Serena Williams treated differently than men in U.S. Open final, WTA CEO says

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Serena Williams argued that a male player would have been treated differently in her U.S. Open final episode Saturday. The WTA agrees.

“The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same,” WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement Sunday. “We do not believe that this was done last night.”

Among Williams’ arguments with chair umpire Carlos Ramos was contesting her third code violation, verbal abuse, after she called Ramos a liar and a thief for an earlier violation for her coach’s illegal coaching from the stands.

“You know how many other men do things that are much worse than that? This is not fair,” Williams insisted when talking to tournament referee Brian Earley and WTA supervisor Donna Kelso on the during the final with Naomi Osaka. “There are men out here that do a lot worse, but because I’m a woman, you’re going to take this away from me? That is not right.”

Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said after the match that he was coaching Williams, though he didn’t think Williams was looking at him at the time Ramos called the violation. Regardless, Mouratoglou said all coaches break the rule, and it had never been enforced on him before the U.S. Open final.

“[Saturday] also brought to the forefront the question of whether different standards are applied to men and women in the officiating of matches,” Simon said in the statement. “We also think the issue of coaching needs to be addressed and should be allowed across the sport. The WTA supports coaching through its on-court coaching rule, but further review is needed.”

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