If you aren’t someone who uses twitter or social media religiously like me, then here is a quick rundown of what happened during and after the 2018 US Open Final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka:
The match started out as a dream come true for Naomi Osaka because she was going up against the GOAT, Serena Williams. Osaka, being just 20 years old, expressed that she grew up watching Serena play and that she couldn’t believe that she got this opportunity. Osaka was playing well and the match was going smooth until Serena’s first penalty.
1. First Offence: Warning
Umpire Carlos Ramos accused Serena of cheating because her coach was in the crowd coaching her. The coach later admitted that he was coaching Williams from the stands, but that it was common for other coaches to do it as well.
2. Second Offence: Point Penalty
On this offense, Serena had smashed her racquet on the ground from anger, which is again common among tennis players. The umpire decided to take one of her points away because of her action.
3. Third Offence: Game Penalty
Before this point, Williams had been talking to the umpire and saying that Ramos owed her an apology for calling her a cheater. She explained that she didn’t cheat and that he was being unfair. Ramos was not willing to offer an apology and none of the officials were going to help Serena, so in one of her interactions with the umpire she called him a thief for taking her point away from her. The umpire Carlos Ramos then gave her a game penalty for verbally abusing him by calling him a thief.
Let’s start with the first offence. As I stated above, it is incredibly common for coaches to give coaching from the crowd. This didn’t mean that Serena was listening or even looking at her coach. The umpire merely assumed it was purposeful and refused to believe Williams after she tried to explain to him that she wasn’t even looking at him. Next, the point penalty. Again, players smash their racquets all of the time. If you google “tennis racquet smashing”, videos like “The best racquet smashes of 2018!” will come up and many, many more videos and articles. Last, but not least, the game penalty call. This was due to Serena calling Ramos a thief for taking her point away. Men within the sport constantly get away with shouting profanities at the officials from anger and nothing is ever thought of it. As soon as Serena says “thief”, it costs her a game penalty. Serena was also fined $17,000 for all of her warnings and penalties. This match and her fine show the sexism and racism that was showcased within this match, but these occurrences weren’t the only thing that showed the racism ingrained within the event.
This political cartoon, created by HERALD Sun cartoonist Mark Knight, shows Serena as a hysterical black woman with stereotypical big lips. Osaka being a Japanese American, is depicted with a lighter skin color and looks like a typical white, blonde haired female. This cartoon alone shows the misogyny and racism that is happening today.
The game ended in the crowd booing Osaka, which Serena quickly stepped in to defend her and explained that she deserved everything and played well. Both women were gracious and kind towards each other, showing viewers the kind of women they both are. This is why we need to keep talking about this. These women are both queens and amazing at what they do, but both of their moments in the 2018 US Open were ruined by an umpire that treated them differently than their white male peers.
Keep the conversation going, collegiettes. Talk about what we all just witnessed, that racism and sexism are still very present in the world today.