Serena Williams' Heated Tennis Match: Equality in Women's Sports

Serena Williams has been the number 1 ranked women’s tennis player in the world with the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. She is known internationally for her athleticism and domination on the court. So, what happened during the 2018 US Open?

Williams was playing her final match against Naomi Osaka for the Grand Slam title and was penalized a game, then fined $17,000 from chair umpire Carlos Ramos. Williams was outraged at Ramos for claiming she got illegal coaching during the game and told him she would rather lose than cheat. Many think the penalizations from Ramos were unfair because male tennis players that have reacted the same as Williams don’t get the same treatment. She had no problem expressing this to the umpire who in turn penalized her for “verbal abuse”. She asked him to apologize multiple times and continuously said it was unfair that she was being punished for something she didn’t do. Her coach admitted to coaching her during the game but told media reporters that every coach does it at every match and no one else gets penalized for it.

Critics and online media websites labeled her expression of frustration as a “meltdown” and say she is overreacting because she is a woman. However, Serena herself has addressed that she was speaking up for women’s rights and what she strongly believes in. Women are treated differently in not just tennis, but all sports and everyday interactions. Acknowledging that men get let off the hook more frequently for violating the rules is the next step in bringing awareness of gender inequalities. Standing up for yourself, challenging the rules, and expressing emotions are things that should be encouraged for women and young girls.

Gender inequality in sports is a problem on college campuses as well. Female athletic games are not as well attended, aired on television, and they have less data collected than male games. Even though Title IX has required colleges to act accordingly on gender inequality, there is still a drastic difference in numbers of male athletes than women athletes. Collegiate team coaches and athletic directors have also been found to violate rules in keeping everything fair.

What do you think? Did Serena Williams overreact for being penalized during the 2018 US Open? How can you make a difference on campus to promote gender equality in sports?