Djokovic says um­pire changed course of fi­nal for Wil­liams

Daily Mirror - - SPORTS - BY GAVIN BERRY

US OPEN cham­pion No­vak Djokovic reck­ons um­pire Car­los Ramos could have cost Ser­ena Wil­liams the women’s ti­tle as the ten­nis sex­ism row deep­ened.

Wil­liams was fined £13,000 for a melt­down which saw her call Ramos a “thief ” for dock­ing her a point in the fi­nal.

It led to chaotic scenes at Arthur Ashe Sta­dium with Wil­liams in tears af­ter los­ing to Naomi Osaka but Djokovic, who de­feated Juan Martin del Potro to lift the men’s ti­tle on Sun­day night, backed the Amer­i­can.

The Ser­bian said: “Maybe the chair um­pire should not have pushed Ser­ena to the limit, es­pe­cially in a Grand Slam fi­nal. It did change the course of the match and was maybe un­nec­es­sary. We all go through emo­tions, es­pe­cially when fight­ing for a Grand Slam.”

Women’s Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion chief Steve Si­mon ac­cused Por­tuguese Ramos of treat­ing women play­ers dif­fer­ently. And the pres­i­dent of the United States Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion, Ka­t­rina Adams, also hit out at Ramos, who is­sued Wil­liams with three code vi­o­la­tions in­clud­ing a game penalty.

Djokovic would not get drawn into the sex­ism row but made it clear he sym­pa­thised with the big-serv­ing Amer­i­can. “Men and women are treated in this way or the other way de­pend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion,” he said. “I don’t see it’s nec­es­sary re­ally to de­bate that. “I love Ser­ena and I re­ally felt for her. “Ev­ery­one was in a very awk­ward sit­u­a­tion. A lot of emo­tions. Ser­ena was cry­ing. Naomi was cry­ing. It was re­ally tough. “I just feel like, as Ser­ena said in the clos­ing cer­e­mony, Osaka de­serves to have her mo­ment. As for Ser­ena, she knows I love her. She re­ally in­spires ev­ery­one. To see her still be­ing so ded­i­cated and so com­mit­ted to this sport, it’s in­spir­ing re­ally to me and to many ten­nis play­ers, both men and women, around the world.”

WTA head Si­mon re­leased a state­ment as Djokovic (left) was be­ing pre­sented with his tro­phy af­ter beat­ing Del Potro 6-3 7-6 6-3 on Sun­day.

He said: “The WTA be­lieves that there should be no dif­fer­ence in the stan­dards of tol­er­ance pro­vided to the emo­tions ex­pressed by men and women and is com­mit­ted to work­ing with the sport to en­sure that all play­ers are treated the same. We do not be­lieve that this was done on Satur­day night.”

USTA supremo Adams said: “We have to have con­sis­tency be­cause when you look at what the women, in this case Ser­ena, are feel­ing, we watch the guys do this all the time. They are bad­ger­ing the chair um­pires on changeover yet noth­ing hap­pens.”

But Ramos fi­nally re­ceived some back­ing yes­ter­day when the In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion re­leased a state­ment de­fend­ing his pro­fes­sion­al­ism and his per­for­mance.

An ITF state­ment said: “Mr Ramos acted at all times with pro­fes­sion­al­ism and in­tegrity.

“His de­ci­sions were in ac­cor­dance with the rel­e­vant rules and were reaf­firmed by the US Open’s de­ci­sion to fine Ms Wil­liams for the three of­fences.”

LEG­END IN A RAGE Wil­liams had a huge row with the um­pire in the fi­nal and she has the sup­port of Djokovic

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