Martin Devlin: Serena's abuse of tennis officials a blight on the game

Author
Martin Devlin,
Section
Video,
Publish Date
Friday, 23 August 2019, 1:08PM

How utterly childish of the ATP or US Open itself or whoever it was who's decided to ban Carlos Ramos from umpiring any of Serena's matches at this year's tournament.

Ramos was the poor sod in the villain's chair last year when Ms Williams, facing an embarrassingly swift defeat at the hands of Grand Slam novice Naomi Osaka, launched her extraordinary mid-match tirade. Who will ever forget the spray he wore?

Not just inadequate in terms of the official adjudicating duties he was given, the man also personally responsible for every aspect of global sexism, the historical imbalance between men's and women's tennis on all levels, Brexit, Auckland's incessant traffic problems and quite probably even the rain delays impinging upon the second cricket test between us and Sri Lanka in Colombo.

As idiotic as this action is, it's also typical of a sport where those who think they're in charge are in fact utterly beholden to the whims, tantrums, egos, accusations and frequent abuse from some of the game's biggest names.

Only last week we were treated to another shameful on-court meltdown from Nick Krygios which included amongst other buffoonery the incredibly insulting, totally uncalled for, not to mention disturbingly unhygienic  gobbing at the umpire. And this after first slinging a cup of water at him.

Tennis officials at that event responded by downplaying his offending claiming the  spit was (only) "in the umpire's direction" and, because it didn't connect, deserved nothing more than another fine accompanied by a very scary and sternly worded  warning asking him not to do it again.

In other words the exact kind of punishment that's worked wonders with improving his behaviour in the past.

It's as big a joke as this Ramos decision. The abuse of officials is a blight on every sport whenever it happens. However I can't think of any other that allows its athletes to treat theirs like tennis does.

By removing Ramos from her matches they're effectively saying Serena's outburst last year was somehow his fault.

Surely the most adult and authoritative way of burying what happened would be to let him do his job and if he did coincidentally umpire her again then naturally it might provide the perfect opportunity for her to show she's learned her lesson and him to confirm all is forgiven.

Instead all they've done is tell poor old Carlos he's now a double fault.

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