Sep/18

8

Osaka’s US Open Triumph Marred by Ugly Serena Meltdown

By Scoop Malinowski

Like a “street artist” sullying the neighborhood with graffiti, Serena Williams defaced and ruined today’s US Open women’s open final with an astonishing display of uncontrolled rage and unsportsmanlike conduct.

The lead story should be that Japanese woman Naomi Osaka became the first person from her country to win a Grand Slam title with a stunning 62 64 triumph over the 36 year old American.

But the historic achievement was completely overshadowed by the unseemly behavior of Williams, who suffered a meltdown after being warned by the chair umpire for being coached by Patrick Mouratoglou in the early stages of the second set. Williams was penalized later a point for smashing a racquet and then a full game for verbally abusing and insulting the chair umpire Carlos Ramos, calling him a “thief” and a “liar.”

Williams taunted and pointed her finger at Ramos, threatening that he would never officiate another of her matches in the future and repeatedly demanding an apology, though her coach later admitted to Pam Shriver that he was indeed coaching Williams.

It was an unbelievable drama today on Ashe Stadium which escalated into one of the ugliest episodes in Grand Slam history.

Williams further delayed the match by calling out and complaining to the tournament referee Bryan Earley and his assistant. Amazingly, Osaka managed to maintain her focus and poise throughout this chaos, yet another champion-like quality Osaka showed today and all fortnight.

The conduct of Williams was so offensive and disrespectful, it’s a wonder she was not defaulted from the match. After losing the game because of the penalty, Williams held serve at love for 4-5 but then Osaka unleashed a service winner at 40-30 to clinch the biggest title of her life which will include a $3.8 million dollar payday as well as many more millions in bonuses from her endorsers and future appearance fees.

Williams tried to justify her actions as standing up for women’s rights but her excuses sounded like damage control to try to disguise one of the most embarrassing debacles every seen on the Grand Slam stage.

When the match was over, Williams graciously hugged Osaka at the net and then refused to shake the hand of Ramos, pointing her finger again at him while giving him another icy stare of physical intimidation.

 

The media will surely rally to try to defend, excuse and downplay this obscene display by Williams and put heavy make up, perfume and lipstick on this monstrosity but we all saw what we saw: an embarrassing display of very poor sportsmanship by one of the most controversial yet talented figures in tennis history, which sadly overshadowed a marvelous performance by a 20 year old dazzling superstar who will lead tennis into a bright, new, wonderful era.

Photo by Artur Bobko.

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72 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2018 at 9:46 am

    That’s a major point Matty, Serena is a drama queen but she makes every event another magnitude. She delivers incredible theater. Controversy in the end is the best thing for the sport, heat of the battle controversy is what the sport needs more of and she delivers. The men don’t generate it like Serena does 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2018 at 9:58 am

    SJC, it’s borderline word but I think ogre fits the way Serena behaved in that final vs Ramos. A fabled man eating giant or monster Anybody who is especially cruel or hideous. Seems to fit the bill. Like I said earlier, Serena has shown many examples of high class on the court and off, which I shared earlier my favorite of all when she lost to Maria at Wimbledon. But in the final on Saturday she was horrible and if a male player mistreated a female umpire like that the media would have gone into a feeding frenzy against that male player for abuse and bullying. Let’s hope Serena learns and self improves from this regrettable episode.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Gaurang, exactly, Delpo was rallying and could have taken over the match and Djokovic could have begun an unravel but that clever calculated delay by Djokovic had an influence on the set. It got him out of that game suddenly, like a light switch. I am a firm believer that creating those sneaky pauses and delays to break the opponent rhythm and focus are the mark of a great champion. Most people don’t even realize it’s a scheme ploy but some of us do 🙂 Many of Rafa’s injury timeouts are ploys, and many players try them too. Djokovic is smarter and can manufacture a short delay out of just about anything even a fake confusion about the quality or quantity of tennis balls on the court 🙂

  • catherine · September 10, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Matty – I’ve just seen your sniffy comment and welcome to the ‘women’s tennis is crap’ club. But clearly I’m not the only one watching women’s tennis or no one here would be talking about the women’s final.

    Luckily I don’t care what you think and I’ll go on watching and commenting on whatever I feel like (except politics naturally).

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Catherine, This was one of the most intriguing women’s finals in a long time. Last year’s was a stinker. Mot sure if Osaka has what it takes to carry the sport as the “Face of women’s tennis”, she might be too introverted for that, though this grand accomplishment could spark her natural charm and likable personality. But Serena also deserves a lot of credit for making this final special in her outstanding role as the villain. This final had all the markings of a fairy tale with a happy ending, Little Red Riding hood confronting and overcoming the big bad wolf. Each character played an important role in making this stage production a major success beyond anyone’s expectations 🙂 After this final women’s tennis is alive and well and thriving again, thanks to Osaka, Serena and Ramos.

  • catherine · September 10, 2018 at 10:59 am

    I’m pinning a lot of hopes on Sabalenka and trusting she won’t let me down. She was the only player to seriously challenge Naomi in NY and has a little more variety in her game. They are contrasting personalities and both 20. We’ve got to look beyond Serena and maybe the tide is turning.

    (You know Angie beat Serena too but didn’t cause a major earthquake so probably everyone’s forgotten that)

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Forgot totally about Sabalenka, she was the key obstacle that Osaka escaped from and that win readied her for the big final which turned out to be easier than the Sabalenka match. Sabalenka is the real deal. We will never know how her nerves and focus would have help up in the final vs Serena had she beaten Osaka in their three setter which she very nearly did. We don’t know yet if Sabalenka is a big match, big stage player yet.

  • kèo nhà cái · September 10, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    It’s an awesome piece of writing in support of all the online viewers; they will take advantage from it I
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  • Dan Markowitz · September 10, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Scoop,

    You are the king of hyperbole and SJC is absolutely right, calling Serena “a monster” and “an ogre” is completely out of line and offensive. Serena might have been belligerent in her complaints to the umpire, Ramos, and gone over the line in asking for an apology and bringing up her daughter, but she’s a great champion, the GOAT, and you, who talk about competitive fervor, should know that in the throes of battle, Serena was seething with what occurred.

    I think the point penalty was in line, but for Ramos to give her a game penalty at 3-4 in the second set of slam finals, totally out of line. If he had talked to her, warned her that she was going too far, and then if she persisted, and Ramos took the game away from her, I would support the decision. But the guy’s got to speak up. Why didn’t he say anything to Serena.

    As it was, he ruled decisively with no communication as to what he was about to do which is unprecedented at this level of competition. So I’m not letting Serena off the hook, her behavior was deplorable in my eyes, but given who she is and the stakes involved, I fault Ramos for taking away the game at that point without a stern warning. And Serena is a great woman, not a monster or an ogre, and what she did by blowing away the competition except for Kanepi and Osako,making her way to a slam finals at nearly 37 and after given birth one year ago, is nothing short of amazing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Dan, I stand by my words. Go and watch the match again or the highlights. Serena is a beautiful woman off the court and often on but in this match she was a monster and an ogre. She bullied and abused Ramos and prolonged the abuse. The fingerpointing was horrible. There is no place in the sport of grace for Serena to verbally abuse and accuse Ramos of corruption and lying like that. If Roger Federer did that to a female chair umpire, the media would be crucifying him. But the media is playing soft on Serena because of her race and her gender. I will say it again, she was a monster in the second set and it was arguably the ugliest moment in Grand Slam history or at least Grand Slam final history. Terrible episode and Ramos and Osaka both deserve apologies. Ramos had every right to disqualify Serena during that verbal abuse bullying.

  • Doug Day · September 10, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    The incessent booing of an outsider, a newcomer that usurped a queen, who was in her words “defending women”. I see why we abhor politics on our site. It contaminated our greatest spectacle even while a dead-ringer for the last election.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 10, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Doug,

    I have no idea what you’re talking about? Are you comparing Serena to Trump or to Hilary? The finals was diminished by the feud Serena had with the ump and the point penalty and game assessed, but it was still a great match with some great rallies and a Star was born.

    I think you can look at Serena in many way: Black, female, emotional, defiant and outspoken, but as a tennis player male or female, her accomplishments make her the GOAT, some of us don’t want to admit it, but her achievement and story is more impressive than any other player who’s ever played the game.

  • Doug Day · September 10, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Katrina Adams USTA President in awards ceremony as boos echo: “Perhaps its not the finish we were looking for today” Instead of protecting women Identity politics ruins everything it touches. thanks Billy Jean.

  • Sam · September 10, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    “Dan what you and Wertheim fail to consider is just imagine if Djokovic abused and bullied a female chair umpire for an extended finger pointing rant the way Serena did Ramos. There is absolutely no way on earth you and Wertheim would be so lenient.”

    Great point, Scoop. Talk about a double standard.

    “That is another wonderfully important quote Sam, thank you. These quotes can change and save America.”

    No problem–yes, these quotes are so powerful.

    “As expected, Djokovic played it very safe on Serena-Ramos-Osaka. He has to. He doesn’t need the drama.”

    He didn’t have to give an opinion. He could’ve just said, “I wasn’t there, so I can’t comment.” He lacks objectivity toward Ramos (who penalized him at Wimbledon), so his PC opinion here doesn’t count for much. I like Djokovic, but am disappointed with him here.

  • Doug Day · September 11, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Dan
    Of course Serena pulled a Hillary after an inexperienced outsider had the nerve to defeat the shemale mascot. As with POTUS im sure sore -losering will only continue to fester and as Scoop says, divide & conquer. BTW how could Ramos be sexist if his rulings benifited a triple-minority? Oops i forgot in the victimology asians overachieve and women (who outnumber men) are a minority. Fine. Lets work the dads Hatian slave bloodline. Just Do it.

  • Hartt · September 11, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Could we just talk about tennis here, without ANY references to American politics or accusations about the American media? Those of us who aren’t American have no interest in those discussions, we are here for tennis. If you’d like to talk about those topics by all means find an appropriate forum.

    Plus, if people stayed with tennis, perhaps Scoop and Dan could get press credentials to the big tourneys.

  • Doug Day · September 11, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Hartt,
    If you care about your sport like i know you do, you dont want your role models wrapping themselves, like Serena did in feminist victimhood, do you? If you cant decide in her case its not me diminishing the greatest game ever invented and revered on this site. Silence is consent and my belief is unwrapped, Serena would humble herself to her individual,innovative artistry, as basic yet sacred as her motherhood.

  • Hartt · September 11, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    I am not talking about criticism of Serena. I have talked about her actions a lot on another site, so did not want to repeat myself here.

    But I mean references to specific American politicians and put downs of the American press. Because I don’t read American papers or watch American news I don’t have a strong opinion about that. I just don’t want to read all this negativity on a tennis site, when it’s not even about tennis!

    And I am serious in saying if people stuck to tennis maybe Scoop and Dan could get press credentials for big tournaments, and their reports would increase our enjoyment of the site.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    Well said Hartt. The site has come along way this year, survived some adversity, our US Open coverage was still pretty strong despite no media access.

  • Matty · September 14, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    Catherine,
    Please don’t take a good laugh track so seriously even if it’s at your expense.
    I like your commentary and read it often since it keeps me up to date on the women’s side. The overall point I was making was that I don’t think the tour, that is the WTA, markets its average player very well. I can tell you that I’ve never heard of the WTA’s 12th ranked pro even though I have ESPN and the Tennis Channel. But I’m keenly aware of who journeyman John Millman is and I know lots about the 100th ranked player, Ruben Bemelmans. Or Marius Copil or Denis Kudla…

  • Matty · September 14, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    Catherine,
    Here’s a good example. I’d never heard of Osaka before the U.S. Open even though I watch and attend lots of pro tournaments. Later, I found out she had won at Cincinnati. Amazing, because the men’s tour had seared ‘ Djoker beat the Fed’ into every casual fan’s brain. But still, no mention of Osaka in the weeks leading up to the Open.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 14, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Matty, Osaka won IW and beat Serena in Miami 62 63 but has been quiet since, she did not win Cincy, Halep did. Osaka was off the radar for months but suddenly got hot at the right time. The Sabalenka win 64 in the third was a huge win for her as Sabalenka was the hottest player in the WTA outside of Halep.

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