Ramos and Wil­liams likely to be kept apart

The Observer - Sport - - Tennis - Si­mon Cam­bers

Ser­ena Wil­liams and Car­los Ramos, the um­pire whom she ac­cused of sex­ism in the wake of the US Open fi­nal last Satur­day, are likely to be kept apart at the Aus­tralian Open . But the de­ci­sion will be made for rea­sons of com­mon sense, rather than be­cause of any spe­cific de­mands from the 23- times grand slam cham­pion.

In her out­burst dur­ing the fi­nal against Naomi Osaka , who went on to win the ti­tle, Wil­liams called Ramos a thief and a liar and told him: “You will never do an­other one of my matches.”

Ramos is em­ployed by the In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion and does not work on the WTA Tour, so the first chance he and Ser­ena would have to meet again would be in Mel­bourne in Jan­uary. Given what hap­pened at Flush­ing Mead­ows, when it comes to as­sign­ing of­fi­cials to Wil­liams’ s matches, dis­cre­tion is likely to be the bet­ter part of val­our.

Ten­nis Aus­tralia, which runs the Aus­tralian Open, would not be drawn on what it would do should Wil­liams of­fi­cially re­quest Ramos not um­pire any of her matches and the Wil­liams camp did not re­spond when asked if she will make such a re­quest. But Richard Ings, a for­mer pro­fes­sional um­pire, said um­pires will usu­ally take the lead when it comes to man­ag­ing awk­ward sit­u­a­tions.

“Say an um­pire has a tough match with a player,” he told the Ob­server. “The player is an­gry, blames the um­pire, says ‘ you will never work a match again ’. It is ob­vi­ous that if the um­pire does that player in the next match or next week that there will be a prob­lem. So the um­pire will sim­ply take a break from um­pir­ing that player.

“When the pro um­pire ar­rives at a tour­na­ment they up­date the su­per­vi­sor if there are any play­ers they are hav­ing a break from. May be none or one or two, what­ever. And the su­per­vi­sor sched­ules other qual­i­fied um­pires that week for those matches.”

In the fi­nal against Osaka, Wil­liams was warned for coach­ing af­ter Pa­trick Mouratoglou was seen mak­ing hand sig­nals in her di­rec­tion. Wil­liams an­grily de­nied she would ever cheat. When she was docked a point for smash­ing her racket a few games later, she be­rated the um­pire and ac­cused him of be­ing a thief be­cause he “stole a point ”. Ramos then pe­nalised her a game for ver­bal abuse.

On- court coach­ing – where a coach can come on to court once per set – is al­lowed on the WTA Tour but not at the grand slams. Coach­ing from the stands is banned at all times but many, in­clud­ing Bil­lie Jean King, have sug­gested that coach­ing should be al­lowed be­cause it hap­pens all the time.

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