Serena Williams lost the U.S. Open women’s final to Naomi Osaka on Saturday, after arguing with the umpire, who accused her of getting illegal coaching from her player box and gave her a violation.
"I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose," the 23-time Grand Slam champ, 36, told the Chair Umpire, explaining that she’d gotten a thumbs up and that was not coaching. She subsequently smashed her racket and was given a code violation warning that led to a point penalty.
She told the umpire, "I didn’t get coaching. You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life. I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her. I have never cheated. You owe me an apology."
Still frustrated, she said, "Say you’re sorry. How dare you insinuate that I was cheating? You stole a point from me. You’re a thief too."
She was given a game penalty and demanded that the tournament umpire be brought onto the court, where she continued her complaint.
Shortly afterward Williams lost the match 2-6, 4-6, and while the players embraced, Williams refused to shake Ramos’ hand. Boos could be heard echoing across the court and Osaka, 20, was in tears as the winner’s presentation began and Williams put her arm around her.
- In her runners-up speech, Williams’ voice broke as she said, "I don’t want to do questions. She played well, this is her first Grand Slam. I know you guys were rooting, but let’s make this a great moment. Let’s not boo. Let’s be positive. Congratulations, Naomi. No more booing. Thank you to my team, you guys are amazing. Thank you to the crowd, you guys really are the best in the world. I really hope to play here again. It’s been tough here for me. but thank you so much."
Williams will be fined $17,000 for 3 separate code violations during the tennis tournament's final.
-$4,000 for a coaching violation.
-$3,000 for smashing her racquet.
-$10,000 for verbal abuse towards the umpire.