WTA Chief backs Serena as row grows over umpire’s decision

NEW YORK (AFP) – Serena Williams’s claim that the code violations that sparked her meltdown in the US Open final were sexist stirred debate, with WTA Tour Chief Executive Steve Simon backing her on Sunday.

Williams was handed three code violations in her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka in the Flushing Meadows final.

Osaka outplayed her idol to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam, but her accomplishment was swamped in the controversy surrounding 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams.

The American superstar claimed that chair umpire Carlos Ramos meted out penalties for infractions that male players could have gotten away with, specifically a violation for verbal abuse after she called him a “thief” and a “liar” for warning her for receiving coaching, then docking her a point when a racquet abuse violation followed.

“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,” he said.

“We do not believe that this was done last night.”