US Open Women's Final Saga
By Paul Truong
I was at my tennis club for a few hours very early this morning. I also spoke to some of my friends who are huge tennis fanatics. Every single person I spoke to (about 2 dozen avid tennis players/fans - all different ages, genders, races, etc.) agreed on the following:
- Serena's coach was caught red-handed giving signals which is illegal (it is a separate debate if this rule should be abolished or not, but as of right now, it is a rule and it is illegal). Her coach also admitted on camera that he did it. Therefore, the warning was appropriate. His excuse was everyone else does it. As far as I know, Naomi's coach did not. The bottom line is he did it and admitted it. Therefore, the warning was warranted.
- Serena clearly and without a doubt slammed her racket on the court and broke it. That is an automatic violation which resulted in losing a point. Everyone agreed with this.
Here is where people differ slightly. Everyone agreed that Serena was very abusive toward the chair umpire by calling him a thief, a liar, and other things, etc. She also had a long history of abusing tennis officials.
However, about half the people think that given the importance of the match (US Open Women's Final), the chair umpire could have called Serena over and let her know that if she does not stop this abusive behavior, she will lose a game as the tennis rules call for. He did not have to but they felt that he could of and maybe should of because this is the final after all.
The other half fully agreed with the chair umpire and penalizing Serena a game was completely warranted as she was clearly upset and out of control. In addition, they also feel that she should receive additional punishment such as a fine for such abusive behavior (Since then, Serena was fined a total of $17K for the 3 code violations on Saturday during the final. She was fined $4K for receiving coaching, $3K for racket abuse and $10K for verbally abusing the chair umpire.)
Everyone also agreed that this had nothing to do with Serena's skin color or gender. They also agreed that what happened to Naomi was very unfortunate, and she deserved better, and she was clearly a superior player to Serena last night.
Full disclosure: 100% of the people I spoke to are huge fans of Serena Williams, and believe that she is the greatest female tennis player ever.
This is my opinion: Serena's coach did give hand signals which is illegal. However, Serena was correct in saying that she did not cheat and she was not looking at him. She wanted an apology from the chair umpire because she believed that she did not cheat. However, she did not realize that her coach made the hand signals, and admitted on camera. Therefore, the chair umpire and Serena were on two different wave lengths. She was very offended with the warning and felt that her integrity was being questioned.
The chair umpire should have done a better job communicating with Serena and assured her that he believes that she did not cheat. However, her coach did and because of it the warning was given. They are a team and the warning was directed toward him. I think this would have calmed her down. They were simply speaking with different sets of facts and information.
Serena is a great champion, the greatest female tennis player in history. Let's hope that she will bounce back stronger than ever, and we can have a chance to see Serena v Naomi again.
Overall, it was a very unfortunate situation, especially for Naomi Osaka, a very deserving champion.