Men’s US Open finalist respond to Serena Williams-umpire controversy
Monday - 10/09/2018 10:09
NOVAK Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro have weighed in on the Serena Williams-umpire mess after a classy men’s final.
US Open champion Novak Djokovic and runner-up Juan Martin del Potro have both declared they feel for Serena Williams following the scandal surrounding the US Open women’s singles final.
An emotion del Potro admitted he was crying before stepping into the conference room following his loss to Novak Djokovic on Monday morning (AEST).
The Argentine star was asked to share his opinion on the scandalous women’s final the previous day during his press conference and responded by saying women deserved to be treated the same as their male counterparts.
The issue of male and female players being held to different standards in their on-court behaviours and relationships with chair umpires has erupted since Williams was issued a game penalty after labelling umpire Carlos Ramos a “thief” during her loss to Naomi Osaka.
“I was sad for Serena because she’s a great champion,” del Potro said.
“She gives to this sport a lot, but Naomi deserved to win. She’s a great champion.
“Of course the final was not the final that everybody expected. I 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 kind of tournaments and they deserve to be treated the same as we are.
“Basically, Serena is one of the greatest players in history. I wish her all the best because she’s so nice. We want to keep watching her.”
Djokovic declared Ramos “shouldn’t have pushed Serena to the limit” when asked about Williams in his press conference.
“I love Serena, first of all,” Djokovic said.
“I really felt for her yesterday. Tough thing for a chair umpire to deal with, as well. We have to empathise with him. Everyone was in a very awkward situation yesterday. A lot of emotions. Serena was crying. Naomi was crying. It was really, really tough.
“But I have my personal opinion that maybe the chair umpire should not have pushed Serena to the limit, especially in a grand slam final.
“He did change the course of the match. (It) was in my opinion, maybe unnecessary. We all go through our emotions, especially when you’re fighting for a grand slam trophy.
“But I don’t think it’s (the right) time and place to get into other subjects. I don’t agree with (WTA CEO) Mr Steve Simon. I really don’t. I think men and women are treated this way or the other way depending on the situation. It’s hard to generalise things. I don’t see it’s necessary really to debate that.
“I just feel like — as Serena said yesterday — in the closing ceremonies, Osaka deserves to have her moment.
“As for Serena, she knows I love her. She really inspires everyone. To see her being so dedicated and so committed to this sport, it’s inspiring to me and to many tennis players, both men and women, around the world.”
Simon on Monday released a statement in which he called for equal treatment of all tennis players.
Williams was given three code violations by Ramos in her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka on Sunday, and critics inside and outside of tennis argued that she was not treated the same as some male players.
The women’s pro tour agreed.
“The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same. We do not believe that this was done last night,” Simon said in a statement.
“We also think the issue of coaching needs to be addressed and should be allowed across the sport.
“The WTA supports coaching through its on-court coaching rule, but further review is needed.”
US Tennis Association chief executive Katrina Adams was criticised all over again on Monday after she offered some perplexing explanations for her organisation’s response to Williams’ exchange with Ramos
“I would say last night it’s unfortunate and we have to have consistency because when you look at what Serena is feeling, we watch the guys do this all the time,” Adams said.
“They’re badgering the chair umpire on the change overs, nothing happens. For Serena, she carried on maybe a little bit further than she should have, (but) it was on the change over. She didn’t expect for it to be on camera or on air at all. So that was a conversation between she and her that was then published. It was on air and she got penalised for it in his judgment of being abused.
“There’s no equality for what the men are doing for umpires and what the women are doing for umpires. I think there has to be some consistency across the board with every level of officiating.”