Top tennis umpires are banding together and reportedly considering creating a union after the chair umpire was verbally accosted following the explosive U.S. Open women’s final this weekend.
After Serena Williams lost to Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the final, Williams went off on the chair umpire Carlos Ramos accusing him of being sexist and a “thief.”
She had received a point penalty for smashing her racket and verbal abuse, along with a warning for coaching during the game.
Williams claimed that a male player would not have received the same violations.
The CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, Steve Simon agrees and said his organization “believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women” and that it did “not believe that this was done last night.”
U.S. Tennis Association President Katrina Adams expressed similar sentiments and said that there is a double standard in the sport and that women players are treated unfairly by chair umpires.
“We shouldn’t have to carry that extra weight on our back in anything that we do,” said Adams.
Umpires are now concerned about the lack of protection and support from the league officials after so many statements were made condemning Ramos’ decision making.
“There is a lot of unhappiness in the umpiring community because no one is standing up for officials,” said an anonymous umpire to The Guardian. “Umpires keep asking: ‘What if it was me in that chair on Saturday?’ There is a widespread feeling that Carlos was hung out to dry for nearly 48 hours and that no one is standing up for officials.”
Not only are the umpires not receiving the support they hoped from by the U.S Tennis Association, but they are limited when it comes to defending themselves to the media.
“Umpires don’t have any independent means of representation and are employed by the governing bodies,” a source told The Guardian. “If talking to the media is not allowed, and governing bodies are speaking out against them, what are umpires supposed to do?”
“The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA,” said Richard Ings, a retired top-level umpire to ESPN on Tuesday. “They are all fearful that they could be the next Ramos. They feel that no one has their back when they have to make unpopular calls.”
But Ramos was given some support. The International Tennis Federation said his “decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules” and that he “acted at all times with professionalism and integrity.”
Others have also come to his defense.
“Sportscaster and former pro Mary Carillo described him Monday as “very, very respected,” and she said that Williams occasionally “acts like a bully,” writes The Washington Post.
Author’s note: As we have read, Serena WAS cheating, her coach admitted it. Her coach Patrick Mouratoglou made hand signals to her during the game. But the media is hung up on the claims that the umpire is sexist and discriminatory and issued these penalties merely because of that. Serena was being a bully.
What kind of role model blatantly cheats, yells at the umpire for calling it out, accuses him of bias, and then threatens his career? Why aren’t more calling for her resignation from the tennis world? Umpires should have the right to boycott her games.