US Open (tennis)

Serena Williams gets backing in US Open sexism row by WTA chief Steve Simon after loss to Naomi Osaka

Steve Simon agrees with ‘double standards’ argument that umpire Carlos Ramos did not treat women’s finalists in same way he would have done men

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 September, 2018, 9:30am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 September, 2018, 10:54pm

WTA Tour chief executive Steve Simon on Sunday backed Serena Williams’ claim that sexism played a role in the code violations that sparked her US Open final meltdown.

Williams was handed three code violations – and docked a point and then a game – in her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka in the Flushing Meadows final

Osaka outplayed her childhood hero to become the first Japanese player to win a grand slam, but her accomplishment was swamped in the controversy surrounding 23-time grand slam champion Williams.

The American superstar claimed chair umpire Carlos Ramos meted out penalties for infractions that male players could have got away with.

“Yesterday also brought to the forefront the question of whether different standards are applied to men and women in the officiating of matches,” Simon said in a statement.

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“The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same.

“We do not believe that this was done last night.”

Williams was most incensed by the first code violation she received – for coaching from her box.

It’s not clear if she even saw the hand gestures by coach Patrick Mouratoglou sitting in her box, and Simon said the sport as a whole should examine the rules on coaching.

“We also think the issue of coaching needs to be addressed and should be allowed across the sport,” he said.

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“The WTA supports coaching through its on-court coaching rule, but further review is needed.

“Yesterday’s match showcased one of tennis’ new stars as well as one of the greatest players of the game,” Simon concluded.

“We look forward to more thrilling matches between these great athletes and hope that what we all witnessed yesterday never happens again.”