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Serena Williams may be the greatest athlete of all time, but that hasn’t stopped the professional tennis player from receiving what many view as misogynistic treatment on the court. In the latest installment of “Serena Williams Must Love Tennis to Put Up With This,” the athlete received three fines during her championship match against Naomi Osaka at the US Open on Saturday, eventually losing to Osaka.

After Williams’ ‘catsuit’ was banned at the French Open in August, the athlete is now dealing with the policing of her words in addition to her clothing. During Saturday’s final match, Williams was given three code violations by umpire Carlos Ramos, who first accused the tennis player of getting coached, then cited her for smashing her racket, and finally admonished her for verbal abuse after Williams called Ramos a thief for docking her points. Williams was fined $17,000 for the violations by the United States Tennis Association, in addition to having points deducted during the match by Ramos.

Notice Kelly Rowland mouthing “What happened?” in the background. Good question, Kelly. What happened is that it still sucks to be a woman in 2018, even if you’re a woman at the very top of your sport.

The match ended with 20-year-old Naomi Osaka beating her idol, becoming the first Japanese woman to win the US Open. Osaka’s victory was marred by booing from the crowd over Williams’ treatment, with Williams putting her arm around a tearful Osaka and addressing the crowd.

“I know you guys were here rooting, and I was rooting, too, but let’s make this the best moment we can,” said Williams during the award ceremony. “We’ll get through it. Let’s not boo anymore. Let’s get through this.”

At a press conference following the match, Williams said that she didn’t regret her comments to Ramos and hopes that her actions on Saturday will mean that in the future, other female tennis players won’t have to deal with what she and many see as a double standard in the sport.

“I can’t sit here and say I wouldn’t say he’s a thief, because I thought he took a game from me,” Williams said. “I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things. I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief,’” said Williams. “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. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.”


Male tennis players have come to Williams’ defense, agreeing that they have gotten away with worse behaviour on the court. Retired tennis player James Blake said that Williams should have at least been given a warning by Ramos.


Tennis pro Andy Roddick admitted he’s said worse things to an umpire and gone unpunished.


Professional tennis player Mardy Fish had sympathy for the racquet, but not the umpire’s calls.


Female tennis players have also been voicing their support for Williams, including Victoria Azarenka.


Tennis legend Billie Jean King, who was at the US Open on Saturday, has been talking about Williams’ unfair treatment.


People outside of the tennis world are also speaking up for Williams, including comedian Neal Brennan.

 

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I’ve worked with @serenawilliams twice. She is a deeply excellent woman. First of all, she’s funny. Three years ago, we were both single and talking about how hard romantic relationships are. I said, “They’re impossible. They’re like climbing Mt. Everest.” She goes, “No they’re not. People can actually climb Mt. Everest.” I still think about that line once a week. Secondly, she exhibits zero ego or diva behavior. In the attached video, I needed her to serve the ball into the camera on one bounce. Pretty specific. Took a few takes. But as you’ll see, she was super chill about it, even fetching her own balls, and jogging to do it because she knew we were rolling. My point is, if you don’t like Serena, there’s something wrong with you. She’s a truly special person, worthy of our admiration as an athlete but even more as a person. She’s everything our society claims to value. Here’s your chance. Value her.

A post shared by Neal Brennan (@nealbrennan) on


Musician Ciara also posted a message of support for her friend.


Writer JK Rowling quickly called out a racist cartoon about Saturday’s final match that appeared in Australia’s The Herald Sun on Sunday.


There’s a lot about the final game at Saturday’s US Open that’s disappointing, including Naomi Osaka having her moment overshadowed by poor calls from the ref. But one thing we’re not disappointed in is how Williams handled herself both on and off the court.