When Serena met Carlos...
Updated: Mar 20, 2020
On Saturday 8th September 2018 Serena Williams ultimately accused Chair Umpire Carlos Ramos of being a liar and a thief after being penalized for a coaching violation during the final of the US Open Ladies Singles which she would ultimately lose to 20th seed Naomi Osaka.
The match would be remembered for a series of angry exchanges that occurred between Williams and Ramos which polarized the tennis community and has left it confused to this day.
Having become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam Osaka was left crying tears of sorrow as was Serena and the crowd booed and booed until Serena the most upset of all asked the crowd to stop and applaud Naomi.
I remained baffled by why events unfolded the way they did?
I re-read Serena's words in subsequent articles on the exchanges between her and Umpire Ramos... These were some of them....
"....you owe me an apology, I have never cheated in my life!" Invoking her recent pregnancy, she further remonstrated that "I have a daughter and I stand for what is right for her" and that "you will never do another one of my matches" (Wikipedia)
What struck me as odd about her words were citing (her 1 year old daughter) Olympia's existence "I have a daughter" during a professional tennis match especially one of the magnitude of The US Open Tennis Final!
Serena Williams is the most competitive player in Ladies singles tennis. She is a proud and fierce, black woman and athlete who has fought off all comers alone at the peak of an intensive and often un-level competitive profession for the last twenty years!
She has stood at the pinnacle against all the odds defeating all.
As of September 2017, when she gave birth however, Serena began fighting new wars!
She suffered life threatening complications during birthing, from blood clotting in her lungs after an emergency Caeseran Section which caused her to cough open her C-section wound among other complications; was rushed back into tennis (probably by sponsors and the like); and I imagine she was not of her customary, brilliant acuity when she stepped onto the court to take on Naomi Osaka.
In fact I would argue she was so bewildered, that she could not possibly have been complicit in Ramos' first charge of coaching. Indeed her coach Patrick Muratoglu admitted after the match he did coach her but that Serena... "did not seem aware".
From Chair Umpire Ramos' misunderstanding matters soon escalated resulting in further code violations and angry rebukes by Serena that left her labelling Ramos a liar and thief motivated by sexism!
Its no wonder Serena back on the court at the most demanding level of play within a year of almost dying after birthing Olympia, blew up, and Ramos, shocked by Serena's growing fatigue and frustration, responded so punitively too!
Serenas' physical issues have been mentioned but what of her mental?
As of the Final she wasn't just fighting for herself!
Serena was fighting for Olympia too!
Could she defend her daughter's privacy from the glare of the World's attention in the multiple Grand Slam Arena in which she has made her home whilst she continues to chase Margaret Court's record?
On this occasion she couldn't :-(
Serena is strong and magnificent and proud and confused and vulnerable and anxious too!
And when Serena is Serena the World knows about it!
Returning from trauma physical and mental welcome to Post Natal Depression at the pinnacle of the Ladies game! It's a new dimension, pioneered naturally by Serena who if form suggests will surpass all expectation again!
Here is a new age and watch her set the benchmark, once more, as we are so accustomed to, as a more experienced warrior goes into battle again under the spotlight of a globe that is not quite so quick as her to pick up the gauntlet!