Serena Williams unleashed a tirade against an umpire in the final of the US Open which she went on to lose to 20-year-old Naomi Osaka
Williams was hit with violation after violation and at a press conference, she accused the umpire of sexism.
“He took a point from me after he alleged I was cheating, and I wasn’t cheating. I had a good conversation with him: ‘You know my character. You know me really well.’ I don’t even call for an on-court coach. He said, ‘I understood what you are saying,'” she said.
Serena Williams lost 6-2, 6-4 and for the first time ever, the US Open was greeted with boos at the end of the match.
It wasn’t a great moment for winner Osaka who looked distraught despite winning the game.
Williams added: “Then when I sat down, I said, ‘Just to be clear, I can understand what you saw. It may have looked [like] I was getting coaching, but that’s what I do. I’d rather lose than have to cheat to win.’ I don’t need to cheat to win. He was cool. He was like, ‘I get it.’ We were on the same page, we understood each other …”
She was asked what she would have done differently now that she’s had some time to think about things and she said: “I can’t sit here and say I wouldn’t say he’s a thief, because I thought he took a game from me.
“But I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things. I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief.'”
Serena Williams also claimed to be completely shocked at the violation given to Alize Cornet for changing her shirt on the court.
“For me, it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us to have equal — like, Cornet should be able to take off her shirt without getting a fine. This is outrageous.
“I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions and that want to express themselves and want to be a strong woman. They’re going to be allowed to do that because of today. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.”
The reaction to the whole fiasco has been divisive with many calling out Serena Williams for taking Osaka’s moment away from her.