Serena Williams has opened up in her first interview since accusing a US Open umpire of sexism, insisting she did not conspire to cheat with her coach.
Williams clashed with umpire Carlos Ramos after she was given a warning for receiving coaching from her box in the second set of the final, describing the tennis official as a “thief” and a “liar”.
Discussing the incident on Australian television show The Sunday Project, the 23-time Grand Slam champion asserted she did not receive help from coach Patrick Mouratoglou during her defeat to Naomi Osaka.
Williams said of Mouratoglou: “He said he made a motion, I don’t understand what he was talking about. We’ve never had signals.”
She said accused the umpire of sexism because he treated her harshly, and said that a man wouldn’t have received the same treatment.
“I just don’t understand,” she said. “If you’re a female you should be able to do, even half, of what a guy can do.”
Mouratoglou admitted he was coaching Williams, but said she didn’t look at him.
He added that Osaka’s coach was also coaching her during the match.
Williams said a male tennis player wouldn’t have been treated so harshly
Serena Williams was penalised by the umpire and handed a $17,000 fine for three code violations.
He alleged that she had broken the rules by receiving coaching, and gave her subsequent code violations for smashing her racket and for verbally abusing him.
Billie Jean King, who won 12 Grand Slam singles titles and fought for equal rights in tennis, backed Williams’ stance.
“Several things went very wrong during the match,” King tweeted. “Coaching on every point should be allowed in tennis. It isn’t, and as a result, a player was penalised for the actions of her coach. This should not happen.”
In a second tweet, King said: “When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalised for it. 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.”