Serena Williams fumes at officials in U.S. Open loss to Naomi Osaka
  • Saturday, February 16, 2019
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Serena Williams fumes at officials in U.S. Open loss to Naomi Osaka


    Naomi Osaka, of Japan, adjusts her hat during a match against Serena Williams in the women’s final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament today in New York.


    Serena Williams takes a break during a changeover against Naomi Osaka, of Japan, during the women’s final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament today in New York.


NEW YORK >> Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam singles title, beating her idol Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 today in the U.S. Open final.

The historic moment was marred by controversy, as Williams grew increasingly incensed at chair umpire Carlos Ramos for assessing her code violations and ultimately said that officials did not treat men so harshly.

The first code violation was for coaching, after her coach Patrick Mouratoglou gestured to her, and resulted in only a warning. Williams told Ramos that she “never cheats.” A few games later, Williams broke her racket, earning a point penalty. When she called Ramos “a thief” for stealing the point from her during a prolonged rant, she was given a game penalty.

At that point Williams called for the tournament referee and supervisor, and complained that her punishment was not fair.

“There are men out here that do a lot worse, but because I’m a woman, because I’m a woman you’re going to take this away from me?” she said. “That is not right.”

She said that compared to how male players acted during matches, “I don’t think I do much worse,” and added, “There’s a lot of men out here that have said a lot of things but because they are men, that doesn’t happen to them.”

Osaka finished the match with a service winner and covered her eyes with her visor. The two embraced at the net, and then Williams started back at Ramos again: “Can I get an apology?”

Mouratoglou, Williams’ coach, admitted after the match that he was trying to give her instructions, which led to her getting the first of three code violations.

“Yes, I coached I did make a coaching signal,” he said. “Serena did not see me, that’s why she did not understand why she got a warning, but I tried to coach her, like 100 percent of the coaches in 100 percent of the matches all year long.”

But in her postmatch news conference, Williams said she was not being coached.

“We don’t have signals,” she said. “We have never discussed signals.”

At regular WTA events, players are allowed coaching visits, but Williams is among the players who do not use them. She said she only looked at her box for encouragement.

The crowd inside Ashe Stadium booed lustily as the trophy ceremony began, drowning out both ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi and USTA President Katrina Adams.

Osaka began to cry, but it didn’t appear to be the tears of joy typical of a champion. It was Williams who tried to calm the crowd down.

“Let’s make this the best moment we can and we’ll get through it,” Williams said. “But let’s give everyone the credit where credit’s due and let’s not boo anymore. We just — we’re going to get through this and let’s be positive. So congratulations, Naomi. No more booing!”

Osaka barely smiled through the ceremony, thanked the crowd for watching and apologized to the fans that their favorite didn’t win.

“I know that everyone was cheering for her, and I’m sorry it had to end like this,” she said.

She didn’t answer when Rinaldi asked, “How does the reality differ from your dreams?” It’s safe to say it did, considerably.

The chair umpire is usually involved in the trophy presentation, but was absent for this one, for obvious reasons.

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