Report: Tennis Umps Consider Union After Serena Williams-Carlos Ramos Incident

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States reacts to umpire Carlos Ramos after her defeat in the Women's Singles finals match to Naomi Osaka of Japan 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 Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Tennis umpires are reportedly considering forming a union after Serena Williams' confrontation with Carlos Ramos in the U.S. Open final and her subsequent accusations he had been sexist.

According to the Guardian's Sean Ingle, many umpires believe Ramos was "hung out to dry" by authorities such as the International Tennis Federation, who did not come to the official's defence until almost two days after the final. Williams was penalised a game and hit with three code violations in the event.

Ramos upheld the rules in his sanctions against Williams, but her accusations of sexism were supported by both the Women's Tennis Association and the United States Tennis Association before the ITF came to his defence.

In her press conference after the match, Williams said she was treated more harshly than a man would have been in the same situation.

"The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men versus women," WTA chief executive Steve Simon said in a statement.

A senior umpire told Ingle: "There is a lot of unhappiness in the umpiring community because no one is standing up for officials. Umpires keep asking, 'What if it was me in that chair on Saturday?' There is a widespread feeling that Carlos was hung out to dry for nearly 48 hours and that no one is standing up for officials."

Speaking to ESPN.com's Peter Bodo, former elite Gold Badge umpire Richard Ings echoed that statement: "The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA. They are all fearful that they could be the next Ramos. They feel that no one has their back when they have to make unpopular calls."

The ITF eventually put out a statement supporting Ramos on Monday, per Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times:

Umpires—who are contractually forbidden from publicly speaking outare reportedly discussing the possibility of an union as a "matter of urgency."

"Umpires don't have any independent means of representation and are employed by the governing bodies," a source involved in such talks told Ingle. "If talking to the media is not allowed and governing bodies are speaking out against them, what are umpires supposed to do?"

Twelve-time singles Grand Slam winner Billie Jean King supported Williams after the final, which Williams lost in straight sets to Naomi Osaka:

She also told CNN that "Serena was out of line" when she confronted Ramos but that the official "aggravated the situation."

Williams was penalised for receiving on-court coaching when Patrick Mouratoglou made a hand gesture toward her from the stands, for breaking her racket in frustration and for calling Ramos a "thief" after he docked her a point after the second offence.

The Times' Stuart Fraser felt Ramos was let down by the lack of support he received:

Ramos, who has officiated at all four Grand Slam tournaments, will referee Croatia's clash with the United States in the semi-final of the Davis Cup, which starts Friday.

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