Drawing the ire of many tennis umpires after her confrontation with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Saturday match at the US Open, umpires are now threatening to boycott any future matches by tennis great Serena Williams until she apologizes for what her $17,000 fine describes as verbal abuse.
Williams incurred a warning for allegedly receiving coaching during her match and a point penalty for destroying her racquet before being docked a full game by Ramos after a heated confrontation regarding his officiating.
“The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA,” retired umpire Richard Ings told ESPN. “They are all fearful that they could be the next Ramos. They feel that no one has their back when they have to make unpopular calls.”
While Williams’ accusations of a sexist agenda from Ramos has again sparked a long-standing argument of the issue within sports, umpires have focused their energy towards the issue of a lack of institutional support in tennis. Serious discussions have begun with top officials to form a union to dissolve situations such as this where umpires have been “hung out to dry”.
— ITF (@ITF_Tennis) September 10, 2018
“I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. And for me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark.” said Williams after her match. “He’s never took a game from a man because they said ‘thief.’ For me it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us to have equal [rights].”
Telling USA Today he was “sure of his performance” Ramos also expressed to Tribuna Expresso ““I’m fine, given the circumstances. It’s a delicate situation, but ‘a la carte’ arbitration does not exist. Do not worry about me!”.
While the boycott of Williams’ matches is still under consideration, many officials who are not allowed to speak on individual matches believe they are taken for granted, and universally agree changes need to be made.