By A. Balaji
The tennis world witnessed one of the best played US opens this September as the men and women battled it out to reign at flushing meadows. But this year’s edition was especially marked by the polemic women's final. Serena Williams, 23 - time grand slam winner, was stunned by Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who won her maiden Grand Slam, leaving both players in tears. Osaka’s win made her the first Japanese to ever win a major title, in addition to denying Serena of her record 24th, which would equal Margaret Court’s record major titles.
However the spectacular win for Osaka, after playing a brilliant two weeks in flushing meadows, was overshadowed by controversial arbitrary decisions and outbursts from the American tennis player. All these events were protagonists in the action-packed US Open Women’s final.
The problem started in the second set when Osaka had played brilliantly and effortlessly win the first set, 6 - 2. The Japanese had put in 72% of her first serves in the court and had powered on her winners to startle the American in the first set. The second set, on the other hand, had a different entail. In the first game of the second set, Williams was given a code violation at 40 - 15, as the umpire saw an action by Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, as coaching.
Serena was leading 3 - 1 when she was given a second code violation for smashing her racquet. The double - fault she committed before smashing her racquet meant she lost her one break advantage over Osaka, making it 3 - 2. Her second code violation meant that she automatically lost a point; So Osaka served at 2 - 3, with a 15 - 0 advantage. The loss of a point caused an outrage by Williams who confronted the umpire. Serena raged at Carlos Ramos, denying the fact that she was ever coached and claiming that the umpire was attacking her character. Williams even went to the extent of calling Ramos a ‘thief’ and said that he had stolen a point from her. After a fiery exchange and finger pointing with the umpire at every game changeover, at 4 - 3 with Osaka leading. Serena exploded once again.
"You are a liar. You will never be on a court of mine as long as you live. When are you going to give me my apology? Say you are sorry," she told the Portuguese.
Serena was then penalised with a verbal abuse causing a whole game to be docked of her, resulting in 5 - 3 for Osaka.
Serena refused to continue and demanded an intervention from the tournament referee. A hiss came down in the Arthur Ashe stadium as the home crowd showed all their support for Serena and indignation with the umpire. She then finally went out to the baseline to serve out for 3 - 5, retaining her service game. But it was too late, as the Japanese showed extreme composure to serve out at 5 - 4 to reign the newest US Open champion.
This final served as an example of how the greats also have some hiccups, as we saw with Serena. In my opinion, Serena acted irresponsibly with no judgment and common sense. Yes, indeed, the umpire was quite tough with her; especially in a US Open final. However, her outbursts and childish attitudes were simply unacceptable. Firstly, she called an official umpire a thief and verbally abused him, something no one has the right to do; especially Serena Williams, a sporting role model worldwide. Secondly, she accused Carlos Ramos of being sexist, completely diverging from the topic at hand, causing a whole other argument. By saying that the umpire was being unfair because of sex, Williams took the argument to a whole new level. What relation did a call against Williams have to do with sexism? I believe she was simply trying to find faults in his arguments so that the world could see that he was being unfair against her. But that didn’t work. Finally, by causing so much rage within herself and the whole crowd, Serena Williams spoilt what was supposed to be a magical first grand slam title win for Osaka. What was supposed to be a win followed by the applauding of the crowd, became a win followed be the tough boos from the crowd. This not only ruined the moment for Osaka but also made her feel a target for the hissing, causing her to even say ‘sorry’ for winning against Serena.
Overall, this Women’s final was quite an upsetting engage of events and was one to stand out in the history books, forever.