Serena Williams Penalized for Calling Umpire 'Thief' Amid Controversial US Open

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts during her Women's Singles finals match against Serena Williams of the United States on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Serena Williams didn't take kindly to a rules violation in Saturday's 2018 U.S. Open women's singles final against Naomi Osaka at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York.

In the second set, chair umpire Carlos Ramos assessed Williams with a violation after he said she received illegal coaching from her players' box. The 23-time Grand Slam champion didn't agree with the call.

"I don't cheat to win, I'd rather lose," she said, per the New York Times' Ben Rothenberg. "I'm just letting you know."

During the broadcast, ESPN analyst Chris Evert said she believed Williams' coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, was instructing her to get to the net with more frequency (h/t SportsNet New York's Adam Zagoria). ThinkProgress' Lindsay Gibbs also thought the violation was warranted:

The violation again became an issue later in the set. Williams slammed her racket on the court after losing serve in the fifth game. As a result of the racket smash, the chair umpire awarded Osaka the first point of the sixth game.

Williams again directed her ire toward the umpire for the ruling and told Ramos he owed her an apology, saying she didn't receive coaching from Mouratoglou. Things escalated further from there, with Williams exchanging more words with Ramos, per the Guardian's Bryan Armen Graham:

Ramos then served Williams with a game penalty after Williams called him a "thief," per SI Tennis. ESPN shared the full discussion between Williams and Ramos:

As a result of Ramos' decision, Osaka was awarded the eighth game, giving her a 5-3 lead in the second set.

Williams held serve to stay alive in the ninth game, but Osaka eventually took the set 6-4 to win her first Grand Slam title.

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