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We owe Williams an apology

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We owe Williams an apology

Raven Adcox, [email protected]

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We owe Serena Williams an apology. At the 2018 US Open, Williams played 20-year-old Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka in the Women’s Singles final. Both players put up a good fight, but Osaka had the upper hand and beat Williams 6-2, 6-4. Osaka deserves every bit of her well-earned victory, but Williams’ statement to chair umpire Carlos Ramos still stands, “You owe me an apology.”

Osaka made history by becoming the first Japanese tennis player to win a Grand Slam. This fact should have been met with cheers and a standing ovation. Instead, Osaka had to stand up on the podium as the crowd shouted their frustrations over Williams’ code violations. Williams didn’t ask for a dramatic match or to be shamed for standing up for herself.

During the second match of the final, Ramos gave Williams a warning for coaching. Ramos said that he saw her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, making a hand gesture that was “clearly coaching.” Mouratoglou said that most coaches make gestures from the stands, and brought up how men are oftentimes treated differently on the court. 

If the rule for coaching hadn’t been in place, the match may not have ended like it did.  Ramos would have given Williams a penalty for breaking her racket, but the match could have continued. However, this initial violation and the two that followed brought Williams’ chance of winning to a standstill. Williams must have been frustrated with how the match turned out, but who cares? She wasn’t hurting anyone. She wasn’t cheating. She was doing her best, trying to win.

Osaka is a master at her craft and will only get better with future tournaments. She beat her opponent with skill and accepted the trophy with grace. Williams was made to look like a sore loser by much of the media, but that is just not the case. It isn’t fair to hold Williams to certain standards that aren’t enforced across the board. The media instantly painted Williams as the bad guy for taking away Osaka’s moment, and yet, Williams had no idea this mess would ensue. Williams was fined $17,000 after the match, with $10,000 being the direct result of calling Ramos a “thief.” 

Controversy follows Williams everywhere. She doesn’t deserve much of the criticism she gets, because, in reality, the only controversial thing Serena Williams has ever done is be an unapologetically great tennis player.

The public and media have reduced this great athlete to a headline.  Williams respects the game of tennis and the places she competes at.  We just haven’t given her the same respect back, and she’s tired of the double-standard. We have failed Serena Williams. We have failed Naomi Osaka, as well. We put too much pressure on tennis players to be perfect.

I believe Williams has earned her place amongst the greatest. I mean, 23 Grand Slam titles isn’t bad. And, I do think we owe her an apology. The woman who beat the great Serena Williams is the talented Naomi Osaka. Both will go on to play more matches and continue being unapologetically great at tennis.

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The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe
We owe Williams an apology