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WTA chief backs Serena as row grows over sexism

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TOPSHOT - US Open Womens Single champion Naomi Osaka of Japan (L) with Serena Williams of the US during their Women's Singles Finals match at the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 8, 2018. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)

New York : Serena Williams’s claim that the code violations that sparked her meltdown in the US Open final were sexist stirred debate, with WTA Tour chief executive Steve Simon backing her.

Williams was handed three code violations — and docked a point and then a game — in her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka in the Flushing Meadows final.

The American superstar claimed that chair umpire Carlos Ramos meted out penalties for infractions that male players could have gotten away with, specifically a violation for verbal abuse after she called him a “thief” and a “liar” for warning her for coaching from her players’ box, then docking her a point when a racquet abuse violation followed.


Eventually she was docked a game — putting Osaka on the brink of victory.

Simon said the affair brought to the forefront the question of whether different standards are applied to men and women in the officiating of matches.

“The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same,” he said.

“We do not believe that this was done last night.”