“Even if guys do it, it’s wrong”, former Czechoslovakian and American tennis player Martina Navratilova explained what Serena Williams got wrong in the US Open final.
The whole Serena Williams vs Umpire Carlos Ramos controversy has split the world right down the middle, with people taking sides. It all started when umpire Ramos caught Serena’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou giving her instructions from his seat which led to a heated argument between the two. The debate around sexism and racism in the game has overshadowed what Naomi Osaka achieved in the US Open final.
However, Martina’s opinion on the whole episode has been the most constructive yet. Calling umpire Ramos a ”thief” did not go down well with the 61-year-old as she wrote in New York Times,
“We cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with. In fact, this is the sort of behavior that no one should be engaging in on the court.”
However, the 18-time Grand Slam singles champion backed Serena where she needed to.
“Serena Williams has part of it right. There is a huge double standard for women when it comes to how bad behavior is punished — and not just in tennis”
According to Serena, she did not take any coaching during the match. Patrick Mouratoglou’s actions led to a violation. Even if we say that she did not take any signals from her coach, it was her reaction to the umpire and smashing her racquet in anger which led to a code violation.
“But in her protests… she also got part of it wrong. I don’t believe it’s a good idea to apply a standard of, “If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too. Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents?”
Umpire Carlos Ramos has been branded as the villain of the whole episode by many, despite International Tennis Federation (ITF) defending him.
“Ramos, effectively, had no choice but to dock her a point. It was here that Ms. Williams really started to lose the plot. She and Mr. Ramos were, in effect, talking past each other. She was insisting that she doesn’t cheat -— completely believable, but besides the point —- while he was making a call over which he, at that point, had little discretion.”
Martina also gave a lesson for all Tennis players taking their anger out on the racquet in the middle of the court,
“There have been many times when I was playing that I wanted to break my racket into a thousand pieces. Then I thought about the kids watching. And I grudgingly held on to that racket.”
Comparing two wrongs is never the way to go while making a point and that’s what Martina tried to explain,
“It’s difficult to know, and debatable, whether Ms. Williams could have gotten away with calling the umpire a thief if she were a male player. But to focus on that, I think, is missing the point. If, in fact, the guys are treated with a different measuring stick for the same transgressions, this needs to be thoroughly examined and must be fixed.”