Rafael Nadal wasn’t on Serena’s side.
Rafael Nadal wasn’t on Serena’s side.

Aussies slam Serena’s US Open outburst

DISGRACEFUL, disappointing, unbelievable - these are just some of the words Australian media has used to describe Serena Williams' incredible US Open final breakdown.

A set down to 20-year-old Japanese player Naomi Osaka, Williams exploded at the umpire when she was given a code violation for receiving instruction from her coach.

She responded by yelling "You owe me an apology. I've never cheated in my life. I have a daughter and stand for what's right for her."

In the press conference following the match, Williams doubled down on the comments.

"I've seen other men call other umpires several things. I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality," she said.

"For me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was sexist.

"He's never taken a game from a man because they said 'thief'. For me it blows my mind."

 

The outburst was a hot topic for commentators today as several savaged Williams' comments and conduct.

On ABC's Offsiders, Fairfax's Caroline Wilson took umbrage with Williams' argument the outburst was fighting for women's rights.

"She is doing a terrible disservice to women's rights, to the #metoo movement, to gender equality," Wilson said.

"To say she's fighting for women's rights, when what she is is a bad sport. She's not fighting for women's rights, that is a joke and that's an insult to people who do fight for women's rights and go through terrible bloodshed and heartbreak."

Wilson continued and pointed to Williams' history of bad behaviour.

"I know we take sport incredibly seriously these days but how seriously does Serena Williams take herself sometimes," Wilson said.

"I mean that is just disgraceful. The comment about having a daughter, women around the world would have cringed at that and will have a look at what she had to say afterwards.

"This is a woman who in 2009 threatened to shove a ball down an umpire's f-ing throat and was only fined $10,000 by her sport. This is a woman who, again, verbally threatened a linesman in 2014. People have not stood up to Serena Williams."

 

The Australian's Peter Lalor agreed the outburst was hard to watch.

"It was her McEnroe moment," he said on Offsiders. "It's very disappointing to see a champion like that let themselves down. Nobody owes you an apology, you owe a lot of people an apology and when you calm down, I hope you realise that.

"It just felt uncomfortable because she really snapped, she really lost it. I felt sorry for her to some degree but she doubled down later and she really does owe her opponent an apology. It was poor form."

On Channel 9's Sports Sunday Richard Freedman had a pair of issues with Williams' justifications.

"The whole bringing in the motherhood thing, 'I've got a daughter I don't want her to think I was cheating', what about blowing up in front of a stand full of people and international television audience and going on like a two bob watch, is that what you want your daughter to see," he said.

"And I cannot get over the crowds cheering that sort of behaviour - what sort of morons are sitting in those stands? - and then booing the poor girl who stood at the other end, first grand slam, totally intimidated and then booing her. That's just unbelievable."

 

Osaka's win was a slice of history as she is the first Japanese person to win a grand slam event and is still undefeated in 2018.

But the incredible achievement has been overshadowed by her far more fancied rival.

Osaka even apologised for winning the match, saying "I know everyone was cheering for her, I'm sorry it had to end like this".

Williams comforted the young champion and implored the crowd to stop booing.

On Fox Sports' Bill & Boz, Bill Woods said there was more complexity to the issues Williams raised.

"It ain't as simple as sexism or even racism. And it's not as simple as brat player goes off," he said.

"There has been a history - Serena has been a champion against sexism and racism, which does exist. But is this clearly and definitively an example of any of those things? That's hard to say."

Former Wallaby Phil Waugh added "the disappointing thing is that we're talking about Serena Williams and not Osaka, who won the grand slam."

The Sunday Project also interviewed former Australian tennis star Casey Dellacqua to give an idea of what happens on the tour.

Although Dellacqua said she wouldn't go as far as calling Williams a sore loser, she said she didn't believe she was the victim either.

"As Australians, I guess, when we see people throw tantrums for have a meltdown, we always think they've gone too far which maybe in this case has, but at the end of the day I can also empathise with her because I've seen it plenty of times on tour where players have been coached and they haven't been penalised and in a grand slam final, it is a tough one with all the emotions go on as well," she said.

"It happens all the time and happens probably in 80 per cent of matches to be honest. You will see coaches on the side lines, whether it's hand signals or verbal signals or throwing in comments, it happens all the time on tour.

"This is where it becomes a problem where you have some umpires enforcing the rule and some umpires that I guess let this rule slide which then, I guess, as we sore, some - saw, some players feeling like they've been treated unfairly."

Read more: World reacts to Serena's mess



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