Tennis' ruling body backs Carlos Ramos after Serena Williams bust-up at US Open
The International Tennis Federation has issued a statement supporting Carlos Ramos' decising-making in the US Open final saying that the umpire "acted at all times with professionalism and integrity".
In stark contrast to the support given to Serena Williams by the Women's Tennis Association, the sport's governing body has issued a strong statement supporting Ramos following accusations of sexism aimed at the match official.
Williams lost 6-2 6-4 to Naomi Osaka in a highly-charged match on Saturday in New York that saw the American repeatedly confront Ramos.
The umpire initially handed Williams a coaching violation before docking her a point, and after the 36-year-old labelled Ramos a “thief”, he docked her a game in a dramatic second set.
"For me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark," Williams, who was subsequently fined $17,000, said after the match.
"He's never taken a game from a man because they said 'thief'. For me it blows my mind. But I'm going to continue to fight for women and to fight for us to have equal -- like Cornet should be able to take off her shirt without getting a fine. This is outrageous."
But the ITF have rejected Williams' claims insisting Ramos was only following the Grand Slam rule book.
"Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis," said the ITF. "Mr. Ramos’ decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were re-affirmed by the US Open’s decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offences.”
"It is understandable that this high profile and regrettable incident should provoke debate. At the same time, it is important to remember that Mr. Ramos undertook his duties as an official according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity."
WTA chief executive Steve Simon had earlier supported Williams’ claims, stating a different standard of tolerance was on display:
"The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women. We do not believe that this was done last night."
The controversial final also brought to light the debate surrounding on-court coaching.
Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted after the match he was coaching from the stands, but also insisted “everyone is doing it 100 per cent of the time”.
On-court coaching is allowed on the WTA Tour, but not at Grand Slams, and Simon believes a further review on this matter is required.
He added: “We also think the issue of coaching needs to be addressed and should be allowed across the sport.
“The WTA supports coaching through its on-court coaching rule, but further review is needed.”
Williams' behaviour in the final has divided the fraternity.
Tennis great Billie Jean King backed the American but Margaret Court, whose major wins record Williams was trying to equal on Saturday, expressed little sympathy for the 36-year-old.
Australian Richard Ings, the former top international umpire and head of rules for the ATP, backed Ramos to the hilt and told the BBC how he felt.
"He handled that match absolutely perfectly," he said. "He saw violations and he had the courage of his convictions to call them when he saw them. I support him 110 per cent. It was one of the best officiating jobs that I've seen in years."
Remarkably, Ramos was reportedly paid just $450 for officiating the final.