Why Fans And Players Are Calling Out The Treatment Of Serena Williams During The US Open

"It didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.”

Serena Williams' match against Naomi Osaka on Saturday was historic, but not in the way anyone thought it would be. 

By the end of the game, 20-year-old Osaka had won against Williams, making her the first Japanese tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles title. Instead of that being the major news of the night, it was the fact that Williams had gotten into an argument and called chair umpire Carlos Ramos a thief when she was penalized a game. 

In the wake of what happened that day, Williams didn't shy away from expressing how she felt she was held against a double standard for trying to defend herself when she was ultimately accused of cheating.

"I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff," she said during her press conference. "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.' "

The next day, Williams received three code violations totaling $17,000. The code violations included $10,000 for "verbal abuse" towards Ramos, $4,000 for being warned for being coached during the match, and $3,000 for breaking her racket.

This isn't the first time Williams has advocated for and discussed equality in tennis. Last year, she responded to a sexist comment made by player John McEnroe when he referred to her as the "best female player" in tennis and not the "best player" because she would be "700 in the world" if she "competed in the men's circuit." 

In July, she addressed the fact that Wimbledon refers to its female tennis players by what their marital status is as opposed to male players who are just called by their names. She also told Deadspin in an interview that she's drug tested four more times than the average male and female tennis player. And it was only a few weeks ago that French Open officials didn't allow Williams to wear a Black Panther-inspired compression suit that would be able to help her with blood clotting issues.

The outrage surrounding Williams’ treatment during her match with Osaka didn’t go unnoticed by tennis fans.

Top retired tennis players such as James Blake and Billie Jean King — a pioneer and legend for women in the sport — also came to Williams' defense.

As fans continue to discuss the ways in which Williams is treated as a Black female tennis player, it's evident from Williams' press conference this weekend that maybe what happened to her out on the court might not ever happen to another female player down the line. 

"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 they want to be a strong woman," she said. "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."

Cover image: lev radin / Shutterstock.com

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