‘I would rather lose, I don’t cheat!’ Serena Williams screams after game penalty in US Open'
Naomi Osaka stormed to a sensational, turbulent US Open final win on Saturday night when she beat Serena Williams after the 36-year-old American totally lost her head in a dramatic championship match.
The trouble started when her coach was called for giving hand signals illegally in the first set, and then spiralled when she slammed her racket into the ground when broken back for 3-2 in the second, after which she was given a point penalty.
She repeatedly insulted the umpire, calling him a liar and a thief and demanding an apology. He duly docked her a game after the third code violation, leaving her at 3-5, from which she could not recover.
It detracted from a magnificent performance from the American-raised Japanese player, and made for an embarrassing trophy handover, at which Williams was described as a ‘role model’. Not in this particular case she wasn’t.
Ramos, a highly experienced official, had little alternative, given the abuse that was being thrown his way from Williams, who also angrily pointed her finger at him
‘I don’t cheat, I would rather lose,’ she had initially said, constantly demanding an apology and also remonstrating that she had a daughter as if that was relevant. The thief accusations started coming at 2-3 down in the second as she started riding the violation escalator in earnest.
Boos rang out around the stadium – most seemingly in sympathy with her – as she brought gender into the argument, now remonstrating with tournament Referee Brian Earley, who she summoned to the court.
‘You’ll never sit on a court with me as long as you live!’ was another threat to the umpire, who was only following long-established procedures.
Williams had herself broken for 3-1 in the second, firing herself up after Ramos spotted gesticulations from Patrick Mouratoglou.
He later embarrassed himself by blaming the umpire for wanting to get too involved, while his player embarked on a rant about sexism in her post-match press conference, despite admitting Ramos has been a ‘great umpire’ in her previous matches.