Wed | May 22, 2019

Williams fined for US Open rule violations

Published:Monday | September 10, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Serena Williams argues with the chair umpire during a match against Naomi Osaka during the women’s finals of the US Open tennis tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, on Saturday.


Serena Williams was fined a total of US$17,000 (J$2.3 million) for three code violations during her loss to Naomi Osaka in the US Open final on Saturday.

Yesterday, the tournament referee's office docked Williams US$10,000 (J$1.3 million) for "verbal abuse" of chair umpire Carlos Ramos, US$4,000 (just under J$550,000) for being warned for coaching ("Communications of any kind, audible or visible, between a player and a coach"), and US$3,000 (J$410,000) for breaking her racket.

The money comes out of her prize money of US$1.85 million (around J$253 million) as the runner-up to Osaka, whose 6-2, 6-4 victory made her the first tennis player from Japan to win a Grand Slam singles title.

In the second set's second game, Ramos warned Williams for getting coaching, which is against the rules in Grand Slam matches. She briefly disputed that ruling, saying cheating "is the one thing I've never done, ever" - although afterwards, her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, acknowledged he was trying to send Williams a signal.

A few games later, Williams received another warning, this time for smashing her racket, and that second violation automatically cost her a point, leading to more arguing. Eventually, Williams called Ramos "a thief, drawing the third violation for "verbal abuse" - and costing her a game, putting Osaka ahead 5-3.

"I have never cheated in my life!" Williams told Ramos. "You owe me an apology."

Under Article III, Section P of the Grand Slam Rule Book, "verbal abuse" is defined as "a statement about an official, opponent, sponsor, spectator or other person that implies dishonesty or is derogatory, insulting or otherwise abusive". The section says a player is subject to a fine up to US$20,000 (J$2.7 million) for each violation.

There are separate categories for coaching and for abuse of rackets or equipment.