For Serena the day after: A $17,000 fine and plenty of support
6:34 PM
Art Spander in Serena Williams, U.S. Open, articles, tennis

  NEW YORK—And now it’s not merely sport. Now it’s sexism and racism and people who are quick to try to get control by getting into someone’s wallet, or purse—but isn’t the distinction between those two sexist?

 Tennis is back to its schizophrenic stages of lunacy, which perhaps is the way to get noticed at the start of the NFL season.

   What happened to Serena Williams? Virtually everybody except Trump and Obama had an opinion. I mean, it wasn’t surprising that Billie Jean King would weigh in on the chaos. It’s her tennis center where the U.S. Open is held. At least it’s named for Billie Jean.

 Naturally John McEnroe, Mr. Controversy his ownself when he played in the 1980s, currently announcing the tournament on ESPN, along with younger brother Patrick, would give an “I’ve been there” comment—because he has been there.

  Maybe the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, was a trifle impatient with Williams on Saturday night, snatching a game from her in the second set of her, 6-2, 6-4, finals loss Saturday night to Naomi Osaka. All right, more than a trifle.

   Still, the emotion, arguments, confusion, distress, heresy and general lack of civility didn’t seem to have as much of an impact as does the eternal war between female and male

    Everybody appeared to be wrong at the women’s final, except poor Ms. Osaka, 20, the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam tournament who with the booing (of Ramos) and irritation of Ms. Williams, was almost made to feel like a victim not a champion.

  A percentage of the media should also be included, the ones who applauded after Serena closed out her post-match interview saying, “I just feel I have to go through this for the next persons who want to express themselves and want to be strong women”  No cheering in the press box?

 Sunday, the U.S. Tennis Association, which runs the Open, fined Serena $17.000, a pittance compared to the $82.500 she was fined for telling a line judge who called a rare foot fault in a ’09 semi against Kim Clijsters, “I’m going to stick this bleeping racquet down your throat.”

What set off the figurative fireworks Saturday night was when Ramos warned Williams for being directed from the stands by her coach Patrick Mouratoglou, She disagreed, and when she broke a racquet the warning became violation and a penalty point. Outraged, Williams yelled at Ramos, who then gave Osaka the game and 5-3 lead. Boooooo. That was the reaction of 23,000 fans.

  This was the consensus the day after. All coaches give signals from the stands, which is against the rules but rarely called, except apparently against female players, although Rafa Nadal got nailed a while back.

   And there are different tolerances, unspoken certainly, for men and for women.

. “Several things went very wrong during the U.S. Open women’s finals,” Billie Jean King, a multiple winner from years past, Tweeted after the Osaka-Williams match. “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,” the Tweet continued. Williams said male players never are penalized for outbursts, even profanity “When a man does the same, he’s ‘outspoken’ and there are no repercussions. Thank you, Serena Williams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”

  John McEnroe said of Serena’s observations, “She’s right. The guys are held to different standards. It’s like, ‘How dare she do that?’” Why the hell did (Ramos) go by the book? Do it like an NBA ref, telling a player to back off or he’ll be called. She needed some leeway. I said far worse”

   One reason Ramos and other chair umpires have so much power is because of a situation at the1979 Open, naturally involving John McEnroe and another hothead of the era, Ilie Nastase.

  The umpire, Frank Hammond, did what Ramos would this time do to Serena, giving Nastase a game for a 3-1 lead. Fans hurled empty beer cans at Hammond, who walked away before the match would end with McEnroe the winner.

  The other McEnroe, Patrick, reminded the television audience nobody understands Serena.  “None of us has walked in her shoes,” he said. “She’s an African-American woman who’s had to struggle. That’s where her response came from. But at the same time she has to be responsible.”

  Since when did responsibility become important in tennis?

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