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[Tennis] Racism, sexism, and the breaking of records: How Serena Williams' triumphant return to the US Open turned into an unmitigated disaster

2021.11.30 05:35 JulesIsAlive [Tennis] Racism, sexism, and the breaking of records: How Serena Williams' triumphant return to the US Open turned into an unmitigated disaster

I know I promised this write-up ages ago, and now, with the release of King Richard, it seems like an appropriate time to finally post it! Unfortunately, I didn’t follow this story very closely when it was happening, so it took a little bit of time to get all caught up. Most of the stuff in here is coming from reading articles on what happened – so if I’ve missed out on anything, please feel free to add it in the comments. Here’s the story of how Serena Williams’s triumphant return to tennis ended up turning into an unmitigated dumpster fire.
Background
Serena Williams. You all know her, or have at least heard of her. Arguably the greatest female tennis player of all time, Serena has dominated tennis for the better part of her 25+ year long career. She’s broken barriers, set new records, become a fashion icon, and oh, she’s married to that Reddit nerd. Williams is so popular and well known that her name is almost synonymous with tennis.
One of the metrics on which great tennis players are judged is Grand Slams, the most prestigious tournaments in tennis. There are four held every year – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. Serena has 23 Grand Slam titles, the highest in the Open Era, and the second-highest overall (it would be a little too complicated to explain what the ‘Open Era’ is, but you can read more about it here. Very briefly – prior to 1968, Grand Slams did not allow professional tennis players to compete, and as a result, player who went ‘pro’ were excluded. This means that the level of competition at these Slams was a bit lower than it should have been, given that many of the best players, who had chosen to make money off their talent, were not allowed to compete. This changed in 1968, when Grand Slams decided to let pros compete in tournaments alongside amateurs – the period from then is known as the ‘Open Era’).
The only person with more Grand Slam titles than Serena is Margaret Court, who is 24. Court is a controversial figure in tennis – although her peers, including Billie Jean King, consider her an incredible tennis player, she is a racist, homophobic, and transphobic bigot who has used her fame and celebrity to consistently spew hatred towards the LGBTQ community. During her time at the top of the sport, she belittled and consistently alienated many brilliant queer tennis players, including King and Martina Navratilova. After her retirement, she became a Christian minister, and has continued to leverage her fame to push a homophobic and transphobic agenda. When Australian player Casey Dellacqua, who is openly lesbian, had a baby with her partner, Court criticized Dellacqua for ‘depriving this baby of his father’. Court even defended Apartheid.
Court has been much criticized in the media, with many, including John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova, calling for Margaret Court Arena (which hosts the Australian Open) to be renamed. Tennis fans have spent decades hoping that someone dethrones Court by matching or surpassing her Grand Slam record. In the 1990s, it looked as though someone would – Steffi Graf, the other GOAT contender, racked up Grand Slam titles quickly, winning 22 before suddenly deciding to retire at the rather young age of 30. And so, the wait resumed.
At least until Serena came along. At the time of the events recounted here, Serena had won 23 Grand Slam titles, just one shy of equalling Court’s record. The last was in an electrifying match against her sister, Venus, at the Australian Open in 2017 – immediately after that, Serena had announced that she was pregnant and would be taking a step back from tennis. She returned only in the middle of 2018, after having a baby and surviving life-threatening complications. The tennis world was beside itself – convinced that this was the year when Serena would finally win her 24th and equal Court’s all-time record.

The US Open
Serena came close to winning her 24th title at Wimbledon, reaching the final before suffering a loss to Angelique Kerber. She had had a bit of a slow start to the year, but slowly looked like she was warming up. Next up was the US Open – the site of many of her victories, including her very first Grand Slam title, and where she held a record 6 titles.
She entered the competition as the favourite, despite her long absence from tennis over the past year and concerns about whether she would be able to compete at a high level. And from the beginning of the tournament, she looked strong, losing only one set in her quick run to the final. Her opponent for the title would be 20-year old Naomi Osaka.
Osaka was a young and talented player then in the middle of her breakout year. She had actually managed to beat Serena earlier that year at Miami, but her performance at Grand Slams was shaky, meaning that she was considered a dangerous but inconsistent opponent for Serena.

The final
The final would have been historic no matter which way it swung – if Serena won, then she would have equalled Court’s legendary record; if Osaka did, then she would be the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam title. To add to the dramatic narrative, it was the 50th anniversary of Arthur Ashe’s first US Open win, the first black man to win the title. Osaka had talked about how Serena was her idol growing up; her father had decided to teach her and her sister tennis after being inspired by watching the Williams’ sisters play against each other. All in all, the weekend seemed guaranteed to go down in the annals of tennis history.
Osaka took the early lead, quickly winning the first set 6-2. Serena rallied somewhat for the second. But in the middle of the second set, the umpire, Carlos Ramos, suddenly called out a code violation – he claimed that he had seen Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, signal Serena, and that this amounted to coaching.

What is a coaching violation?
Tennis differs a little from other sports in that players are not allowed to be in communication with their coaches through the course of a match. The idea behind this is to bring about ostensible parity – when you’re on the court, it’s just you and your opponent, without any fancy expensive coaches helping you out. Whether or not this rule actually works in practice is a whole other can of worms. Numerous players and coaches have criticized it; its enforcement basically relies on umpires noticing when coaches talk to or otherwise signal their players, and then choosing to impose a penalty. But umpires often miss out on player-coach interactions, or sometimes they give players a pass, leading to very uneven application of the rule. Coaching is thus quite common; in fact, coaching violations recently led to another flair-up in the tennis world, in a saga surrounding bathroom breaks, shady tweets, and the Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas, which I have written about here.
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has recently started to take the criticism of the rule into account, and as of 2020, it allows coaching from the stands at women’s matches. However, Grand Slams follow different rules; and at the time of this event, and even today, coaching remains a punishable offence at Grand Slam matches. Under the rules, it doesn’t matter if a player sees their coach sending a signal; just the fact that a signal was sent would immediately amount to a penalty.

Back to the final
Serena immediately contested the penalty, telling the umpire, Ramos, that her coach Mouratoglou had just been giving her a thumbs up for encouragement and that she didn’t “cheat to win… [she’d] rather lose”. But since it was her first offence in the match, the violation only constituted a warning. Under the rules, a player’s first violation constitutes a verbal warning; a second violation of the rules amounts to forfeiting a point; and a third would lead to forfeiting a whole game.
[A short note on tennis scoring for those who aren’t quite sure how it works – each women’s match is played as Best of Three sets, with the first player to win two sets taking the win. Each set is won by the first player to win 6 games with a gap of at least 2 games. And each game is won by the first player to win 4 or more points, with a gap of at least 2 points. As a result, even a point penalty can be significant, and a game penalty is almost unheard of.]
The match plodded along for a while. At least until Osaka broke back against Serena’s serve to take the lead in the second set. Serena smashed her racquet, an automatic violation. I should note that players breaking racquets is extremely common – almost every player you know has broken a racquet on a tennis court at some point, including greats of the game like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray. It is in fact so common that it is actually more notable when a player is famous for never smashing racquets. Despite how frequently it happens, however, the action almost always leads to a penalty. As this was the second time that Serena had broken the rules in that match, she received a point penalty – basically, she would be made to forfeit a point to Osaka. And then things started to go out of control.
Serena appeared to be under the impression that the racquet smash was her first violation, so she walked back to the umpire to ask him why she had been docked a point instead of simply receiving a verbal warning. She called the penalty unbelievable, and said “Every time I play here, I have problems”. This was true – in past years, there had been three separate instances at the US Open where her matches were mired in controversy. The most infamous of these was probably her 2004 US Open match against Jennifer Capriati, where the line calls made against Serena were so laughably inaccurate that the match paved the way for inclusion of automatic line calling technology. Another instance involved an outburst at the 2009 US Open, where a line umpire said that Serena had threatened to ‘shove a tennis ball’ down her throat, which Serena contested. All in all, it’s safe to say that her run at the US Opens of years past had not been a smooth ride. And this year looked to be no different.
Ramos stuck by his decision, even as Serena became increasingly agitated. She kept insisting that she hadn’t gotten coaching, and therefore that she shouldn’t have received a warning for the earlier violation. The antsy crowd, increasingly annoyed by the delay in the match, started to jeer; Ramos, meanwhile, stuck to his guns and refused to rescind the earlier coaching penalty. Things grew increasingly heated, and Serena demanded that Ramos apologize to her, saying “You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life… I have a daughter, and I stand to do what’s right for her, and I’ve never cheated. You owe me an apology!”
The match proceeded to unravel further, with Osaka building up a healthy lead. In a break, Serena resumed her argument with the umpire, accusing him of attacking her character. She said that she would never allow Ramos to officiate another one of her matches, and called him a liar and a thief. She seemed particularly upset that Ramos had insinuated that she had cheated. Things got so ugly that Ramos finally ended up handing out a third violation – a code violation for verbal abuse. The penalty for this was forfeiting a whole game.
All hell broke loose. I cannot describe how rare a game penalty is – they are almost never seen. In a Grand Slam final, even a point penalty is a big deal. The crowd booed loudly, as Serena, almost in disbelief, asked Ramos if he was kidding. Meanwhile Osaka, drawn into this drama against her will, stood by uncomfortably. Serena called the penalty outrageous, and asked for the referee to be called to the court. The referee is distinct from the umpire – while the umpire adjudicates individual matches, a referee supervises the whole tournament. When it comes to penalties in an individual match, they usually defer to the decision of the umpire. And that’s exactly what happened here, with the referee sticking by the umpire’s decision even as Serena became increasingly upset on court. She said that she was being held to a standard that was different to the one that men were held to – that her calling the umpire a ‘thief’ shouldn’t amount to a game penalty, and that there were men who had been excused despite saying things that were far worse. “There’s a lot of men out here who have said a lot of things, and because they are men, it doesn’t happen to them. This is not fair.”
The match ended in huge controversy, with Osaka winning 6-2 6-4. Serena looked like she was on the verge of tears throughout. She hugged Osaka at the net, but refused to do the traditional handshake with the umpire, instead asking him to apologise to her again. The crowd booed the trophy ceremony, leaving Osaka in tears on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, winning her first Grand Slam title and becoming the first Japanese person to win a Grand Slam. In her speech, Osaka said “I’m sorry. I know that everyone was cheering for her, and I’m sorry that it had to end like this. I just want to say thank you for watching the match. It was always my dream to play Serena in the US Open finals, so I’m really glad that I was able to do that.”

The aftermath: The controversy continues
In the post-match interview, Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, immediately admitted to coaching, but claimed that Serena hadn't seen the signal. Mouratoglou is a controversial figure in the tennis community. He runs an immensely successful tennis academy in France, and has been the coach of many great players, including Serena, Grigor Dimitrov, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and yes, Tsitsipas. He had become Serena’ s coach way back in 2012, after a recent slump, and after that she proceeded to win 10 more Grand Slams and an Olympic Gold Medal. He and Serena were even rumoured to be an item for a while. But he had also been criticized by some of his players as being a better businessman than a coach, and also as being overly controlling and demanding, withholding phones and credit cards from players while they were under his tutelage.
Mouratoglou defended his actions by saying that coaching was an open secret, and that many players had been caught receiving coaching without being penalized in the past, including at matches officiated by Carlos Ramos.
The controversy continued to brew, with the ITF, the organisation responsible for Grand Slams, coming out strongly in favour of Ramos. It said that Ramos had not done anything wrong – that he had strictly followed and implemented the rules.
Others meanwhile argued that the imposition of the penalty was sexist. While most conceded that the coaching violation was deserved, the main debate hinged around whether the subsequent imposition of a game penalty for calling Ramos a ‘liar and a thief’ was a step too far, and whether a male player would have received a similar penalty at that stage. Jimmy Connors’ famous outburst at the 1991 US Open, where he repeatedly called the chair umpire ‘an abortion’ without receiving any penalty, was brought up. Many players came out in support of Serena, including John McEnroe and Billie Jean King, who said that they felt that female tennis players were held to a different standard than male tennis players. The WTA, the organisation governing women’s tennis, stated that it believed that some gender bias and sexism had occurred in the match. Many pointed out that Ramos had a history of tussling with famous players when his job was to keep tempers calm, and that other players including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal had accused him of unfair treatment. In the previous year, he had also accused Venus of cheating, which Venus had adamantly denied.
Others defended Ramos as just doing his job and following the rules. They pointed out that Ramos was a ‘gold badge umpire’, the highest possible designation for an umpire, with a great deal of experience at all the different Grand Slams. They slammed the social media persecution of Ramos, who avoided going out the day after the final to avoid any problems. Other umpires expressed discomfort with the lack of support that Ramos had received, noting that it would hurt their ability to make tough calls.
The debate continued to devolve, taking a markedly racist turn. The worst of it came with the publication of this cartoon by an Australian newspaper called the Herald Sun. The cartoon drew much criticism for its exaggerated Jim Crow-style caricature of Serena, even as her opponent Osaka was depicted as a blonde woman despite being of half-black Haitian and half-Japanese heritage. The Australian Press Council received several complaints (they ultimately decided against any action). The Herald Sun, meanwhile, defended itself by publishing an edition titled “WELCOME TO PC WORLD”.
The debates over racism became particularly acute because both Serena and her sister Venus had been the targets of much racism over the course of their careers. This sometimes stemmed from the way they styled their hair, the clothes that they wore, or at the hands of other players (such as famous former Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis). Williams has been described as 'too masculine', as looking like a 'gorilla', and in a whole plethora of other racially charged language. In fact, in 2001, both Serena and Venus were subjected to such virulent racist abuse at Indian Wells (one of the most prestigious non-Grand Slam tournaments) that they chose to boycott it for nearly 15 years.

Conclusion
As most controversies do, this one too slowly died down as the news cycle turned. The next year, it was announced that Ramos would not be officiating any of the Williams’ sisters matches at the US Open, a decision which generated some minor controversy as players are not allowed to pick and choose which umpires they get (this is a whole other controversy of its own, and one that has flaired up with other players as well – including in a famous tussle/Nadal-Disrespect-Root-of-Bad-Blood-with-Bernardes.aspx) between Rafael Nadal and an umpire named Carlos Bernardes).
Osaka would go on to win three other Grand Slam titles. Despite this, in a documentary released in the past year, she said that she had suffered from bouts of depression ever since 2018. In this past year, Osaka’s battle with depression became increasingly public as she started to avoid post-match press conferences, which led to a huge controversy that probably warrants a post of its own.
Despite making two more Grand Slam finals, Serena has yet to win that all-elusive 24th Grand Slam title, and at this point, it seems increasingly unlikely that she ever will. Court’s record may yet stand for a few years longer – at least until the next Serena Williams comes along. Or until the real Serena decides to make a comeback.
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🎮 Metaverse Legend is designed with a singular purpose in mind to help fund and support the development of the next generation of blockchain projects !
🎮 Total Supply: 1.000,000,000
🎮 Max Wallet: 4%
🎮 Max Txn: 2%
ℹ️Tokeomics:
🎮4% Marketing Wallet
🎮5% Auto Liquidity
🎮3% Buyback
🛡Verified Contract
🛡 Liquidity Locked
⚔️Contract: 0x01ab5A3945Fd2ABDE6914E97B5b912705bD028c8
⚔️Pancakeswap:https://pancakeswap.finance/swap?outputCurrency=0x01ab5A3945Fd2ABDE6914E97B5b912705bD028c8
⚔️Renounced Ownership: https://bscscan.com/token/0x01ab5A3945Fd2ABDE6914E97B5b912705bD028c8#readContract
⚔️ LP LOCKED : https://deeplock.io/lock/0x66b9d6b2a61680587b65d06ad0afaaf62a284c69
submitted by Old_Bed8247 to CryptoMarsShots [link] [comments]


2021.11.30 05:35 HelpFew5732 DREAM JOB AT WALMART

DREAM JOB AT WALMART submitted by HelpFew5732 to peopleofwalmart [link] [comments]


2021.11.30 05:35 Fizzy_Phy Bruh someone needs to make a meme out of this.....

Bruh someone needs to make a meme out of this.....
white's so down rn
submitted by Fizzy_Phy to stevenuniverse [link] [comments]


2021.11.30 05:35 arkhangel117 Lets talk good infinite for once

I think its time for a little break from all the complaining, both valid and idiotic, and lets talk about the good parts, what's everyones favourite gun for example?
submitted by arkhangel117 to halo [link] [comments]


2021.11.30 05:35 HRzNightmare Jake's sexuality

I'm as straight as they come (40m.) Up to now I've been team Lloyd because he was so refreshing. But this season I've fallen in love with Jake. He's a breath of fresh air. He does what he wants, he's attractive to both sides of the aisle... And he kisses who he wants. It must be so free to do what he wants. I really appreciate him!
submitted by HRzNightmare to belowdeck [link] [comments]


2021.11.30 05:35 pierrbourne is it childish for me as a 17 year old guy to wanna start a hot wheel collection

i wanna get some wooden slabs on my walls and just post alot of hot wheels on there. i love cars n stuff but i get my homies over sometimes and i dont know if ill be made fun of.
for context hot wheels are small metal toy cars as big as your fingers based off of real and fictional cars
submitted by pierrbourne to Advice [link] [comments]


2021.11.30 05:35 sopalidisajnaco 🌳 TreedomCoins | 🚀 | Just Fair Launched (no presale) | Potential 1000x | Community driven token | 📺 Paid marketing team | 🔒 Liquidity Locked for 10 years

Did you miss $SMOON or $STRAYINU. No worries because $TREEDOM will be the next big moonshot token! Our experienced team knows how to run the marketing and branding for tokens. Due to previous successful tokens ofcourse.
Next to the marketing, we strive to build a close and solid community on Telegram. Community is the foundation to grow! To keep communinty together, we will reward holders 2% of every transaction. So invest, hold and grow together! Join our Telegram group: https://t.me/treedomcoins
To build trust in our community, we locked the liquidity for 10 years and automatically feed the liquidity with 3% of every transaction. There will be always liquidity to stable the price to make it a low risk investment.
After all, we are a charity token. For every transaction we count 3% fee for saving the forest around the world.
​💬 JOIN THE TELEGRAM GROUP NOW: https://t.me/treedomcoins
Buy link: https://pancakeswap.finance/swap?outputCurrency=0x570eb152C93D2F49E683bE5F435d63187886182E
Already listed on:
https://coinmooner.com/coin/7482
https://coindiscovery.app/coin/treedomcoins
https://www.freshcoins.io/coins/treedomcoins
https://www.rugfreecoins.com/details/5731
Tokenomics:
❤️ To charity: 3%
🤖 Automatic liquidity: 3%
🔥 Initial burn: 10%
📺 Marketing: 2%
🏆 Holder reward: 2%
💰 Max supply:100,000,000,000
🔒 Locked Liquidity: 80%
Links:
Buy link: https://pancakeswap.finance/swap?outputCurrency=0x570eb152C93D2F49E683bE5F435d63187886182E
💬 Telegram: https://t.me/treedomcoins
📃Contract: 0x570eb152C93D2F49E683bE5F435d63187886182E
🌐 Website: https://www.treedomcoins.com
submitted by sopalidisajnaco to CryptoMarketsshot [link] [comments]


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