Sue Barker has called for there to be a “look at the rules” following an extraordinary US Open final that saw Naomi Osaka’s win overshadowed by an angry confrontation between Serena Williams and the umpire.
Greats of the game, current and former players and officials have been reacting to the final, with Carlos Ramos’s decision-making – which saw Williams docked a point and then a game over a row sparked by a warning for coaching – being met with support and criticism.
Meanwhile, there has been further debate over Williams’s charge that she had been a victim of sexism from the chair.
Former French Open champion Barker told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme: “Serena is saying the male players can say what they like to an umpire. Also, earlier in the tournament we saw Alize Cornet being given a code violation for changing her shirt on court. Then, in the same tournament, Mohamed Lahyani gets off the umpires’ chair to talk to Nick Kyrgios and persuade him not to give up on a match.
“So I think they have to look at the rules of what is allowed and what isn’t, because I just think he was following the rules absolutely by the book, but sometimes the book has to be re-written – you can’t have one rule for some players, and some umpires don’t adhere to it and allow players to get away with things.
“I think they just have to be fair to the players. Tennis was the loser.”
Former US Open champion Andy Roddick tweeted that it was the “worst refereeing I’ve ever seen ......the worst !!!”
Williams was furious when she was given a violation over coaching early in the second set after a hand gesture from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou, telling Ramos she would rather lose than cheat. Former US Open quarter finalist Mardy Fish later came out in defence of Williams, tweeting: “She wasn’t even looking. Believe what you want.”
Williams was then docked a point for smashing her racket. She accused Ramos of being a “thief” for taking a point away from her and he gave her a third violation, docking a game.
Ex-player Billie Jean King said that Williams had called out a “double standard”. She tweeted: “When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” & and there are no repercussions.”
In a statement, the US Open said the chair umpire’s decision was final.