Not Sexism. The GOAT Just Behaved Like A Kid.
The toys were thrown out of the cot, a tantrum was chucked, and Nick Kyrgios wasn’t even in sight.
An historic US Open Women’s Final was marred by a dramatic Serena Williams’ outburst, and later crazy talk of sexism in the post-match press conference.
Williams' bad behaviour overshadowed Naomi Osaka’s stunning 6-2 6-4 win, making her the first Japanese tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles title.
Last week I wrote a piece about the myriad ways I love Serena.. But I can’t stand with her on this one.
The GOAT had a bad day at the office. I guess even the best do and are human after all, but I'm so disappointed by what transpired. These were ugly scenes for tennis, and sport in general, on what should have been a memorable occasion and finale to the tournament.
Serena let herself down.
What got the 23-time Grand Slam winner’s fab black tutu in a twist? Her temper flared as she received three code violations, including a rare game penalty for verbal abuse from chair umpire Carlos Ramos, and early in the second set was accused of receiving instructions from her coach.
Williams didn’t like it.
“I did not get coaching. I don’t get coaching. You need to make an announcement right now that I don’t get coaching. You owe me an apology.”
Unfortunately for Williams, her coach Patrick Mouratoglou said otherwise after the game.
“I’m honest. I was coaching. I was like 100 percent of the coaches on 100 per cent of the matches.”
Williams responded by calling the official a cheat. Super dooper #Fail
“I have never cheated in my life. I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her. I’ve never cheated and you owe me an apology.
“You will never be on another court of mine as long as you live. Say it. Say you’re sorry.
“And you stole a point from me. You’re a thief.”
Things went from bad to worse when the spotlight shifted off court and, in her post-match presser, Williams explained she was fighting for women’s rights and equality and that the referee’s decision to take a game off her “made me feel like it was a sexist remark”.
Whoa, hold up, Queen.
This wasn’t sexism, this was bad behaviour. I bet Williams has copped sexism and been dealt the whole hand of inequality cards right throughout her dazzling career. But not today.
And she’s right, male players have carried on forever and a day and probably said and done worse. But, like it or not, Ramos simply enforced the rules.
What upset me most was the presentations, where the newest Grand Slam champ should have been shedding tears of joy, rather than the upset, embarrassed kind. The 20-year-old had long dreamed and worked towards this moment and should have achieved it in fairytale fashion. After all, she idolises Williams and has spoken about her admiration. But the look on Osaka’s face and her body language spoke even louder.
In her moment of glory, Osaka should have been soaking up every last moment but instead she wanted the stadium to swallow her up.
The crowd, who also deserve a code violation for their carry on, erupted into boos, which prompted Williams to step in, comfort Osaka and tell them: “I know you guys were here rooting and I was rooting too but let’s make this the best moment we can. We’ll get through it. Let’s give everyone credit where credit’s due and let’s not boo anymore. We’re gonna get through this and let’s be positive."
It was too little too late. But that gesture, that is the Serena Williams we know and hopefully will love again.