This is an open letter to the undisputed greatest female tennis player this planet has ever seen…
You were wrong. Plain and simple.
You may not have considered a hand gesture to be coaching, but the person in charge of policing the match thought differently, and while I don’t believe it to be the case in this specific instance, sometimes, sports officials mess up…none more so than this poor baseball umpire:
(Surprised they kept playing…anyway, let’s get to your situation, shall we?)
Carlos Ramos is a decorated chair umpire, having presided over some of the game’s most iconic and high-profile matches, including the London 2012 Olympic finals between Andy Murray and Roger Federer. Ramos knows his sh*t. Can he be a stickler? I’ve heard as much. As a player, know that going into the match and act accordingly. This is true for any sport — officials, like players, have tendencies. Ramos is no exception, but I’m confident one of his calling cards isn’t sexism, something you inexplicably suggested. Were you playing a man on Saturday?
Furthermore, your coach, after the match, admitted to making a coaching gesture, though he claims you did not see it. Unlucky. Cause Carlos did…can’t sneak anything by that guy!
Strike one. A warning. No points or games taken. Life goes on.
Three games later you were at it again, blowing a gasket and shattering your racquet as part of a post-game meltdown brought on by your opponent’s stellar play. Still hot over the coaching warning? Impossible. With your experience, you should be able to easily rise above that, no? Postpartum hormones perhaps? #NotADoctor
Strike two. This one resulting in a one-point penalty.
A small hole dug, but certainly not insurmountable for the great Serena Williams! You said it yourself, you almost died during childbirth but you, as you’ve done your entire career, fought with every fiber of your being so you could not only live to raise your daughter but get back to playing tennis and prove to everyone that mothers are capable of extraordinary things (which they unquestionably are by the way. No argument here).
Still, a one-point headstart for an unheralded 20-year old, playing against the undisputed G.O.A.T. in the finals of the US Open? Actually seems kinda fair if I’m being honest.
However, your tongue lashing exhibition, oddly admirable cause of the energy it must’ve taken out of you, resulted in a third violation being served your way — the decision stemming from words such as “liar” and “thief” being tossed around as if they were free t-shirts or tennis balls.
Strike three. A one-game penalty assessed.
Ramos had heard enough. And again, the penalty amounts to a single game. Not saying it wasn’t a big deal but other sports see players and coaches tossed entirely from the action if they go over the line so to speak. Imagine in tennis, after three “strikes”, the match was simply given to your opponent? Some might say you tennis brats have it easy…
I’m curious as to how you would’ve reacted to being called those names, Serena? Not well is my guess, but anyways…
…and let’s not forget, your sportsmanship resumé is far from clean. Sure, you’ve never intentionally cheated, or been caught taking banned substances, but there have been plenty of instances where your on-court actions fell far below a championship standard.
Classy — granted that gave Clijsters the match. It was a big point…all the more reason to watch your toes, no? Tired of foot faults? Call John Isner.
(If you listen closely, at the end you make it clear to the chair ump that you “truly despise her”…tell her how you really feel why don’t ya?)
You claim to be fighting for equal rights, standing up for women who are continually treated unfairly and, in a tennis context, subject to different rules than their male counterparts. Yet, you’ve suffered numerous blips yourself that paint you as an entitled brat.
All this to say, as you continue your crusade, fighting the establishment of a game that’s given you more than any other women in history — make no mistake, it’s benefited greatly from your presence as well — please understand that you yourself have authored your fair share of tennis transgressions.
You, Serena Williams, have no equal in your chosen sport. That said, you remain, at your core, a tennis player. A player bound by the same rules as everybody else on tour and you’ve navigated those rules better than anyone, past or present. If anything, a champion should be held to a higher standard than other players…not given more freedom to practice classlessness.
You lost to a younger, hungrier, and, on this day, better tennis player. And looked mighty bad doing it. Maybe Carlos Ramos could’ve done better. The same goes for you, Queen Serena.
When your daughter is old enough to appreciate everything her mother has done for tennis, make sure to show her footage from this defeat — it will serve as reminder that while mommy was often the epitome of grace and class on court, she also, at times, was downright nasty.
A disappointed tennis fan
PS — I’m all for your right to wear the catsuit. That we can both agree on. Keep trolling with the tutu…