Sports fans say tennis has a racism problem after the Serena incident at the US open

Serena Williams
Afroze Fatima Zaidi

Tennis legend Serena Williams has come under fire for her behaviour during the 2018 US Open Women’s final. Williams was initially given a penalty for “coaching”. The umpire, Carlos Ramos, spotted her coach passing instructions during the game, which is against the rules in grand slam matches. When Williams reacted to the decision, Ramos decided to penalise her further, ultimately costing her the title.

But Williams’s fans are not happy, and the support for her has been overwhelming on Twitter.

Actress Anika Noni Rose pointed out how Williams has faced discrimination her entire career, for being black as well as a woman:

Others expressed sympathy and said Williams’s outburst was understandable:

Double standards

Many people called out the double standards involved in the decision, especially as numerous examples emerged of male tennis players with aggressive behaviour walking away without being penalised:

In particular, there were several examples of the same umpire, Carlos Ramos, not penalising male players who had behaved in a similar manner to Williams:

Was the decision sexist?

Almost immediately, the issue of sexism was raised – many claimed the umpire’s decision was affected by the fact that Williams is a woman:

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has since confirmed it agrees with the assessment that the umpire’s decision was sexist.


More specifically though, people are calling the incident a classic example of misogynoir – the combination of misogyny and racism experienced by black women:

Who’s the GOAT?

Interestingly enough, the controversy sparked a debate around who is the Greatest Athlete of All Time. We’ll let you decide:

Celebrating the Queen

Ultimately, Williams’s fans were here to celebrate the tennis queen and all her contributions to women’s equality:

Williams’s response at a press conference after the match demonstrates her pride in her contributions:

A video tribute posted by Wiliams’s husband, Alexis Ohanian, has gone viral. It’s clear her fans are here to support her all the way:

While losing the US Open final must have been frustrating for a seasoned champion like Williams, the winner Naomi Osaka is now the first athlete of Japanese descent to ever win a grand slam. And of course, this is only a bump in the road for Williams and she will no doubt bounce back in no time.

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Featured image via YouTube – US Open Tennis Championships

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Afroze Fatima Zaidi