serena williams
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Male Tennis Players Step Up To Defend Serena Williams

On Saturday, Sept. 8, Serena Williams faced off with Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open. Williams got penalized for ‘verbal abuse,’ which she called sexism on.

On Saturday, Sept. 8, Serena Williams faced off with Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open. Williams lost 6-2, with penalties that cost her crucial points.

Here’s a recap: During the final match, Carol Ramos, the game’s umpire, issued three penalties to Williams. The first was for “coaching,” when he saw the 36-year-old’s coach signaling to her on court. The next was given after she smashed her racket, which caused an angry Williams to call Ramos a “thief.” Then came the final code violation for “verbal abuse.”

She addressed the issue of sexism in a post-match press conference. “I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things,” Williams said. “He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief.'”

Related: Serena Williams Opens Up About Almost Dying After Childbirth

According to HelloGiggles, the tennis player continued to say that she hopes what happened during the game helps move the meter for future female athletes.

“I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions and that want to express themselves, and they want to be a strong woman, and they’re going to be able to do that because of today. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.”

Watch the full press conference below.

Male tennis stars Andy Roddick and James Blake came to Williams’ defense on their respective Twitters.

“I’ve regrettably said worse and I’ve never gotten a game penalty,” wrote Roddick.

Blake also owned up to getting away with more on the court:

“I will admit I have said worse and not gotten penalized. And I’ve also been given a ‘soft warning’ by the ump where they tell you knock it off or I will have to give you a violation. He should have at least given her that courtesy. Sad to mar a well played final that way.”

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