After seeing the Women's Tennis Association and the United States Tennis Association side with Serena Williams in her heated U.S. Open conflict with umpire Carlos Ramos, other umpires are wary of ever working a Williams match again, according to ESPN.
Williams, unhappy with several penalties Ramos issued her during the match (which cost her a point and a game on her third violation), berated Ramos for an extended period of time during the match, demanding he apologize, calling him a thief, and inciting the crowd against him.
“The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA,” retired umpire Richard Ings told ESPN. "They are all fearful that they could be the next Ramos. They feel that no one has their back when they have to make unpopular calls.”
The USTA credited Williams for behaving with class after the match, which she lost. The WTA issued a statement that appeared to side with Williams' accusation of sexism, saying the same standards should be applied to men and women and "We do not believe this was done last night."
Would they really boycott?
Ings said that while refs are upset and legitimately concerned about favoritism toward Williams and against them, an actual boycott isn't likely because of the lack of an umpire union and the relatively small number of top-level officials, of which Ramos is considered one.
"Umpires are just upset," Ings said. "They're thinking 'what if?'"
What was the issue?
Ramos drew Williams' ire for penalizing her because her coach was giving her instructions from the stands, which is a violation. Williams took offense to the referee's accusation that she would cheat.
Williams received her second penalty for smashing her racket in anger after she committed an error during play.
The third violation was also controversial. Williams, who hadn't stopped speaking angrily to Ramos since the coaching penalty, was docked a full game for "verbal abuse."
Williams accused Ramos of sexism, claiming that men get away with much worse behavior than she was penalized for.
(H/T New York Post)