SER­ENA SCREAMS

Naomi Osaka for the win!

Woman's Era - - Contents - C. K. Subra­ma­nium

Sev­eral things went wrong dur­ing the US Women’s Fi­nals at Flush­ing Mead­ows. Coach­ing on ev­ery point should be al­lowed in ten­nis as a mat­ter of right. But things heated up when Ser­ena the los­ing fi­nal­ist with her flare ups as she screamed and broke racket in her anger and frus­tra­tion. When a woman is emo­tional, she is hys­ter­i­cal and she is pe­nalised for it. When a man does the same, he is called out­spo­ken and there are no reper­cus­sions. Why this dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion in the women's ten­nis cir­cuit?

With the rag­ing emo­tions sur­round­ing one of the most con­tro­ver­sial Grand Slam fi­nals in re­cent his­tory set­tle down, it is worth ex­am­in­ing the events that tran­spired be­tween Ser­ena Wil­liams and the chair um­pire, Car­los Ramos, at the 2018 US Open.

Wil­liams could have kept her com­po­sure but she chose to ar­gue that she was wrongly be­ing called out for cheat­ing, and ac­cused Ramos of sex­ism. She may not have re­alised that in the 2018 US Open, men re­ceived 23 fines for code vi­o­la­tions com­pared to nine for women, or that men have fre­quently been slapped with such vi­o­la­tions in other Grand Slams too, in­clud­ing by Ramos. Most of all she didn’t un­der­stand that the fol­low­ing things could be true all at once: Wil­liams did not cheat and Mouratoglou did in­deed coach.

SER­ENA QATSAGE

Ser­ena Wil­liams may have thought that yet again, here was some­one who wanted to stop her with­out any ac­tual fault. It was poor judg­ment on her part but it helps to look at it from her per­spec­tive as well. Wil­liams’s im­por­tance as a ten­nis icon, woman, and work­ing mother is far too great. She faces ex­pec­ta­tions that we can barely imag­ine and she lives up to them, may be not al­ways.

An Aus­tralian car­toon­ist faced with­er­ing crit­i­cism for por­tray­ing ten­nis su­per­star Ser­ena Wil­liams in the words of the Harry Pot­ter au­thor, JK Rowl­ing de­scribed as racist and sex­ist tropes. Mark Knight's car­i­ca­ture, pub­lished in Mel­bourne's Her­ald Sun news­pa­per, showed a butch and fat-lipped Wil­liams throw­ing a tem­per tantrum at the US Open. In the midst of los­ing US Open fi­nal, the 23-time Grand Slam cham­pion smashed her racket and called the um­pire a ‘thief’ and a ‘liar.’ Of course the fi­nal was not what ev­ery­body ex­pected. We agree that the girls have to be treated the same as the men, win the same money. They made a big ef­fort to play these kinds of tour­na­ments and they de­serve to be treated the same as the men are and bet­ter coun­sel should pre­vail af­ter all.

It was drama-filled con­clu­sion to a fi­nal that was rich with sto­ry­lines but will now go down as one of the most con­tro­ver­sial Grand Slam fi­nals of all time. There was much rid­ing on the match for both women, with Osaka bid­ding to be­come the first man or woman from Ja­pan to lift a Grand Slam sin­gles ti­tle and Wil­liams poised to equal Mar­garet Court's record of 24 ma­jor ti­tles.

In the end it was Osaka mak­ing his­tory the bizarre events that led to her vic­tory will sure, to go down as one of the most in­fa­mous matches ever played at Flush­ing Mead­ows. The chaotic fin­ish filled with scream­ing, tears and jeers cast a cloud over what should have been Osaka's shin­ing mo­ment.

Wil­liams's im­plo­sion was not a to­tally un­fa­mil­iar sight for ten­nis fans, who watched a sim­i­lar melt­down nine years ear­lier on Arthur Ashe Sta­dium. Play­ing the semi-fi­nals against Kim Cli­jsters, Wil­liams flew into a rage af­ter a line judge called her for a foot-fault on a se­cond serve, leav­ing her match point down to the Bel­gian.

Wil­liams launched into an ex­ple­tive-laced rant at the of­fi­cial. She waved her racket in the lines-wo­mans di­rec­tion and then shook a ball in her clenched fist as she threat­ened to shove it down her throat. It is time to main­tain sort­ing spirit in the play­ing arena and not to lose tem­per at the sligh-tests rova­ca­tion.

Af­ter all, both win­ning and los­ing are part and par­cel of the game. By her silly ac­tions, Ser­ena was not only fined heav­ily but also lost her rep­u­ta­tion as a se­nior pro play­ing in the cir­cuit for so many years. It is no­table that Wil­liams could face fur­ther sanc­tions for her ac­tions. We

IT WAS DRAMA-FILLED CON­CLU­SION TO A FI­NAL THAT WAS RICH WITH STO­RY­LINES BUT WILL NOW GO DOWN AS ONE OF THE MOST CON­TRO­VER­SIAL GRAND SLAM FI­NALS OF ALL TIME. THERE WAS MUCH RID­ING ON THE MATCH FOR BOTH WOMEN.

A pos­i­tive at­ti­tude can re­ally make dreams come true - it did for me.

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