Social media has been in a row over the U.S. Open’s treatment of female players. On Saturday night, Serena Williams lost in the U.S. Open women’s final to 20-year-old Naomi Osaka. The controversy started when umpire Carlos Ramos called a code violation on Williams for coaching and then called a second violation for breaking her racket. As a result, Osaka gained a point for the next game. Williams was visibly distraught and urged Ramos to offer an apology, calling Ramos a “thief.” After a heated exchange, Ramos called a third violation for verbal abuse, resulting in a lost game for Williams. Williams brought up the discrepancy with tournament officials, bringing to light what she views as a double standard in how male and female players are disciplined on the court.
The controversial match has ignited a sexism debate on social media and has highlighted several instances when male players have not received the same kind of punishment for identical behavior. On August 28, French player Alize Cornet was penalized for ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ after taking off her shirt on the court when she realized her shirt was on backwards -- there is no rule for male players undressing on the court. Although these incidents have sparked contentious feelings toward the U.S. Open, Osaka’s win warrants an immense amount of celebration -- she’s the first Japanese Grand Slam champion, male or female!