Serena Williams' coach said he WAS coaching her, as tennis stars comes under fire for US Open final meltdown
The coach also said later that he had only been doing what every other coach in the tournament does and that the reaction by the umpire had been 'extreme'.
Serena Williams' coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, has said that he did coach the tennis superstar during her US Open final match with 20-year-old Naomi Osaka but also mentioned that he believes she did not see him coaching which is why she had her outburst at the umpire during the match. Williams has caused quite a stir after she had a heated argument with umpire Carlos Ramos for giving her a coaching violation in the second set of the match. The tennis star was subsequently docked a point after she smashed her racket and then proceeded to tell the umpire that she would rather lose a match than cheat. Mouratoglou said after the game: "I'm honest, I was coaching. I don't think she looked at me, so that's why she didn't even think I was."
The coach then claimed that Sascha Bajin, Naomi Osaka's coach, had also been "coaching every point too". He told ESPN in an interview: "I was, like 100 percent of the coaches in 100 percent of the matches, so we have to stop this hypocritical thing. Sascha was coaching every point too. It's strange that this chair umpire was the chair umpire of most of the finals of Rafa [Nadal] and [his uncle] Toni's coaching every single point and he never gave a warning so I don't really get it."
Williams said later that she was baffled to hear that her coach had admitted that he had been coaching. She said: "We have never discussed signals. I don't even call for on-court coaching. I'm trying to figure out why he would say that. I don't understand. I mean, maybe he said 'You can do it'. I was on the far other end, so I'm not sure. I want to clarify myself what he's talking about."
Mouratoglou had also said later that he had only been doing what every other coach in the tournament does and that the reaction by the umpire had been "extreme". He said: "Everybody does it- you all know it. There is the rule and there's a psychology the chair umpire is supposed to have. He would say he saw you coach, do a movement and give a warning. What he did was so extreme. It's a shame. There's a rule, yes. But you don't screw a Grand Slam final and make it the drama the way it was. It could have easily been avoided if there was psychology."
The coach also said that Williams had felt like she had been "insulted" by Ramos. He said: "[He] treated her like a cheater. She felt completely humiliated. That's why she reacted like that. Integrity is the most important thing to her." Williams will be fined $17,000 for her argument with Ramos that happened on September 8.
According to TMZ, Williams had been docked for three separate violation - $4,000 for a coaching violation, $3,000 for smashing her racket, and $10,000 for the "verbal abuse" toward Ramos. The fines will be taken out of Williams' $1.85 million winnings from the tournament.
The tennis star has claimed that she was the victim of blatant sexism after Ramos docked one point from her total score for the gesture that was made by Mouratoglou and accused the umpire of being a "thief". She told him on the court: "I never got coaching. I explained that to you and for you to attack my character then something is wrong. You're attacking my character. Yes you are. You owe me an apology."
She continued: "You will never, ever, ever be on another court of mine as long as you live. You are the liar. When are you going to give me my apology? You owe me an apology. Say it, say you're sorry. Then don't talk to me, don't talk to me. How dare you insinuate I was cheating? You stole a point from me. You're a thief too." Ramos then gave her a third violation which then resulted in Osaka getting 5-3 ahead.
Williams was in tears when she was arguing her case with tournament officials but Osaka ended up claiming the victory with a 6-2, 6-4 win over the tennis star. When she was asked if she would have handled the situation differently if she had a chance, an amotional Williams said: "I can't sit here and say I wouldn't say he's a thief, because I thought he took a game from me."
"But I've seen other men call other umpires several things. I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality. For me to say "thief" and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He's never taken a game from a man because they said "thief". It blows my mind. 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 wants to express themselves, and wants to be a strong woman. They're going to be allowed 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."
Legendary tennis player, Billie Jean King, the woman who won 12 Grand Slam singles titles that includes four US Opens, was among those who were in support of Williams as the argument escalated.
(1/2) Several things went very wrong during the @usopen Women’s Finals today. 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.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 9, 2018
(2/2) When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 9, 2018
Williams and Osaka were both very emotional during the awards ceremony with the crowd filling up the stadium with boos. Williams said that she felt bad after seeing the reaction of the crowd to Osaka's moment in the spotlight. She said after the match: "I'm crying and she's crying and I'm not sure if those are happy tears. I was thinking this definitely wasn't how I felt when I won my first grand slam."
She even took the microphone at one point and asked the crowd to stop booing. She said: "I know you guys were here rooting and I was rooting too but let's make this the best moment we can. Let's give everyone the credit where credit's due, let's not boo anymore. Congratulations Naomi, no more booing!" Osaka also apologized to the furious fans and told them that she was "sorry it had to end like this".
She said: "I know everyone was cheering for her. It was always my dream to play Serena in the US Open finals so I'm really glad I was able to do that. And I'm really grateful I was able to play with you, so thank you."
The WTA has said that it will look into the incident between Williams and Ramos but the USTA made it clear that his decision to give Williams the code violations is final and that his actions will not come under review.