When tennis star Serena Williams called out sexism in her sport during her loss at the U.S. Open earlier this month, she received a lot of support from the public and other players.
But at least two tennis stars have since given Williams a strong rebuke for her behavior.
What were the comments?
Women's Tennis Association Tour star Barbora Strycova said Williams’ meltdown about sexism was “bulls****.”
“This is a bulls***, for umpires being women or men doesn’t matter,” Strycova reportedly said.
Strycova, ranked 25th in the world by the WTA, said she believes the tantrum resulted from Williams’ realization that the match was slipping away.
“I find it interesting that she did it only when she was losing,” Strycova said.
“Ramos is tough, one of the best umpires in the world," she explained. “He did what he had to do in that match, because she overstepped the limit.”
“Did she have to behave differently only because she was Serena Williams? I find it interesting that she did it only when she was losing," she said.
During and after the match, Williams said sexism was part of reason she received three code violations that led to significant penalties. She called chair umpire Carlos Ramos a “thief" and a “liar” for enforcing the penalties.
Her outburst stole headlines from the grand slam win by her opponent, Naomi Osaka. Williams antics have remained a controversy since then, sparking many debates on all sides of the issue.
Strycova also hinted that she found it strange for the WTA Tour and US Tennis Association to release statements in support of Williams.
“The WTA defense surprised me. Will rules change in Serena’s matches? If it’s like this, let me know," she said.
The International Tennis Federation released a statement in support of Ramos.
“Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis. Mr. Ramos’ decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were reaffirmed by the U.S. Open’s decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offences,” the ITF said in a statement.
“It is understandable that this high profile and regrettable incident should provoke debate," it continued. “At the same time, it is important to remember that Mr. Ramos undertook his duties as an official according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity.”
Williams was fined $17,000 for her tirade with the umpire. Her runner-up prize money totaled about $1.85 million, according to reports.
Who else weighed in?
Martina Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, also criticized Williams.
In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Navratilova, 61, wrote: “We cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with. In fact, this is the sort of behavior that no one should be engaging in on the court.”
Williams maintained that a male player would not have been punished as severely for what she said.
“Serena Williams has part of it right. There is a huge double standard for women when it comes to how bad behavior is punished — and not just in tennis,” Navratilova wrote.
“But in her protests...she also got part of it wrong. I don’t believe it’s a good idea to apply a standard of, 'If men can get away with it, women should be able to, too.' Rather, I think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honor our sport and to respect our opponents?” she said.