As the now famous umpire Carlos Ramos prepared for his first match since the controversial US Open final, a new set of figures showed that men have received almost three times as many code violations as women in the past 20 years of grand-slam events.
Ramos was due to officiate on Friday in the Davis Cup match between Croatia and the United States in Zadar. On Thursday, a photo circulated of him in conversation with Katrina Adams, president of the US Tennis Association, who had been quick to support Serena Williams’s claims of sexist discrimination.
According to one reporter on the scene, Adams was overheard making an apology.
In a TV interview the day after the final, Adams told the ESPN tennis panel that “There’s no equality”.
But her claims were soon undermined by statistics showing that there were 86 code violations handed out to male players at the US Open, and only 22 to women. Now, a more detailed analysis of the past 20 years of grand-slam events has revealed a long-term split of 1,534 to 526.
Different offences have a different gender balance. Take racket abuse, which constituted the second of Williams’s three offences. Men are responsible for more than 86 per cent of these code violations, as well as just under 80 per cent of verbal-abuse violations.
The odd one out here is coaching.
This kicked the whole controversy off, when Patrick Mouratoglou signalled that Williams should move to the net more often. In this area, women are almost twice as likely as men to be censured.
Some have overbearing father-coaches, such as Carolina Garcia’s father Louis-Paul, who kept signalling to her during last year’s Wimbledon.
Others may be conditioned to look for mid-match support by the on-court coaching rule used at Women’s Tennis Association tournaments, which allows a coach to visit his or her player at one changeover per set.
Our statistics do not differentiate between tournaments before and after 2009, the year when on-court coaching was introduced on the WTA tour.
But it is understood that the incidence of coaching code violations has climbed among female players in the last decade.
During interviews on Thursday in Zadar, the American team backed Ramos’s credentials as an umpire. “It’s been polarised and in some ways politicised”, said team captain Jim Courier. “But we have no doubt that Carlos was just enforcing the rules as he sees them.
“Look, I don’t want this to come out the wrong way,” added the top American player Steve Johnson. “But he enforced rules that have been enforced on me over the years.
“I’ve never been called for coaching, but the racket abuse, the verbal abuse, that’s just part of the sport. I think a lot of it maybe got over-amplified because it was the finals of the US Open.”
In an interview with the Tennis Podcast, meanwhile, the former chair umpire Enric Molina said “Carlos’s job was immaculate, under very difficult circumstances. It was a sad response from the governing bodies not to support the excellent job of the umpire.”