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Stars support Serena Williams after grand slam upset

US OPEN: Serena Williams comforts Naomi Osaka after their heated match

SERENA WILLIAMS was on the cusp of history yesterday, but her match against Naomi Osaka was blighted by severe penalties handed down to her by umpire Carlos Ramos.

An emotional Williams appealed to the referee to intervene and overturn Ramos’ penalties against her but her pleas were unsuccessful.

Williams was penalised for allegedly taking coaching during the match and then for smashing her racket and “verbal abuse”.

Patrick Mouratoglou said he had handed out coaching from the box but said he did not believe Williams had seen his signals.

“I was coaching but I don’t think she looked at me,” he said after the match.

“I am honest, I was coaching, Sascha [Bajin, Osaka’s coach] was coaching the whole time too. This is one of the rules that is ruining tennis.”

Williams maintained that she had not taken coaching from Mouratoglou during the match and insisted that she never cheats.

“I did not get coaching, I don't cheat. You need to make an announcement. I have a daughter and I stand for what's right for her. You owe me an apology.

“For you to attack my character is something that is wrong...You will never ever, ever be in another final. You are a liar,” she told Ramos.

Later, Williams smashed her racket, causing her to incur another penalty.
Williams went on to call Ramos a thief for taking a point away from her. In response, the umpire handed her reprimanded her for verbal abuse, giving a game to Osaka.

The extreme punishment is a rarity in the sport.

“To lose a game for saying that, it’s not fair. How many other men do things? There’s a lot of men out here who have said a lot of things. It’s because I am a woman, and that’s not right,” Williams told tournament referee Brian Early and Donna Kelso, supervisor for the Women’s Tennis Association, during the second set.

The crowd booed when the trophy presentation ceremony began.

The 23-time grand slam winner wasn’t the only one to shed tears on the night. Osaka cried during the post-match presentation ceremony.

Williams called for calm.

"I don’t want to be rude. She played well. Let’s make this the best moment we can, let’s not boo any more,” she said.

The crowd erupted in applause after Williams’ brief statement.

Williams went on to comfort Osaka by putting her arms around her as she shed tears behind her visor.

Kelly Rowland, who was sat in the Arthur Ashe Stadium watching Williams play, shared an image of the tennis champion on her Instagram after the match. She captioned it with the words: “Serena!!! Class act!! Always a champion!! I love you! We all love you!!! (The ump [sic] was a weak soul, what a double standard.”

CLASS ACT: Serena's supporters say she showed great sportsmanship after the match

Lala Anthony, who was also seated in Williams’ box, said: “Forever my champion, Serena Williams. Love you to the moon and back!! You are an inspiration to all of us!!! Proud to be your friend and be there to support you today and every day!!! The GOAT [greatest of all time]. The best hands down. Period.”

Mouratoglou tweeted: "The star of the show has been once again the chair umpire. Second time in this US Open and third time for Serena in a US Open Final. Should they be allowed have an influence on the result of a match? When do we decide that this should never happen again?"

Reese Witherspoon said: "What a match! Congrats Naomi Osaka on your win and making history today! And Serena Williams you powerhouse - thank you for standing up for women everywhere."

Shannon Watts, founder of anti-gun organisation Moms Demand, tweeted: “Men aren’t policed like women are what they wear in tennis. They aren’t held to the same standards for language and behaviour. And women of colour are treated the most unfairly. Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka deserved better.”

Haitian-Japanese Osaka, 20, the sport’s first major winner from Japan, won 6-2, 6-4 in an explosive match that lasted only 79 minutes. The victory is her first ever grand slam title.

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