Serena Williams’ reaction was ‘pretty overboard’, says Jamie Murray as he dismisses umpire sexism row

Jack de Menezes
The Independent

Jamie Murray has rejected Serena Williams’ claim that women are treated differently by umpires than male players, with the doubles star claiming that her reaction was “pretty overboard”.

Williams saw her hopes of tying Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles at last weekend's US Open go up in smoke as she crashed to a straight-sets defeat by Japan’s Naomi Osaka, but it was the American’s furious bust-up with umpire Carlos Ramos that sparked the biggest controversy that has dominated the game ever since.

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The 36-year-old accused Ramos of being a “liar” and a “thief” after he gave Williams three separate code violations for illegally receiving coaching, smashing her racket on the ground and verbally abusing a match official, which prompted one of the most extraordinary finishes to a match in Williams’ career as she was docked a game in the decisive second set.

In her post-match press conference, Williams said that she was standing up for gender equality by taking a stand against Ramos, in her belief that female players are treated harsher than their male counterparts for such things as receiving coaching and venting their frustrations at chair umpires.

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But Murray, who won the US Open mixed doubles title with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, believes that Ramos made the correct calls given the scenes that were unfolding before him.

"I think the umpire did what was within his rights,” Murray told the BBC ahead of Britain’s Davis Cup tie with Kazakhstan, which begins today in Glasgow.


Jamie Murray believes that male players are treated just as harshly as women (Getty)

"Coaching is common, a lot of people are doing it, some people aren't getting called for it. To get called in a Grand Slam final was perhaps a bit tight, but I think the reaction was pretty overboard.

"I've seen a lot of people get called for coaching before, and you might have a grumble and stuff, but you get on with it."


Williams' row with umpire Carlos Ramos has caused widespread debate (Reuters)

The furore has only grown since the incident last Saturday night, with Associated Press reporting overnight that the United States Tennis Association chief executive Katrina Adams was overheard privately apologising to Ramos over the fallout from the final.

Ramos was castigated by the Women’s Tennis Association, with chief executive Steve Simon claiming that his treatment of Williams would have been different had she been a man, but the International Tennis Federations publicly defended him and claimed that he acted “at all times with professionalism and integrity”.


Umpire Carlos Ramos was seen talking to the head of the US Tennis Association Katarina Adams (AP)

The sage may not be over just yet either, with umpires believed to be considering a boycott of Williams’ matches over what they feel has been a lack of support from tennis authorities, while they are also talking over the possibility of creating an umpires’ union to deal with such matters.

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