"I don't cheat", Williams told the umpire chair, Carlos Ramos, as he gave her the first violation when she received coaching during the match. It was an infraction, whether Williams benefited from the coaching or not.
It is hard to know, and debatable, Navratilova mused, whether Williams could have got away with calling the umpire a thief if she was a male player, but she said focusing on that was missing the point.
Naomi Osaka said on Thursday Serena Williams's row with the umpire during the US Open final had not altered her feelings about winning a Grand Slam, largely because she had no idea how she was supposed to react. Many players even consider the anti-coaching rule obsolete and say it should be abolished.
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That anger would later cost her the game, and ultimately the match - although Osaka was clearly the better player on the night and would've probably taken out the match regardless. I'll tell you that right now.
Following her controversial loss at the U.S. Open last week, Serena Williams has sparked a conversation about equality in tennis.
The potential stance comes after the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and United States Tennis Association (USTA) supported the athlete following her claims of sexism against chair umpire Carlos Ramos in the final. (Mouratoglou admitted he'd been signaling her from the stands but claimed that everyone does it.) In some tournaments, that's not entirely against the rules, but it is at the US Open, and Ramos properly issued a warning for it.
Williams, like Arthur Ashe and other Black tennis players before her, has endured an uphill battle by virtue of simply playing a sport which was segregated for centuries reserved only to white noblemen. Vox outlined years of these attacks in a comprehensive 2017 article: "At the same time she's being celebrated, she's targeted with outrageous racist and sexist comments". She's been booed. She's been called the N-word.
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But for now Osaka is itching to do normal stuff - like catch up with big sister Mari, who is also a professional tennis player, go shopping and eat her favourite matcha ice cream.
Serena, in fact, has been the target of racist messaging that she isn't welcome in the sport she dominates. "There's a lot of men out here that have said a lot of things, and because they are men, that doesn't happen to them", Williams said to the umpire, Fox News reported. She didn't threaten, and she didn't curse. It cracked with emotion as she continued, "I have never cheated in my life".
When one remembers, among other things, Serena's outbursts in 2009 against Kim Clijsters, and in 2011 in the final against Samantha Stosur when she was losing, however, it appeared that her behaviour stems from a belief that she has a right to win, and that she can not - or should not - lose.
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Perhaps opposing teams are being more careful defending Delle Donne, because when she does get to the line, she's automatic. As did numerous players who represent those teams, such as Seahawks stars Earl Thomas, Russell Wilson and Frank Clark.