When Serena Williams took the court on September 8th, many thought the perennial favorite would easily take home her 24th Grand Slam Singles title. However, a slew of problems due to a partial umpire who has been described as “firm but fair” led to her loss at the hands of 20-year-old Naomi Osaka and a $17,000 fine.
While men are typically fined more than women, they are also on the court almost twice as long. Men play best-of-five-set matches in singles at all four majors while women play best-of-three-set matches. This leads to women being on court just 62% of the time as compared to men. In addition, there are a total of 128 spots up for grabs on the men’s side of tennis compared to just 96 for women.
So while men typically receive fines three times as often, they are on the court nearly twice as much. The fines they do receive often concern nonverbal behavior, while women are regularly docked for emotional outbursts.
And public perception is just as important. Three former umpires have come out in defense of Williams and said that Ramos’ conduct was unbecoming of an umpire. One said, “He couldn’t wait to issue that warning without thinking even for a second to make sure Serena saw her coach and received the information or not.”
Male stalwarts have come to Williams’ defense, telling the media they have said far worse things to umpires without retribution. Former male US Open winner Andy Roddick tweeted, “I’ve regrettably said worse and I’ve never gotten a game penalty.”
New York Minute Magazine stands in defense of Serena Williams and the fight against sexist and racist stereotypes.
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