Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon recaps the 2018 US Open on the women’s side.
Naomi Osaka is the 2018 US Open champion after winning the final match in dominating fashion by the score of 6-2 and 6-4 against the great Serena Williams.
She’s also, regrettably, the one person you’re not thinking about today. How do we know this, you say? Well, let us run down through all the people you’re thinking about today before you think about the young champion.
First, you’re thinking of Patrick Mouratoglou, Williams’s coach and the one who started the entire mess in the first place. In the first game of the second set of the women’s final, just after his protege had lost the first set fairly convincingly, Mouratoglou gestured toward Williams in a way that might have looked like coaching.
— Ashish TV Slams (@ashishtvslams) September 8, 2018
It was, and because of this Williams received a warning—a first one.
And now you’re thinking of Williams herself. After the warning, the 36-year-old disputed the call and let the chair umpire know about it. “I don’t cheat,” you could hear her say on the court even after she had been just deemed to do precisely that, “I’d rather lose.”
From there, Williams only grew more and more frustrated and, after missing a backhand, smashed her racket. This earned her another code violation and, with it, a point violation.
From there, you’re probably thinking of chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who oversaw the carnage in the women’s final. The veteran umpire has long been a stickler for rules and the women’s final proved to be no exception in his mind. After a second warning, Ramos went ahead and gave Williams a final and third one after the player, amid more frustration, told the man he was a «thief.»
It’s mostly mild as far as insults go but it is what it is and, remember, Ramos thinks rules are rules and don’t you dare baffle them.
Serena Williams after getting penalized because she called judge a "thief" "There;s a a lot of men who have said things and because they are men nothing happens to them"….pic.twitter.com/Vr9WTspqFw
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) September 8, 2018
Next, you’re likely thinking of the Flushing Meadows crowd. Once it became clear that Ramos was hell-bent on having Williams respect the darn rules, and that Williams was suffering a little bit of a meltdown, far from the ones suffered from many of her male counterparts mind you and not one unwarranted at that either but still one, then the New York crowd jumped in and let the whole world know that they were cheering for Williams.
Which meant, for the most part, that they were also booing Osaka, which is what they did during the trophy presentation after the match concluded. (It’s not personal, some might say, but how can you say it’s not? You’re booing someone so of course it’s personal.)
You’re thinking of Williams again, we know it, because during the aforementioned booing in the trophy presentation Williams managed to get the crowd to rally behind Osaka at long last and get them to show her how they had appreciated her entire run through the main draw.
So there it is, the Monday after the US Open, and you’re thinking of Serena Williams, Carlos Ramos and the US Open crowd. Is that all? Anyone else we forget? Why, yes of course you’re thinking of the United States Tennis Association as well. On Sunday, the powers that be at the USTA decided to fine Williams $17,000 for her three code violations during the final.
Because…why, exactly? Why doesn’t matter, they just did it and so you must be thinking of them today as well.
Serena is 100% right. Male players are allowed to scream, curse, break rackets, yell at referees and they get away with most of it. She does it and she's penalized. It's sexist.
— Ryan Rosenblatt (@RyanRosenblatt) September 8, 2018
And through it all you’re not thinking of Osaka on the first Monday after the greatest triumph of her life.
Hopefully that changes now.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG