By: Caroline McCarthy
Most of the population saw the argument between Serena Williams and the umpire at the U.S. Open on the 8th of September. Serena Williams is a world renowned tennis player, the best at her sport, so what events led to such a horrific match for her? What happened was very clearly motivated by gender and racial bias. While many perspectives and sides exist I will dive into what motivated the penalty and $17,000 fine, as well as my personal opinion on this particular part of the match that could have been Serena’s 24th major singles tournament win, which would have tied the record for the most Grand Slam singles tournament wins in history.
The beginning of Serena’s match was going fine. Although she wasn’t ahead she still had a fair chance of winning her match. Williams was then accused, by the umpire, of receiving coaching. This initial call is what caused the match to turn into a catastrophe. One event led to another as the championship match slipped away from Serena’s grasp. She broke her racquet, refused to accept his allegations of cheating through coaching, and called the umpire a thief, rightfully, for taking her points. Serena lost the match 6-2, 6-4 to her 20 year old opponent, whose win will be forever muddled by the events that occurred.
The standard of women in society has always been, and will continue to be, much different and more challenging than men’s. The problem with these standards is that they are constantly changing depending on the situation. They are almost always more beneficial to men. Serena Williams was caught in such a dispute at her latest major tournament, being a woman of color. Serena has probably seen it much worse than her white peers. If you are even an occasional tennis fan, I bet you’ve seen a few racquet smashes on the screen, so how is it that when Serena does it she receives a penalty and $17,000 fine? I can only imagine the frustration, confusion, and disappointment Serena was feeling. The white male umpire’s actions vividly displayed his gender and racial bias.
The fact that such events are still occurring is simply baffling. The blatant disrespect the umpire showed Serena is unacceptable, especially when she has worked her entire life to get where she is. It is still unbelievable the ability and level of skill and movement she has just a year after fighting for her life during labor. Women and African Americans should not still be facing this kind of discrimination, and definitely not in a well respected tournament known across the world. Serena’s treatment at this tournament was completely disrespectful and rude. This day will be remembered for all the wrong reasons in tennis history.