Williams went on to win the ninth game at love before Osaka won her first Grand Slam title on a second match point in the 10th game.
Williams’s emotional meltdown – in which she called chair umpire Carlos Ramos both “liar” and “thief” – split the world of tennis, which is disunited at the best of times.
NZME tennis correspondent Matt Brown, who has covered and/or commentated at more than 20 Grand Slam tournaments, believes tennis should consider removing some restrictions on coaching during matches.
Earlier, as Williams pleaded her case on court with tournament referee Brian Earley, calling the penalties unfair, she said: “Because you’re a woman, you’re going to take this away from me?” “When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” and there are no repercussions”.
Ramos is known more for officiating men’s tennis but has controlled French Open, Wimbledon and US Open women’s finals. “Serena came to the bench and told me she had a point penalty and, when she got the game penalty, I didn’t know that either”.
Retired male professionals also jumped to the defence of Ms Williams. He also said everyone does it and usually is not called for it. The organization added that all players are allowed to change their shirts while sitting in their chairs while female players have the option to change shirts in “a more private location close to the court, when available”.
“I can’t sit here and say I wouldn’t say he’s a thief, because I thought he took a game from me”, Williams said.
After the set, the US Open issued follow-up statements defending the umpire’s decisions but praising Williams’ demeanor at the awards presentation as “a class move from a true champion”. Others hailed Williams for her strength and courage. While Williams was adamant that she never receives coaching, her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, acknowledged afterward that he did try to signal Williams, but didn’t think she had seen him.
“I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose”, Williams was heard telling Ramos. Serena laughed about her daughter’s shoes as she filmed the moment, asking Olympia where she’d gotten “them shoes”.
It was a costly violation for Williams, who dropped the second set – and the match – shortly thereafter. That triggered a third violation, which resulted in a game penalty that gave Osaka a 5-3 lead.
Williams accepted it was an unfortunate position for Osaka to be put in, and said: “That’s why I said (during the ceremony), “I don’t want to answer the questions. This is not fair”, Williams told Women’s Tennis Association supervisor Donna Kelso”.
Williams received a second violation when she smashed her racket in frustration. “Odd to do that in a Grand Slam final”, Mouratoglou said. This prompted a heated dialogue with the umpire Carlos Ramos.
He tweeted: “I covered 17 US Opens for Sports Illustrated”.
An irate Williams, likely feeling the pressure given the match situation, approached Romas and accused him of insulting her character.
“Ramos might not have been wrong, but that doesn’t make it right”, Bryan Armen Graham wrote. “They had everything to do with observing clear breaches of the grand slam code of conduct and then having the courage to call them without fear or favour”.