Serena Williams doesn’t regret US Open outburst, but maybe how it was handled

Thursday - 25/04/2019 17:01
They were truly stunning images.Source:Supplied
They were truly stunning images.Source:Supplied
The 2018 US Open Final will always be remembered as a dark day in Serena Williams’ career but the legend has doubled down.

As one of the greatest players to ever pick up a racquet, Serena Williams said she has acquired plenty of regrets over the years and situations she’d like to take again.

While she “absolutely” wishes she could have handled the now infamous 2018 US Open Final tantrum against then-20-year-old Naomi Osaka, the 23-time grand slam champion admitted she didn’t regret the stand she took.

In a wide-ranging interview with Business of Fashion, Williams spoke about her foray into business with her fashion brand, S by Serena, after several attempts to crack the market.

Known for her fashion as well as her immense skill on the court, Williams had a controversial finish to the year, starting with the catsuit controversat the French Open before the US Open explosion.

Following the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., named after her father, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, Williams had post-natal complications with blood clots reaching her lungs.

The French Tennis Federation hit back, banning the suit for the 2019 season, before overturning the decision when the reason became known Williams wore the suit for her health.

The Serena catsuit in question.
The Serena catsuit in question.Source:AFP


But it was at the US Open Final that everything exploded.

Down a set after the Japanese star Osaka won the first set 6-2, it appeared Williams’ coach was attempting to offer some advice.

Her coach subsequently admitted the fact but the chair umpire Carlos Ramos warned Williams.

When she broke a racquet, Williams was docked a point and erupted, calling Ramos a “thief” before being hit with a verbal abuse game penalty for her outburst.

She refused to shake Ramos’ hand after the match and set off a stunning chain of events that loomed large over the legend.

Williams still bristles at the point being taken off her, as male stars have smashed countless racquets without penalty.

Asked in the column whether she regrets her actions on the day, Williams said it was a “loaded question”.

“Do I feel regret for being penalised for something which has never happened in the history of tennis and I didn’t use one single curse word? And what, do I feel regret over that?” she started.

Naomi Osaka was in tears after her first grand slam win.
Naomi Osaka was in tears after her first grand slam win.Source:AFP


“For me, being a perfectionist and being a professional, it would be impossible not to wish I didn’t handle a lot of situations differently, even that particular situation.

“However, I have to tell myself, because of my daughter, that I should be able to have any emotion that any man can have. It’s about teaching our new generation that everyone should be treated the same.”

Williams has long stood by her actions on the day.

In a press conference after the explosive game, Williams said she was “here fighting for women’s rights and women’s equality” and labelled Ramos’ decision “a sexist remark”.

Williams, a board member of Survey Monkey, said a recent survey of women in the workplace revealed many feel they have to manage their emotions at work.

“A lot of women said they feel they have to manage their emotions because they’re called ‘too emotional’ or they’re called something else just because we face different challenges than men face,” she said. “So, I always think about that. Why do I have to face a different standard than the man?”

Undoubtedly one of the biggest factors in the US Open blow up going as viral as it did was the talent of Williams.

A 23-time grand slam champion who is chasing Margaret Court’s record of 24 majors, Williams has long been in the public eye.

Serena Williams is building towards the French Open.
Serena Williams is building towards the French Open.Source:Getty Images


After becoming world number one in July 2002, Williams had been ranked the best in the world eight separate time with more than six years worth of time at the top between 2002 and 2017.

The Grand Slam season will continue on Kayo Sports with the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open live. Stream from just $25 per month for two devices at once on Apple, Android and Telstra TV, for Apple and Google Android smartphones, on web browsers and via Google Chromecast Ultra devices. Click here for your free trial.

As for dealing with constant pressure and scrutiny, Williams said “it’s a part of life”.

“If someone’s not scrutinising you or talking about you, then you’re not doing something right,” she said. “If everyone’s praising you and everything’s perfect, then it’s not the real world.

“People are going to scrutinise you no matter what. They’ll find something wrong with you even if you’re not doing anything wrong. And I don’t let that affect me anymore. I think in the past I did.”


 Keywords: Serena Williams

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