Umpires Threaten to Revolt Against Serena Williams

Serena Williams
Serena Williams

There is an uneasy feeling amid tennis umpires after the WTA and USTA took Serena Williams’ side. This was in the aftermath of her on-court feud with Carlos Ramos during Saturday’s US Open final. The Times of London reported that some umpires are considering boycotting Williams’ matches. This is likely because they do not want to end up like him.

Ramos, 47, was “thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it,” one anonymous umpire told the English paper.

Ramos called three violations on Williams: once for coaching, once for racket abuse and once for verbal abuse after she called him a “thief” and a “liar” during the second set of her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka. Williams was fined a total of $17,000 for the violations. The action was so intense that one would have better luck on a video slot instead of this match.

USTA president Katrina Adams celebrated Williams’ class in the post-match presentation, and the WTA seemingly backed her claim that the penalties were sexist in a statement. The ITF sided with Ramos — two days later — calling him “one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis.”

Serena Williams
Serena Williams

“The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA,” Richard Ings, a retired top-level umpire, told

“They are all fearful that they could be the next Ramos. They feel that no one has their back when they have to make unpopular calls.”

The Flushing Meadows crowd booed during Ramos’ exchanges with Williams and then again during the post-match presentation, spoiling the moment for the champion Osaka.

Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted to coaching Williams during the match. The decision to take a full game away from the 23-time grand slam champion after her “thief” comment is rare.

Umpire Carlos Ramos


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