Williams chalked up three code violations – for coaching, racket abuse and calling umpire Carlos Ramos a “thief” – as she was docked a game in a 6-2 6-4 defeat to Naomi Osaka.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion repeatedly confronted the umpire during the second set before calling for the tournament referee during an astonishing outburst.
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"I don't cheat to win!" she said about the coaching violation. "I'd rather lose... I'm just letting you know!
"You owe me an apology. I have NEVER cheated in my life. I have a daughter and I stand for what is right and I have NEVER cheated."
Serena’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou later admitted he was making hand gestures, but insisted it was not uncommon, while King chimed into the debate to highlight double standards in the game.
“Coaching on every point should be allowed in tennis. It isn’t, and as a result, a player was penalized for the actions of her coach. This should not happen,” King said on Twitter.
“When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalised for it. When a man does the same, he’s ‘outspoken’ & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, Serena Williams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”
Amid all the drama, Osaka remained composed as she became Japan’s first winner of a Slam.
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