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It was supposed to be be a celebrated match between two remarkable athletes, but Serena Williams’ US Open Finals opened up a discussion on sexism in sport.
Serena Williams is that tennis star who has taken the sporting world by storm time and again, with her unapologetic and feisty presence. Be it making a grand comeback post her first child birth that was wrought with fatal complications or constantly standing up for racial discrimination and sexism, Serena has unflinchingly done it all.
So, when Williams was in news yet again for calling out sexism in sports, I was glad that she had the guts to call a spade a spade and was being her usual feisty self.
It was the grand finale of one of the biggest tennis tournaments. The stage was set as Serena Williams who is a 23 Grand Slam champion, descended the turf against the promising Naomi Osaka from Japan.
In this crucial game of nerves emotions were on a high and rules were violated. It started with umpire Carlos Ramos giving a coaching violation warning after Williams’ coach was seen doing a hand gesture from the stands. Post a few games, Serena slammed her racket thereby breaking it, leading to a penalty point.
This enraged Williams and she accused the umpire of ‘sexism’ and even called him a ‘thief’ for stealing a point. Consequently, she had to suffer a game penalty in the US Open final.
The end result was that Serena Williams ended up being on the losing side and the young Japanese woman created history by becoming the first Japanese ever to win a Grand Slam title.
As the US open finale has came to a dramatic close, internet is abuzz with people supporting Serena Williams, cat-calling the umpire and accusing him of sexism as supposedly male players have let their emotions get the better of them numerous times but none of them got so severely punished as Williams. Then, there are some who feel Serena deserved the punishment and she wasn’t the victim as she is was the one lashing out.
Now, I have always admired Serena Williams for the person she is. So, I looked at the entire episode in an endeavor to gauge if she was actually a victim of ‘sexism’.
To my dismay, as I delved deeper into the alleys of the sport, I came across number of instances wherein male players came out nasty and aggressive towards the umpires while on field. But, hardly any one was as severely punished as Williams.
And interestingly, many such incidents involved the umpire in question, Carlos Ramos.
I an astounded to say the least and these are just a couple of snippets from the pool of instances when players, especially men have been extremely vocal about their displeasure at things on the field. But have gotten away with it.
Former tennis star Billie Jean King tweeted:
Retired US tennis star Andy Roddick also tweeted saying, “I’ve regrettably said worse and I’ve never gotten a game penalty.”
I cannot say that Williams was right in letting her emotions getting the better of her. But this is not something which can be etched as black or white. This is a grey area of one of the most celebrated games that is and so with perpetual controversies, like the one involving Alize Cornet earning a code violation for changing her shirt. It is time the Federation look into its rule-book and aim at being fair towards the players irrespective of their gender, colour or ethnicity.
I wish the US open finale was not enveloped by the dark shadows of controversies rather it should have been a celebration of two stupendous women athletes who are role models for young women all over the world.
Image Source – honey nice
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