During tennis star Serena Williams’ embarrassing meltdown last year at the U.S. Open, she vowed that umpire Carlos Ramos, whom she unfairly accused of sexism, would “never” umpire one of her matches, again.
Williams, it seems, got exactly what she asked for. The U.S. Tennis Association announced over the weekend that Ramos will not umpire any of the Williams sisters’ matches during the open. “This is our collective decision,” said the tennis organization’s president Stacey Allaster, according to Yahoo! Sports. “We want to focus on the competition.”
As noted by the outlet, U.S. Open tournament referee Soren Friemel contended the Ramos move was “not the first time that we made decisions where it’s good for the tournament, good for the players, good for the umpires as well, to not be on those matches.”
“In the end, our goal is to assign the best chair umpire for the right match,” he said. “So in taking all those factors into consideration, the decision was made that he would not do any of the Williams sisters’ matches.”
Again seemingly attempting to mask the suspect optics, Friemel argued that Ramos “has worked all the other Grand Slams. He has done Davis Cup, Fed Cup, he’s going to the Davis Cup finals. He’s considered still for all high-profile matches.”
During her final U.S. Open match against 20-year-old Naomi Osaka, Williams erupted when Ramos docked the athlete for illegally receiving coaching from the sidelines (which was later admitted to by Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou), smashing her racket, and committing “verbal abuse.” The tennis icon branded Ramos a “thief” and a sexist and demanded an apology. “There’s men out here who do a lot worse. But because I’m a woman, because I’m a woman, you’re gonna take this away from me? That is not right,” Williams lashed out. She also told Ramos directly, “You will never do another one of my matches.”
The pity-party continued post-match, too, when Williams positioned herself as a martyr for “women’s equality.”
“He’s (Ramos) never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief.’ For me it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women,” Williams told reporters, adding, “I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions, and that want to express themselves, and want to be a strong woman. They’re going to be allowed to do that because of today.”
Osaka, whose impressive win was undeniably overshadowed by Williams’ antics, said she would be fine with Ramos as an umpire for her future matches. “I never really say that I don’t like an umpire, so I never change that. I’ll never be specific if I don’t want someone to umpire my match. I just go with whoever is doing it,” she said, Yahoo! Sports reported.
According to a report from Reuters, U.S. Tennis Association officials also said that code violations will be posted on the tournament’s scoreboards in real time, a first for the event.