The almighty noise engulfing tennis after Serena Williams’ on-court meltdown at the US Open final has continued further this week with various figures in the sport coming out and having their say.
Senior umpire Bob Christianson has waded into the row, demonstrating the depth of feeling around the issue in the umpire community.
He has stated that umpires have openly discussed boycotting future Serena matches if she continues to refuse to apologise for her antics.
“What we’re looking for, we’re looking for an apology from Serena to the official or officials in general. And if we don’t get that, there might be a potential boycott of her next match,” he said.
The row shows no signs of going away as fellow American legend of the sport Billie Jean King came out in support of Serena’s sexism claims this week, saying in the aftermath of the final: “When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalised for it. When a man does the same, he’s ‘outspoken’ and there are no repercussions.
“Thank you, Serena Williams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”
King later in the week slightly back peddled her comments, remarking that she thought Williams was ‘out of line’ for her behaviour, but also criticised umpire Ramos, saying that ‘he blew it’ and could have handled the situation better.
The accusations of sexism against Williams clearly has really rankled with Christianson, stating that this is ‘appalling’ and mentioning that she’s had blow-ups like this before, usually when she’s losing.
The row has been likened to some of the infamous John McEnroe meltdowns, but Christianson thinks that Serena’s behaviour eclipsed these.
“That’s the worst brouhaha I’ve witnessed in my 40-plus years of tennis officiating.”
He has been steadfast in his support for Ramos since the incident, commenting that Serena deserved her violations as her coach Patrick Mouratoglou admitted to coaching and that she broke her racket on court and called umpire Ramos a ‘thief’.
It remains to be seen whether Serena will face any further ramifications for her behaviour, after being fined $17,000 in the wake of the incident.
Her lack of an apology thus far, the support she has received in some quarters, and the discrepancy on coaching between WTA events and Grand Slams leave tennis with some difficult questions to answer moving forward.
Clearly, the stinging criticism from Christianson and threats of boycott seem to suggest this row is not going away any time soon.