Serena Williams has accused an umpire of sexism and treating her more harshly than men as she used a press conference to double down on her earlier on-court tirade at the official during her US Open final defeat to Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
Williams was cited by official Carlos Ramos for three code violations during her 6-2, 6-4 loss to the 20-year-old Osaka on Saturday: for getting coaching signals; for breaking her racket, which cost her a point; and for calling the chair umpire a thief, which cost her a game.
But despite the match penalties, she renewed her attack at a media conference later.
“I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things,” she said. “I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief,’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief’.
“For me, it blows my mind,” Williams said. “But I’m going to continue to fight for women.”
Earlier, as Williams pleaded her case on court with tournament referee Brian Earley, calling the penalties unfair, she said: “Because you’re a woman, you’re going to take this away from me?”
Two-time Australian Open champion and two-time U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka backed up Williams’ stance, writing on Twitter : “If it was men’s match, this wouldn’t happen like this. It just wouldn’t.”