been the rule and protocol for decades despite constant pleading that it was distracting. Finally as I moved out of the junior division the rule was updated, and while the coach remained at his chair, he was no longer allowed to talk or give signals. They were sitting like statues, and could only coach in the break between rounds, when they could confer with the fighter. No other external input was allowed.

    Failure to do so would result in immediate removal of the coach, plus a warning (two of them equals a docked point, which is A BIG DEAL, or was back before the rules were changed to look more like fencing). You catch another person passing signals to the coach. Same result, removal of the coach, the signaler, and a warning.

    Also rules were strictly enforced and being caught breaking on of those was quite the embarrassment. We might have been giving each other concussions (j/k) but at least we did so honorably.

    • Luke G

      Right? I’m seeing lots of complaining about how it’s unfair that the athlete was penalized for the coach’s misdeed, but in my own concussion-giving days (it was football, so probably NOT kidding…) we had to pull a hot-headed coach off the field a few times lest he get the team an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

  4. Luke G

    What appears to be the mob-designated smoking gun of sexism here is “Ramos has never penalized a man with the loss of a whole game!” (Originated by Williams and amplified by Billie Jean King, as far as I can tell). Of course, what ISN’T mentioned is if he’s ever penalized another woman with the loss of a game. There’s no pattern in a data set of one.

    As for whether other referees allow more or less flexibility in their definitions of “coaching” or “arguing,” yes, that’s the price you pay from having human referees. Everybody athlete learns that you base your play on how the ref for that specific day is calling things.

    • Luke G wrote, “There’s no pattern in a data set of one.”

      Seriously Luke, there is a really clear pattern that social justice warriors don’t need a pattern of perceived abuse any more than they need actual facts, it all about what they can twist in an effort to destroy their target.

  5. I don’t understand how a warning about the coach resonated within and broke Serena so badly. She was simply warned that her coach was getting too involved. Shouldn’t she have just said “Thanks, I’ll tell him to simmer down.” It’s hardly a “cheating” violation. If it’s as common an infraction that it goes wildly unpunished as the coach makes it seem, then for her to think she was being accused of cheating rather than a simple routine infraction…. I just…

    What happened here is that Serena turned into Bridezilla. She thought this was her big day… and it wasn’t.

    • Luke G

      Good point. There’s a big gap between breaking the rules and getting a warning/penalty and “cheating.”

    • Jeff

      What I think happened is that Serena saw that she was going to lose this match to a young newcomer and decided that she wasn’t going down alone, she was bringing the whole match with her. She knew was going to lose no matter what, but this way she can argue that she “would have” won, but the match was stolen from her (she wouldn’t, and it wasn’t, but that’s neither here nor there). It’s pretty classic “sore loser” behavior.

  6. JutGory

    Jack,
    I think I sent this to you before, but I don’t know if you got it.

    Anyway, it is always worth further reflection.

    One reason I think golf is probably the most demanding sport, ethically:

    http://www.startribune.com/marshall-golfer-was-headed-back-to-state-then-did-the-right-thing/425565213/

    Self-reporting in an integral part of the game. Imagine if batters had to call their own balls and strikes.

    Of course, that is not a fair comparison. Golf, probably more than any other sport is a competition against oneself, more so than it is a competition against someone else.

    -Jut

  7. JP

    I think she is using her mom status to make a ‘think of the children rationalization.’ Which is kind of ironic, because if she really had a child’s best interest at heart, she would have kept her cool.

    “Ramos helped derail a championship match by being rigid beyond normal protocol by not giving first a soft warning for coaching”

    Wasn’t the first warning a soft warning?

  8. Mrs. Q

    If Ramos had been a white woman then the accusation would have been racism rather than sexism. In the world of social justice there always has to be an enemy & a victim.

    The assertion that Ramos should have Williams “let off more steam” sounds a bit like the mayor in Baltimore in 2015 who said rioters needed to be allowed to “destroy space.”

    Osaka is now adhering to the new SJW ethos…apologize to your abuser. In Europe it has become common for women to not report a rape committed by a minority (mostly Muslim immigrants) and even go so far as to apologize for the assault. While I understand Osaka’s apology was cultural, it was part of a disturbing trend that needs to be examined.

    At this point I just don’t care about sports anymore. The smug vague protests, drugs enhancements, cheating, temper tantrums, and politics makes them lose all entertainment value. That being said this juicy story has many lessons and this train wreck should be used to help sports regain some semblance respect. But I doubt it will.

    • As much as the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth, it’s #8 that gets me the most. The victim apologizing. I want to hug her and say shame, shame at the mob of bullies. There are so caught up in a black female comeback, they abuse an asian female.

      This is why judging will move more to robots, They can’t be guilted or browbeaten… here’s the evidence: be quiet.

  9. Glenn Logan

    Thank you, Jack, for exposing and remorselessly censoring Williams for her abhorrent, shameful conduct. The conduct of the crowd was equally blameworthy, because they simply degenerated into a mob, and exposed their own “I am a follower and incapable of independent thought” ethic to the world. Fitting that it was a New York crowd.

    The sports media has truly jumped the shark on this, and not for the first time. It’s just pathetic to see. If women’s professional tennis had a shred of integrity, they would go back and suspend Williams from the tour until two more Grand Slam events have been decided. The fine she was hit with was entirely insufficient, because you’re exactly right – she was the proximate cause of all the bad behavior beyond her own, and … let me say this one more time for the record…

    SHE CHEATED, and virtually demanded to be excused for it!

    Sad. She should ban herself, but to do that, she’d have to find integrity somewhere. With her, all you have is talent without a shred of integrity or self-awareness.

    I am reminded of Tim Tebow, who may well go down as a legend when it comes to the correct mindset for sports:

    “We play a sport. It’s a game. At the end of the day, that’s all it is, is a game. It doesn’t make you any better or any worse than anybody else. So by winning a game, you’re no better. By losing a game, you’re no worse. I think by keeping that mentality, it really keeps things in perspective for me to treat everybody the same.”

    Tim could be talking to Serena like a Dutch uncle. And then, of course, there is The Babe:

    “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.”

    Hear that, Serena? There are no owesies in baseball, nor in tennis.

  10. Matthew B

    Your comment under item VIII: “It is notable that the U.S. Open Ethics Train Wreck ended with one of its victims apologizing to her abusers.” led me to think of DARVO.

    Are you familiar with the concept of “DARVO”? It was coined by a Jennifer J. Freyd, Professor of Psychology, University of Oregon. It refers to the tendency of bullies and abusers to Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. Williams ticks off every one of those items in this incident. She did them in order – Denied she cheated, Attacked the judge, then played the victim card when she wasn’t the victim.

    https://dynamic.uoregon.edu/jjf/defineDARVO.html

  11. PennAgain

    Finally hit on why this whole episode seemed like a rerun. It was the crowd’s reactions. They came in smug and excited to begin with, certain they had laid down their money on a sure bet – hey! Black! hey! a woman! – was going to take this elec… I mean championship. – Hey! look-a me! I’m here vot…uh…applauding for My Sure Winner (and against this outlander – this ..this …! how dare she!) What’s this about emai… I mean, cheating? She never did; she never would; don’t tell me about rules! Change the damn law. It’s ruining our constitutions. We wuz robbed!

    What a T R i U M P h two years ago; what a continuing embarrassment from a mob of losers now. I don’t follow tennis, and I don’t get soppy often but my heart goes out to Japan for the immense loss of face — every part of Williams’ tantrum was a punch in the gut for Osaka, and she took it . . . I have to say it: “like a man” — on top of spoiling what should have been an unalloyed celebration of a nation for a rare and well deserved first place.

  12. JLo

    Jack, another wonderfully written piece. When I witnessed the whole thing on Saturday from the PVR, I was mentally checking off entries from the list of rationalizations as fast as I could, but was struggling. I was just gobsmacked as it unfolded and it got worse and worse through the awards presentation and press conference.

    Couple of (ok a few) observations if I may:
    1) You make mention of pay inequality. While it may be that at lesser tournaments (and most lesser tournaments don’t feature both men and women) pay differently, the majors have paid equally to men and women for quite awhile now, from winner on down. Venus Williams was (among others) a large reason why Wimbledon go on board 10+ years ago to equalize payments. This is an amazing feet given that in majors men play best of 5 and women best of 3 sets. They both play best of 3 in lesser tournaments.

    I have no information about ticket sales volumes or ad revenue (whether or how pricing varies) but I understand the price of a ticket to women’s match in a major that may last 55 to 90 minutes (e.g. definitely in an earlier round and often even later) is the same as the price for a men’s match that is more likely to last more than 2 hours and sometimes way more than that when there is parity between the players. Most ticket buyers buy passes for more than a match. All this being said that it is hard to see if men or women are generating even amounts of revenue that may justify even payouts despite the fact that men have to work harder for the same pay.

    2) You mention Pam Shriver and her comments. Normally I enjoy her insight but in this case and with many former players as commentators regardless of the sport, they tend overwhelmingly to commentate as and for the benefit of players and not for the benefit of the sport as a whole. All of her comments suggested that the player needed indulgence and the chair was at fault. Really? In the interest of tennis we need to indulge poor player behavior? Maybe the final overall tone of the match would have been different but I don’t think Ramos as Chair is supposed to be Ms. Williams on-court coach and therapist. Clearly she had such a coach! Anyway, there was already an incident in this tournament where a Chair did just that and I believe the overwhelming conclusion was it is improper and shows favouritism: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/30/sports/tennis/nick-kyrgios-umpire-us-open.html

    3) Finally (I am sure you are relieved), you do allude to this next point in your comments as do some others. I think the real victim here is Naomi Osaka. The fact it is another woman should be ringing alarm bells in the heads of those supporting Ms. Williams but I think she is just collateral damage. Just like Sanders was to the activities the DNC engaged in for Clinton. Another ends justifies the means rationalization I guess.

    When a player like Ms. Williams and those bad boys of yore McEnroe and Connors engaged in tirades like this, they are trying to unnerve the opponent as much as the Chair or other official. Pilling on incident after incident of repugnant behavior is no way to treat another woman.

    Here, with her first time playing a major final match, Osaka appeared to be an easy target. Yet, her composure during the match was way beyond her stage as a player. I hope she is able to play as well as she did for the last two weeks and can raise women’s tennis into a new competitive era.

    I hope more though that Ms. William’s supporters in this latest dustup with officials (which supporters to my understanding are overwhelmingly women) will see that they treated and are treating another woman unfairly and learn from this mistake.

  13. Zanshin

    In Ms Williams’ after-the-game comments she said, “I’m here, fighting for woman’s right and for women’s equality.” and the clip ends with Ms. Williams saying, Maybe it didn’t work out for me but it will work out for the next person

    This narrative fits 100% with the new Nike “Colin Kaepernick” commercial which has the payoff,

    “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything!

    • Can cynical virtue-signaling be any more blatant?

    • Jeff

      What a disgusting statement. You can try to dress it up however you want, Serena, but nothing will change the fact that the greatest achievement so far in Naomi Osaka’s career was utterly ruined by your childish, egotistical behavior. But she did it so the “next person” will benefit. Utter horseshit.

  14. There is a significant difference between the NFL and the world of Tennis: the fan base.

    I am willing to be wrong, but my perception is that Tennis fans are much more likely to be progressive in slant, as a result of the ‘elite’ aspect of the sport. Tennis takes money to play, and is popular in more rarified social circles.

    The NFL runs the other way. I believe the NFL is paying for their cluelessness regarding their fan base. Most fans believe in country, honor, and traditional values. The disrespect for our country allowed in the NFL has cost them, and will continue to do so.

    I do not expect to see such a reaction in the fan base for Tennis.

  15. Alan Bustany

    Well said!

  16. Warren Fulgenzi

    Great article! This is spot on. True on all counts!!!
    People keep bringing up that some of the men don’t get penalized games. The men don’t get penalized because they stop their antics after the first warning and for sure after the second. Serena pushed the envelope as if she was above the rules! This articles clearly describes how she should be held even more accountable as she is the face of Womens tennis, rather than giving her the free pass.

  17. Frank Cruzaedo

    Wow, I’m a teaching pro and have read a dozen articles on that match, and YOURS is excellent!!! Thank you for writing it!!

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