Serena Williams made it clear she wasn't receiving any illegal instruction during Saturday's U.S. Open final.

By Kaelen Jones
September 08, 2018

As Serena Williams trailed Naomi Osaka in Saturday's U.S. Open Final, match chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, assessed Williams multiple code violations, including for verbal abuse of an umpire after being warned for receiving illegal coaching.

Osaka went on to win the match in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, claiming her first-ever Grand Slam title and denying Williams of her 24th career Major Final.

During the match, Williams's longtime coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, had been signaling a thumbs up to Williams, which Ramos apparently warned could be interpreted as coaching.

"If he's giving me a thumb, he's telling me to come on," Williams explained, trailing in the match 2-6, 1-0, early in the second set.

Williams would go on to take a 3-2 lead in the set when Ramos once again warned Williams about a potential coaching violation, prompting Williams to adamantly tell the umpire she was not cheating.

"I've never cheated in my life," Williams said. "You owe me an apology."

Osaka claimed the next two games, and during the break ahead of the seventh game in the set, Williams and Ramos once again got into a riff.

Ramos handed Williams a one-game penalty for verbal abuse, putting her behind 5-3. Williams called Ramos a thief for his decision before two game officials spoke with Williams on the court.

"This is not right," Williams implored, on the verge of tears. "This has happened to me too many times. This is not fair."

After winning the following game, Williams continued making her case with a female official, holding back tears as she headed to the bench for a break.

After the match, Williams did not shake hands with Ramos, and once again told him he owed her an apology. During a postgame interview with ESPN, Mouratoglou said the hypocrisy must stop and she should be allowed to express her full emotions. Williams was given a one-point penalty after slamming her racket after the fifth game of the second set.

"Those rules are killing tennis," Mouratoglou said. "Not to allow the players to express their feelings is stupid. It's not a big deal breaking a racket, I think."

When Osaka was first announced as the winner, boos rang down from Arthur Ashe Stadium. Osaka, the first Japanese-born player ever—male or female—to win a Grand Slam title, said she was sorry for the win.

"It was always my dream to play Serena in the U.S. Open final," she said. "I'm really grateful."

Williams defended the 20-year-old, imploring fans to celebrate Osaka for her accomplishment.

"I just want to tell you guys she played well and this is her first Grand Slam," Williams said, as cheers erupted. " ... Let's give everyone the credit where credit is due, and let's not boo anymore. We're going to get through this and let's be positive.

"So congratulations, Naomi! No more booing!"

During her post-game press conference, Williams addressed her interaction with the umpire.

"I've seen other men call other umpires several things," Williams said. "And I'm here fighting for women's rights and women's equality and for all kinds of stuff.

"And for me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game? It made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He's never taken a game from a man because they said 'thief.' For me, it blows my mind."

Williams said she is going to continue to fight for equal rights for female tennis players.

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