In the 2018 US Open women’s final, 20-year-old Naomi Osaka faced her childhood idol Serena Williams, and emerged victorious, becoming the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam title. However, the triumph was overshadowed by a controversial dispute between Williams and the match umpire, Carlos Ramos, leading to a widespread discussion about tennis.
Osaka was leading the match winning the first set 6-2, and during the second set, the umpire accused Williams of receiving signals from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou, resulting in a warning.
Williams denied cheating, smashed her racket in frustration, and received another violation, costing her a point. She then called the umpire a ‘thief’, demanded an apology, and claimed her gender bias. Consequently, a third violation led to the loss of a game.
The penalties had a significant impact on the match, as Serena Williams found herself trailing by a wide margin due to the deducted points and the game penalty.
Williams accused Ramos of unfairly punishing her and questioned his integrity, arguing that male players wouldn’t face such harsh penalties. The heated exchange continued, with Williams calling Ramos a ‘thief’. Although Williams displayed excellent tennis to win the next game, Osaka ultimately secured the title.
Despite Osaka’s well-deserved victory, Williams felt defeated and disrespected by a sport she had dedicated her life to. The incident affected not only her but also altered the perception of Osaka’s historic win.
Serena Williams’ turbulent 2009 US Open semifinal
Serena Williams‘s 2009 US Open semifinal clash with Kim Clijsters stands out as an important moment of her tennis career. Despite entering the tournament with recent victories at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, the No.2 seed faced unexpected challenges in the semifinals at Flushing Meadows. Williams struggled against Clijsters and encountered controversial calls from the linesperson, disrupting the momentum.
In a particularly tense moment, Williams was incorrectly called out for a foot fault, sparking her frustration and disbelief. The American, visibly upset, confronted the linesperson and issued a threat during the match. The heated exchange resulted in a point penalty against Williams on match point, ultimately securing victory for Clijsters. Williams faced a fine of $10,500 for her behavior and later issued an apology for her actions.