RICKY’S THOUGHTS ON THE OSAKA VS. SERENA U.S. OPEN LADIES SINGLES FINAL

Written by: on 12th September 2018
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USA TENNIS US OPEN 2018
RICKY'S THOUGHTS ON THE OSAKA VS. SERENA U.S. OPEN LADIES SINGLES FINAL

epa07007159 Naomi Osaka of Japan (L) and Serena Williams of the US (R) during the trophy ceremony after the women's final on the thirteenth day of the US Open Tennis Championships the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 08 September 2018. The US Open runs from 27 August through 09 September. EPA-EFE/DANIEL MURPHY  |
Naomi Osaka of Japan (L) and Serena Williams of the US (R) during the trophy ceremony after the women’s final on the thirteenth day of the US Open Tennis Championships the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 08 September 2018. The US Open runs from 27 August through 09 September.  EPA-EFE/DANIEL MURPHY

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Ricky’s thoughts on the Serena incident(s):

 

- the only call by chair umpire Carlos Ramos that was remotely questionable was the first coaching violation. Serena’s coach afterward admitted on air that he was coaching, so you cannot really fault Ramos. Granted, that violation is VERY rarely called so Serena had a right to be upset. On this particular call, both sides are easily arguable.

 

- there is no discussion about the second code violation (point penalty). Serena destroyed a racket. Automatic code violation for any player in any situation. Whether or not that rule is too harsh is up for debate (I’ve always enjoyed watching players destroy rackets, myself), but the rule is the rule.

 

- the third violation (game penalty) had to be given. Serena straight up called Ramos a “thief” to his face. Without question a code violation for verbal abuse. Yes, more lenient umpires would let that slide at 4-3 in a major final. Still, Serena deserved it. Ramos could have actually called this third violation many minutes beforehand, as Serena had been carrying on and on in a threatening manner long before the “thief” comment. “Thief” was the last straw, and deservedly so.

 

- back to the first violation: although it was harsh, you have to be smarter when you have already incurred one violation. You can’t destroy a racket when you know the next violation is a point penalty instead of just a warning and you can’t verbally abuse an umpire for five minutes when you know the next violation is a game penalty and not just a point penalty.

 

- Serena began her own demise by grossly misinterpreting the first violation for coaching. She told Ramos that he was attacking her character and calling her a cheater. Um, no. It had nothing to do with her. Ramos’ call was that her coach was making motions for her to go the net. The penalty was on the coach, but obviously the player incurs the penalty since you can’t really penalize a coach aside from kicking him out of the stands (which would be absurd). This had nothing to do with Serena’s character.

 

- Serena’s argument after the point penalty for racket abuse that she should not get the penalty because “I’m a woman” and “I have a daughter” is just so ridiculous it’s not even worth discussing.

 

- Serena’s argument following the game penalty for verbal abuse that she was being treated differently from men is certainly far more in bounds than the previous “I’m a woman” and “I have a daughter” argument. Men definitely get away with all kinds of obscenities in the directions of chair umpires. That being said, we would have to dig into the archives and see how this particular chair umpire (Ramos) has dealt with being directly abused verbally, complete with finger-wagging and being called a “thief” by a male player in order to know if there is a double-standard to his umpiring.

 

- Serena handled one thing and one thing only well: the post-match trophy ceremony. She got the fans to stop booing and made sure Osaka got the credit she deserved.

 

- Osaka getting credit now brings us to the bottom line of the whole thing: THIS INCIDENT LIKELY—ALMOST WITH 100 PERCENT CERTAINTY—HAD NO IMPACT WHATSOEVER ON THE OUTCOME OF THE MATCH. Osaka was the better player from start to finish in this match and it really isn’t even close. She dominated the whole way; played far better tennis and certainly handled the occasion far better mentally. There is absolutely no reason to think Serena would have broken Osaka’s serve at 4-3 (when Serena got the game penalty). Osaka had held serve the entire match and she held serve EASILY at 5-4 when she served for the championship. Holding at 5-4—especially after all the drama and delays that Serena had just caused—is WAY more difficult than holding at 4-3. So there is absolutely no reason to think Osaka wouldn’t have held WITH EASE at 4-3. It’s not complicated: the better played won the match, and the best player (BY FAR) the entire two weeks won the tournament.

 

- Don’t feel sorry for Osaka. Yes, it would have been more ideal if Serena had not (once again, just as she did when Clijsters won the U.S. Open in 2009) made this all about her, but it’s still an amazing moment for Osaka. She just won the U.S. Open, beat her idol in the final, earned 3.8 million, and clinched earning hundreds of millions of endorsements in Japan the rest of her career. I think she’ll be okay!!!!!

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

 

Naomi Osaka of Japan holds up the championship trophy after defeating Serena Williams of the US in the women’s final on the thirteenth day of the US Open Tennis Championships the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 08 September 2018. The US Open runs from 27 August through 09 September.  EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO

 

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