Serena Williams’ quest to tie Margaret Court’s record for most grand slam championships will have to wait until 2019 after she was defeated 6-2, 6-4 by Naoma Osaka in the Women’s Final at the U.S. Open Saturday afternoon.
Early in the second set, as Serena began to rally in the match, her coach was seen giving her a gesture that the chair umpire interpreted as coaching. The Umpire gave a warning to Serena’s “Box” (where her coach sits).
Serena approached the chair umpire and demanded that he apologize. “I wouldn’t cheat to win. I would rather lose”, Serena told the chair umpire.
Moments later, after losing a game to Osaka, Serena Williams smashed and destroyed her tennis racket. The chair umpire penalize her a point, making the score 15-0 to begin the seventh game of the second set. Osaka led 4-2 at that point.
Serena, who was visibly confused by the announced score, approached the chair umpire and again disputed the veracity of the previous coaching penalty. The umpire stood by his call. At that point, Serana appeared enraged. She broke Osaka to pull to within a game in the second set, 4-3.
During a changeover, Serena lambasted the umpire again accusing him of attacking her character. Serena called the umpire a thief to his face for stealing a point from her. The chair umpire responded by awarding a the entire game to Osaka, delivering to Osaka a commanding 5-3 lead in the second set.
“Say it, say you’re sorry. You stole a point from me. You’re a thief too,” Williams said to the chair umpire. Serena then demanded that USTA officials come out to chair and further dispute the umpire’s officiating.
Williams told officials that other players, particularly men, are not penalized for saying far worse things to umpires and line judges.
Following a meeting of the minds with officials, the chair umpire’s decision stood. Williams rallied to win the next game but Naomi Osaka was able to hold on her own serve and win the U.S. Open Championship.
Williams told one official that as a woman she is not afforded the leniency of the male players when it comes to disputing officials.
Osaka is the first player, male or female, of Japanese descent to ever win a Grand Slam Major.