On September 8th 2018, the world witnessed a tremendous final at the US open between one of the greatest tennis players of all the time Serena Williams and the young, talented Naomi Osaka. Oppositely the game did not end the way most people expected, because Serena Williams was not able to fulfill the dream of winning her 24th grand slams. However, Viewers also experienced an unpleasant moment between Serena and the chair umpire of the game Carlos Ramos.
To have a better understanding of the situation we will take a look at this article published by the New York Times on September 10th “ Serena Williams Spotlights Tennis inequities, but in the best way.” Juliet Macur began this article with the statement, “ let’s be clear: Tennis has a problem with gender equality.
Although men and women earn the same prize money at Grand Slam tournaments, there is a wide pay gap over all. Serena Williams has earned 10 millions of dollars less than Novak Djokovic even though she has many more grand slam single titles. Macur continues by saying that French player Alize Cornet received a penalty for temporarily removing her shirt on the court and flashing her sports bra. When male players change shirts, no one second-guesses it.
The chaos began in the second set when Carlos Ramos gave her a warning about illegal coaching then penalized her once again when she threw her racket and then again for calling him a liar and a thief. The writer continues by saying, “ there are some very real issues of gender equality in tennis, a sport I started writing about more than 15 years ago, and Williams got people talking about them. Unto itself that’s a wonderful thing.
But it must also be pointed out that the match was ruined, and Osaka’s greatest moment was clouded, because Williams let her temper get the best of her and Ramos could not find a better way to retake control of the match. Williams, marching through this tournament, was hoping to win her first Grand Slam title after giving birth to her daughter last year.
At 36, she is a woman who made it to the top of the sports world after growing up in Compton, Calif., and as an African-American has had to endure all sorts of abuse from opposing players, officials, executives and fans, and even had to deal with the harsh criticism of her clothing choices. She wore a catsuit at the French Open this year, only for the tournament’s officials to ban it for the future because it “didn’t respect the game and the place.”
Gender inequality is a real issue in today’s society but it is unfortunate that in the 21st century we tend to associate everything with gender, race and background ethnicity. From the suspect that is being apprehended for a crime and intelligently brings out the famous statement “because I am black ” to a lot of situations where others quickly used the gender card to get sympathy. The purpose of this paper is not to say that we do not have gender neither race issues, indeed this is part of hemorrhage that needs to stop as quick as possible.
Nevertheless, one can arguably say the Serena Williams situation at the US open was not a gender related issue. To begin with, Serena Williams received a technical violation for coaching. Single tennis is an individual game rather than a team game. According to ESPN, section L in the Article III of the Grand slam rules book it clearly says, ‘Players shall not receive coaching during a match (including the warm-up).
Communications of any kind, audible or visible, between a player and a coach may be construed as coaching.’ “ What qualifies as coaching could be up to the match umpire’s interpretation. It could involve explicit instructions or even coded gestures, as appeared to be the case with Williams and her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. Mouratoglou was recorded on camera making a gesture with his hands that appeared to have been a code for Williams to move closer to the net. For that, the chair umpire Carlos Ramos gave Williams a violation in the second game of the second set. ” (Alan Dawson, 2018).
Serena denied receiving coaching when her trainer said in a interview after the game with Euro sport “ I am honest: I was coaching.’’ one can also say that the coach should have been the one to penalize instead of Serena Williams But the rules state that it is the player who is responsible for their coach and therefore takes any punishment. After this technical violation Serena Williams became extremely upset and eventually threw her racket for which she had been given technical violation. The international codes of conduct (ITF) clearly states player must not violently, dangerously or in anger, hit, kick or throw a tennis ball, racket or other equipment.
By the same token Serena Eventually called the referee a liar and a thief “ You’re a thief you stole a point from me” and had been given another technical violation for that. In section F of the LTA it also says that: Player must not at any time verbally abuse any official, opponent, spectator or no persons. Serena allegedly claim that the referee treated her like this because she is a woman “ there’s a lot of Men out here that have said a lot of things, and because they are men, that doesn’t happen.”
According to Serena’s position one can arguably say that she is trying to implement the liberalism feminism. The liberal feminism is a system that advocates for equality between the sexes through social and political reforms, and legal means. Liberal feminists stress on the importance of an individual, and believe that every woman can assert her place in society and gain the rights she deserves.
Ms. Williams is not right in her position because she is not the only that have been received a technical violation due to verbal abuse. For instance, at the same US open John McEnroe in a game against Slobodan Zivojinovic After a series of arguments with the chair umpire that included penalties for unsportsmanlike behavior, verbal abuse, and language directed at a spectator, McEnroe was fined $17,500 and suspended for two months.
Furthermore; at the Australian open McEnroe was disqualified in his fourth-round match against Mikael Pernfors for three code violations. McEnroe received a warning, a second warning for racquet abuse, and was disqualified after verbally abusing the chair umpire. At the wimbledon Jeff Tarango telling spectators to ‘shut up’ earned a violation, and a second one after he called the chair umpire the ‘ most corrupt official in the game.’’Tarango was fined 28,000 pounds and banned from the tournament the following year . Andre Agassi was disqualified at Indianapolis for ball abuse and verbal abuse.
Given these points this cannot be considered as a gender issues but an enforcement of policies. Serena Williams’s reaction can also be viewed as a learned behavior. Social learning is theory that posits that people learn from one another via observation, imitation and modeling. Her father Richard Williams insulted an interviewer from ABC for asking Venus Williams questions about an upcoming match to which Venus replied with confidence that she would win.
The reporter continues, “You say it so easily. Why?” And that’s when Richard stepped in with the statement “You’ve got to understand that you’re dealing with the image of a 14-year-old child. And this child is gonna be out there playing when your old ass and me are gonna be in the grave.”
This situation can also be associated with a third theory which is the Radical Feminism: Radical feminism is a movement that believes sexism is so deeply rooted in society that the only cure is to eliminate the concept of gender completely.(study.com) Some critics blindly associated what happened with a gender issue. Not an application of policy and even go further by saying only women encounter situation like this and that is not the truth of the matter.
All things considered, the situation regarding Serena Williams could have ended in a much better way. It is more an honesty problem than a discrimination against women; it is also necessary that we focus on the rules when it comes the application of policies than personal opinion. Moreover for the critics that say men have behave similarly and do not get penalized this is not necessarily true as several examples in this essay shown that above.
Overall gender inequality remains one of the biggest problems in the world today. Men and women must be treated equally, for a well-balanced and sustainable social development. with that comes gender equality granting the same responsibilities and opportunities. Sports can make an important contribution to improving the position of women in society.