Former world number one Billie Jean King has softened her initial stance on the controversy over Serena Williams, who was "totally out of line" when she vehemently disputed calls by chair umpire Carlos Ramos during Saturday's U.S. Open final.
The WTA also issued a statement from CEO Steve Simon calling for "no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men versus women" and noting, "We do not believe this was done [in the final]".
"I think that is a bigger issue than what actually happened on Saturday night in that US Open final".
Following the match Williams cited sexism as the reason for her punishment, claiming that she had been treated more harshly than a man would have been. "They are badgering the chair umpires on the changeover".
"I don't understand from where he's coming with that statement", said Djokovic, suggesting this was the first he has heard of umpires failing to treat men and women equally.
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It started when chair umpire Carlos Ramos warned Williams for receiving coaching, and eventually ended up with accusations of sexism in the aftermath.
For U.S. tennis officials, the answer is a tale of missed opportunities and unrecognized potential.
On Tuesday, King said Ramos could have prevented the affair had he communicated better and given Williams a "soft warning" instead of a code violation when he saw her coach Patrick Mouratoglou giving signals during the match. The 18-time Grand Slam victor said that "we can not measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with", adding, "In fact, this is the sort of behaviour that no one should be engaging in on the court". "The WTA supports coaching through its on-court coaching rule, but further review is needed".
The 23-time Grand Slam singles victor, one away from tying Margaret Court's record for women or men, claimed that Ramos would not have treated a male player in such a harsh manner. There has to be a clear rule to it. The beginning of the tournament saw organisers struggle to contend with a heat-wave in NY that resulted in the implementation of a heat policy - the first time ever it was applied in men's matches. That is the problem. According to him, treatment towards players varies according to the situation and a blanket generalization is hard.
Williams' heated exchanges with an umpire at the tournament final this week have stirred the tennis world. He did change the course of the match. You're a grand slam champion for the first time.