Tennis umpires have reportedly made Serena Williams public enemy No. 1 after Saturday's U.S. Open finale.
Williams' heated confrontation with chair umpire Carlos Ramos has reportedly made other umpires plan to boycott the 23-time Grand Slam winner, according to The Times.
“There is a lot of unhappiness in the umpiring community because no one is standing up for officials,” an anonymous senior umpire told The Guardian. “Umpires keep asking: ‘What if it was me in that chair on Saturday?’ There is a widespread feeling that Carlos was hung out to dry for nearly 48 hours and that no one is standing up for officials.”
Yahoo Sports reports sources told the Times umpires believed the United States Tennis Association had “thrown [Ramos] to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it” and umpires are considering “to refuse any match assignments involving Williams until she apologizes for vilifying Ramos and calling him a ‘liar’ and a ‘thief.'”
The U.S. Open winner, 20-year-old Naomi Osaka, had an emotional moment with Williams during the trophy ceremony because of the officiating controversy.
Ramos issued three penalties to Williams because he believed she was receiving coaching during the second set. The last one ultimately cost her the match.
Knowing that this boycott would only make things worse, Ramos made a statement regarding the controversy in a Portuguese newspaper.
“It’s an unhappy situation, but à la carte refereeing doesn’t exist,” the 47-year-old said. “Don’t you worry about me!”
Under the current terms of their contracts, umpires are unable to voice their opinions about matches. The Guardian reports many are afraid of losing their jobs even if they were allowed to say anything. The International Tennis Federation released a statement Monday defending Ramos against the backlash aimed at him.
“Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis,” the statement said. “Mr. Ramos’s decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were reaffirmed by the US Open’s decision to fine Ms. Williams for the three offenses.”
There have also been talks about forming a union to prevent controversies of this type in the future, according to the Guardian.
However, Williams has suffered the greatest in all of this. She's been subjected to racist taunts online, received a $17,000 fine and has been portrayed as an angry black woman for sticking up for herself.
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