Tennis: Serena Williams, a fabulous track record and some gray areas too
The American’s incredible career has also been accompanied by some controversy.
Idol of many, almost undisputed at the twilight of her prodigious career, the American Serena Williams, was also sometimes a divisive personality, at the origin of controversies on the courts which sometimes earned her a reputation as “bad loser“.
. The Williams–Ramos Affair
In the 2018 US Open final, Serena missed the chance to win her 24th Grand Slam title, which would have allowed her to join Australian Margaret Court’s record, losing to Naomi Osaka (6-2, 6- 4), new darling of the circuit. But beyond this defeat, this match is remembered for the violent algarade between the player and the chair umpire Carlos Ramos. Leading 1-0 in the second set, Ramos booked the American for a move by her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.
A dialogue ensues which will gradually escalate. “I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose“Defends the American. “It’s incredible. I did not receive any +coaching+. I have never cheated in my life. you owe me an apology“, she gets carried away at the change of side.
Williams smashes his racquet and receives a second warning, synonymous with a penalty point. “You attack my person. You are wrong. You will never referee one of my matches again. You owe me an apology. you are the liar“, she says. “You are a thief. You stole a point from me. Say you’re sorry!“, she insists.
The Portuguese referee gives him a third warning, so a penalty game, a rare sanction at this level. Serena Williams cries: “It is not fair.Another consequence of the incident, the star had to pay a fine of 17,000 dollars.
After the meeting, the player accuses Carlos Ramos of sexism. “I fight for women’s rights and for equality. Saying +thief+ and receiving a penalty game, I felt like a sexist act. He never inflicted a penalty game on a man who had called him + thief +.»
. Sketch with homophobic and xenophobic overtones
Shortly after this final, a supposedly humorous sketch from the Fox television channel resurfaced on social networks. Serena Williams plays a parody superheroine, “BlackRacket“. She faces a character played by a muscular man wearing a blond wig, supposed to embody Amélie Mauresmo.
The Frenchwoman had made her homosexuality public in 1999. In this skit, his parody version sets out to demonstrate his physical strength by crushing a tennis ball between his thighs. All under the eyes of a ball boy of Asian origin, named “table tennis“.
Before the episode with Carlos Ramos, Serena Williams had already lost her nerves at the US Open. In the semi-final of the 2009 edition, opposed to Kim Clijsters, she got angry with a line judge who had signaled a foot fault on service, offering two match points to the Belgian, shouting at her and pointing her racket.
Her words are not audible on the TV broadcast, but according to the media, she is threatening the linesman with him “shove the ball down the throat“, who will complain to the chair umpire. Williams then denies aloud having made death threats. But she received a second warning, synonymous with a penalty point – and therefore a lost match.
. Cry out of time
Another incident occurred at Flushing Meadows in 2011, in the final against Samantha Stosur (6-2, 6-3 defeat). Led 6-2, 30-40 in the first game of the second set, on her serve, Serena Williams had uttered a sound “come on!(come on!) after hitting a forehand winner, but before Stosur had even touched the ball.
Referee Eva Asderaki then reversed the point and gave the game to the Australian. “You are out of control. You are a hater. (…) Don’t even look at meWilliams told Asderaki after sitting down on her bench.