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Serena Williams got off easy

10 September 2018

Serena Williams was penalized a game for calling the chair umpire a thief during an extended argument as the U.S. Open women's final descended into chaos, with fans booing and play delayed before Naomi Osaka wrapped up a 6-2, 6-4 victory for her first Grand Slam title.

Williams, who was seeking a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam singles title on Saturday, was handed a warning for a coaching violation before being deducted a point for smashing her racquet.

The American star was fined for coaching, racquet abuse and for verbal abuse when she accused umpire Carlos Ramos of being "a thief" during the stormy final.

The six-times U.S. Open champion, who has since been fined $17,000 by the United States Tennis Association for the violations, vigorously disputed each during the match.

When the violation was announced Williams approached Ramos to say she never takes coaching and would rather lose than "cheat to win". As Osaka stood on the winner's podium after the match, crowd members booed.

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She said: "Ever since I was little he's always been telling me these wise words but I've never really wanted to listen".

"What the umpire did is totally not acceptable and I hope that we are going to have a sanction because we just can't let that happen", she said. Williams said. "You owe me an apology".

Current player Victoria Azarenka claimed the same violations wouldn't have been handed down if it was in a men's match.

It was left for others to go beyond Williams' remarks to reporters and King, a pioneer in women's rights and sports, quickly stepped up.

"Like, when I step onto the court, I feel like a different person, right?" "I was like, 'Wow, this is not how I felt when I won my first Grand Slam.' I definitely don't want her to feel like that".

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In her post-match news conference Williams said she was she "was not being coached" and that she "did not understand" why Mouratoglou would say he was doing so. "There's a lot of men out here that have said a lot of things and because they are men [the same punishment] does not happen to them".

After Osaka dominated the first set, another sign that this would not be a coronation for Williams came early in the second, when she received a warning for receiving help from her coach in the stands. "I know that everyone was cheering for [Serena] and I'm sorry it had to end like this". It was just so sad for me to see at the presentation that she was in tears. "Unusual to do that in a Grand Slam final", Mouratoglou said.

Under Article III, Section P of the Grand Slam Rule Book, "verbal abuse" is defined as "a statement about an official, opponent, sponsor, spectator or other person that implies dishonesty or is derogatory, insulting or otherwise abusive".

"One thing I love about tennis is being out there".

Former umpire Richard Ings, who was also in charge of officials and rules on the men's tour, backed Ramos' actions.

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With jeers bouncing off the arena's closed roof, both players - the champion, Osaka, and the runner-up, Williams - wiped away tears during a trophy ceremony that was awkward for everyone involved. "Second, we all know that all the coaches coach at every match, all year long, from the first of January all the way to the 31st of December". How many other men do things?

Serena Williams got off easy