If you were tuned in to the US Open Women’s Finals this weekend, then you might’ve seen the drama that occurred during the Serena Williams vs. Naomi Osaka match. The latter ultimately won the title, her first Grand Slam ever, after Serena was given three penalties for calling an umpire a “liar” and “thief.” She later accused the umpire for being sexist towards her.
People had a lot of feelings on what happened. On one hand, some got mad at Serena and her camp for ruining Naomi’s winning moment. According to BBC, the audience booed during the trophy ceremony in support of Serena after the unfair treatment she experienced during the game. This was also after Naomi said that it was her “dream to play Serena in the US Open Finals.”
But Serena calmed the crowd down and congratulated her opponent. “She played well and this is her first Grand Slam,” she said. “No more booing!”
During a press conference after the game, Serena said that what happened to her was sexist because she was penalized for simply expressing her frustrations at the umpire. (Take note that she was also penalized for wearing a catsuit.) Although Serena has had a long history of fighting umpires during her matches, as reported by BBC, she also emphasized that male players have said worst things but they are almost never thrown out of a game.
Tennis icon Billie Jean King said it best: “When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s ‘outspoken’ and there are no repercussions.”
(2/2) When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.
So this isn’t an issue of which player deserved to win—both women played their best and there’s no need to pit the two against each other after the match. It’s time we start a conversation how sports officials treat female players and to observe if their calls are borne out of sexism and discrimination.