Wednesday 20 March 2019

Serena Williams umpire Carlos Ramos speaks out for first time since US Open final - 'a la carte arbitration does not exist'

Chair umpire Carlos Ramos during the US Open womens final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka
Chair umpire Carlos Ramos during the US Open womens final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka

Charlie Eccleshare

The umpire at the centre of the Serena Williams sexism scandal has broken his silence over Saturday's US Open final.

Speaking to Tribuna Expresso in his native Portugal, Carlos Ramos said: "I'm fine, given the circumstances. It's a delicate situation, but 'à la carte' arbitration does not exist. Do not worry about me!"

Representatives from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and Women's Tennis Association (WTA) had publicly supported Williams' accusations of sexism against Ramos, but he received widespread support from former officials and was publicly backed by his employer the International Tennis Federation (ITF) on Monday.

The ITF's belated support reflected the growing consensus that Ramos handled the situation impressively in what were very difficult circumstances.

Ramos gave three code violations to Williams - for on-court coaching, racket abuse and verbal abuse - all of which were justified, and between them added up to a game penalty. The final offence saw Williams call Ramos "a liar" and "a thief". 

Ramos also confirmed on Tuesday that he will return to the umpire's chair for this weekend's Davis Cup clash between Croatia and the United States.

The tie will be given added intrigue by the fact that the USTA's president Katrina Adams was one of his most vociferous critics in the aftermath of Saturday's final. Speaking to ESPN the day after, she claimed that Ramos would not have dealt out such severe punishments if he had been dealing with a male player.

Adams has subsequently been criticised for publicly undermining a well-respected official, who has no history of sexism. 

Journalist Miguel Seabra meanwhile, a former umpire and close friend of Ramos, revealed on Tuesday that Ramos had received "hundreds" of goodwill messages - including from colleagues, players and former players.

The Davis Cup tie between Croatia and the United States starts on Friday and finishes on Sunday.

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