Tuesday 18 September 2018

Serena Williams fined almost €15,000 after extraordinary outburst in US Open final

Serena Williams, right, talks with referee Brian Earley during the women's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament against Naomi Osaka, of Japan, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in New York.
Serena Williams, right, talks with referee Brian Earley during the women's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament against Naomi Osaka, of Japan, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in New York.

Eleanor Crooks

Serena Williams has been fined a total of 17,000 US dollars (€14,691) for her offences during the US Open final.

The 23-time grand slam champion lost her cool after being given a warning for coaching from the stands early in the second set against Japan's Naomi Osaka.

She was penalised a point for a second offence, smashing her racket, and then a game after she verbally abused umpire Carlos Ramos, calling him a liar and a thief. That put Williams 5-3 down in the second set and she went on to lose 6-2 6-4.

The verbal abuse offence was the most serious and for that Williams has been docked 10,000 USD (£7,700). The remainder of the fine is made up of 4,000 USD for coaching (£3,100) and 3,000 USD for racket abuse (£2,300).

She earned 1.85million USD (£1.43million) in prize money for reaching the final.

This was supposed to be the day when Williams finally equalled the all-time record of 24 grand slam singles titles won by Margaret Court and more than 23,000 fans packed into Arthur Ashe Stadium eager to be a part of her moment.

But instead the final descended into rancour as Williams and Ramos, a very experienced Portuguese official, took centre stage, overshadowing a remarkably composed performance from 20-year-old Osaka in her first grand slam final.

Williams was furious when she was given a coaching violation after Ramos spotted a hand gesture from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou, telling the umpire she would rather lose than cheat.

Mouratoglou later admitted to ESPN that he had been coaching, but Williams insisted she had not seen the signal and that they had never discussed such communication.

Mouratoglou, who has worked with Williams since 2012, alleged Osaka's coach Sascaha Bajin was also coaching, and it is an open secret that such conduct is commonplace.

On-court coaching is allowed on the WTA Tour, but Williams is one of the few players who never uses it.

After dropping serve in the fifth game of the second set and smashing her racket, Williams was given an automatic second violation, resulting in a point penalty, something of which she initially seemed unaware.

She continued her argument with Ramos at the next change of ends and accused him of being a thief for taking a point away from her. Ramos gave her a third violation, which resulted in a game penalty.

A tearful Williams argued her case with tournament referee Brian Earley and grand slam supervisor Donna Kelso, claiming a male player would not have been punished in such a situation, but a tournament statement later confirmed the umpire's decisions were final.

Asked in her press conference what she would have done differently in hindsight, Williams became increasingly emotional as she said: "I can't sit here and say I wouldn't say he's a thief, because I thought he took a game from me.

"But I've seen other men call other umpires several things. I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He's never taken a game from a man because they said 'thief'. It blows my mind."

It is not the first time Williams has run into trouble with officials at Flushing Meadows. In a semi-final against Kim Clijsters in 2009, she was penalised for threatening a line judge and put on a two-year probation.

Two years later, during a final loss to Sam Stosur, Williams called umpire Eva Asderaki "a hater" and "unattractive inside" for calling a hindrance penalty against her and was fined.

Press Association

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