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A Championship For The Ages (Not The Good Kind)

Brian Taylor

Posted on September 11, 2018 00:07

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Unpacking the debacle that was the US Open Women's Final.

It was the first full weekend of football in 2018. Several exciting games on Saturday in the college ranks and full slate of Week One drama on Sunday in the NFL, so naturally the biggest story from the weekend is.....tennis?

Wow, something big must have happened to get the US Open top billing on this weekend's Sportscenter.

For those of you who missed it, 20-year-old Naomi Osaka of Japan won the US Open Women's Final against the player she grew up idolizing, the legendary Serena Williams.  Unfortunately, her triumph was overshadowed by both Serena's behavior and a chair umpire who couldn't stay anonymous.

First Violation: Coaching from the Stands - It began in the second set when Serena was hit with a warning for receiving instruction from her coach. Yes, it's against the rules, but why? Seriously? This should not be a rule. This is something that happens all the time, to bring it up in a Grand Slam Final is a mark of a referee trying to make his mark on the match.

Second Violation: Smashing Her Racket - As the match began to slip away from Serena, her frustration bubbled over, resulting in her smashing her racket on the ground so hard that it broke. This is where Serena is in the wrong. Moments of frustration are expected in a match such as this, but at the point you broke your racket, you leave the Chair Umpire Carlos Ramos no choice but to ding her another code violation, resulting in a loss of point (the 15-30-40 part of tennis scoring). At this point, Serena began to berate Ramos, calling him a "liar" and a "thief," leading to....

Third Violation: Verbal Abuse - The match completely falls off the hinges at this point, as Ramos docks Serena one game (The part of tennis scoring where you have to get to 6 in a set), which made the score 5-3 and put Serena on the verge of a defeat that had been coming since the moment the two ladies took the court. 

What Serena actually said to Ramos is pretty tame compared to some of the things other athletes have said to officials without the ref even blinking. It's sports, there's raw emotion, things are going to be said. If you can't handle an insult that doesn't diss your mother, maybe officiating isn't for you.

Another issue I had with Ramos is that I know his name. Referees are supposed to be invisible, they do their job and blend in with the crowd on their way out of the stadium. By calling an obscure rule violation, Ramos made himself the center of attention, only to stay in the circle when he docked Serena a crucial game because of his thin skin.

With the crowd booing the whole debacle, Serena asked the crowd to stop and celebrate Osaka, who was visibly upset and apologetic afterwards. Sadly, the lasting image of a night that felt like nobody won.

Brian Taylor

Posted on September 11, 2018 00:07

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