Great Britain Davis Cup star Jamie Murray has rejected claims that male tennis players receive preferential treatment from umpires following Serena Williams’ insinuation that sexism played a role in the code violations she received during the US Open final.
Williams was given three code violations by Portuguese official Carlos Ramos in her straight-set loss to Naomi Osaka of Japan on Saturday, with the American and critics arguing she wasn’t treated the same as some male players.
Williams got a warning for violating a rarely enforced rule against receiving coaching from the sidelines. A short time later, she smashed her racket in frustration and was docked a point. She protested, calling Ramos a “thief” and a “liar” and demanded an apology from the umpire, who penalised her a game. Williams claimed Ramos’ actions in New York were “sexist” but speaking to BBC Sport yesterday, US Open mixed-doubles champion Murray said: “I think that’s a bit far-fetched.
“I think the umpire, he did what was within his rights.
“Coaching is common, a lot of people are doing it, some people aren’t getting called for it.
“To get called in a Grand Slam final was perhaps a bit tight, but I think the reaction was pretty overboard. I’ve seen a lot of people get called for coaching before, and you might have a grumble and stuff, but you get on with it.”
Ramos is back in the umpire’s chair this weekend when Croatia host the United States in a Davis Cup tie in Zadar and US captain Jim Courier said of the Williams incident: “It’s been polarized and in some ways politicized. But we have no doubt that Carlos was just enforcing the rules as he sees them.”
US player Steve Johnson added: “Look, I don’t want this to come out the wrong way, but he enforced rules that have been enforced on me over the years. I’ve never been called for coaching, but the racket abuse, the verbal abuse, that’s just part of the sport. I think a lot of it maybe got over-amplified because it was the finals of the US Open.”
Courier insisted there was nothing to discuss with his team over Ramos.
“We’re here to play; Carlos is here to umpire; and we don’t expect anything out of the ordinary,” Courier said.