Tennis greats split over US Open umpiring after Osaka beats Williams to title

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Greats of the game, current and former players and officials have been reacting to an extraordinary US Open final that saw Serena Williams lose to Naomi Osaka after an angry confrontation with the umpire.

Carlos Ramos’ decision-making, which saw Williams docked a point and then a game over a row sparked by a warning for coaching, has been met with support and criticism.

Meanwhile there has been further debate over Williams’ charge that she had been a victim of sexism from the chair.

Former US Open champion Andy Roddick tweeted that it was the “worst refereeing I’ve ever seen ……the worst !!!”

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

Former US Open quarter finalist Mardy Fish came out in defence of Williams, tweeting: “She wasn’t even looking. Believe what you want”.

She was then docked a point for a second violation when she smashed her racket. Williams then accused Ramos of being a “thief” for taking a point away from her and he gave her a third violation, docking a game.

Fish said: “What a wild US Open for the Ref’s. Two ridiculous calls today. I can promise you, that’s not coaching, racquet abuse no doubt, but the verbal abuse??? It’s the US Open Final!!!”

Williams said after the match: “For me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark.”

Two-time finalist and former world number one Victoria Azarenka tweeted: “If it was men’s match, this wouldn’t happen like this. It just wouldn’t.”

Meanwhile Billie Jean King said that Williams had called out a “double standard”.

She tweeted: “Several things went very wrong during the @usopen Women’s Finals today. Coaching on every point should be allowed in tennis. It isn’t, and as a result, a player was penalized for the actions of her coach. This should not happen.

“When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” & and there are no repercussions.”

Support for Williams was not universal, with some saying the 23-time Grand Slam winner was simply in the wrong.

Andrew Castle said the incident was reminiscent of Williams’ meltdown at the same tournament in 2009 against Kim Clijsters.

“Not sure how any unbiased observer who knows the rules and history of tennis can look at what happened and defend Serena,” he tweeted.

“Memories of Clijsters match. You just can’t act like that I’m afraid. #Serena now claiming that men do this. More nonsense. Is she claiming sexism? This is not right.”

British number four Liam Broady said he was “absolutely gutted” for Osaka, saying she had her moment “snatched away from her”.

“I think incredibly strong from the umpire to not be intimidated by a GOAT (greatest of all time) of the game and hand out the game penalty even so?

“You shouldn’t talk to anybody in this way whether they’re an umpire or person on the street.”

Richard Ings, a former rules and competition chief for the ATP, defended Ramos and called on the sport’s governing bodies to support him.

“When coaches and players come out and threaten the employment of umpires then it falls to the governing bodies to defend those officials just doing their job,” he tweeted.

“Carlos Ramos was doing his job. And doing it well in my extremely experienced opinion.”

In a statement the US Open said the chair umpire’s decision was final.

Despite the controversy there were many messages of support for Osaka, who became the first Japanese grand slam winner.

2017 men’s finalist Kevin Anderson urged Osaka to feel proud “for competing against someone you (and the rest of us) admire so much to win your first slam”.

“You’re the real deal!,” he tweeted.

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