USA TODAY Sports’ Christine Brennan discusses the brilliant career of Serena Williams and how her greatness transcends tennis.
NEW YORK – A frustrated Serena Williams was driven to tears in arguing with the chair umpire about two warnings – one for coaching and one for smashing her racket after Naomi Osaka broke her serve in the US Open final.
Williams was already behind by a set, losing the first set 6-2 on Friday night.
She called for an official and argued her case, saying men did much worse and didn’t get called. She stood by her point that she didn’t cheat and wanted an apology. She also said she shouldn’t have gotten a game penalty.
ESPN analyst Chris Evert said she believed chair umpire Carlos Ramos could have shown more restraint.
After giving up her first lead in the match in a game where she double-faulted twice, she smashed her racket.
She received a point penalty after breaking the racket, which allowed Osaka to start serving the sixth game at 15-0. She had a code violation earlier in the second set for coaching, and then the racket abuse charge surmounted to a point penalty.
After realizing that she was already down a point – Osaka won her serve at love in that sixth game – Williams started yelling at Ramos.
“You owe me an apology,” she told him. “I’ve never cheated in my life. I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right.”
Williams told Ramos that her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, gave her a thumbs up, which is just a “C’mon.”
“I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose,” Williams was heard telling Ramos.
A TV replay of Mouratoglou showed him motioning with two hands as if telling her to move forward. There was no thumbs-up sign.
Williams began going into the net more often and broke Osaka in the next game.
After Osaka broke back, Williams smashed her racket. She was issued a second warning for that, which cost her a point in the next game.
She lost, 6-4, 6-2, to miss out on another chance to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title.