The WTA has come out in support of Serena Williams in her claim that she was the victim of sexism in the women's US Open final. The American superstar was assessed a coaching violation in her match against Naomi Osaka.
In a statement released late on Sunday local time, the World Tennis Association (WTA) CEO Steve Simon said men and women must be treated equally on the tennis court.
"The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same," the statement read.
"We do not believe that this was done last night."
Simon was referring to the treatment of Serena Williams in her 6-2, 6-4 defeat to Naomi Osaka on Saturday, in which she was assessed a coaching violation, was penalized a point for racket abuse and then a game for verbally abusing umpire Carlos Ramos and calling him a "thief."
On Sunday, the US Open referee's office fined Williams, 36, a total of $17,000 (€14,700) for the three code violations during her loss to Osaka in the final.
Williams defended her sexism claim in a post-match press conference, arguing that men can get away with things women can't when they complain or misbehave on the court.
WTA 'supports coaching'
During the final, Williams had initially been incensed by the violation for coaching, which she received after the umpire spotted her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, making hand signals to her.
Williams insisted she hadn't seen his signals and had never even called for on-court coaching during WTA matches in which it is allowed. While WTA rules do permit coaching, it is not allowed at Grand Slam events. Moratoglou later admitted that he had indeed been coaching but said that Osaka's coach had doing the same.
In Sunday's statement, Simon said the WTA believed coaching should be allowed across the sport.
"The WTA supports coaching through its on-court coaching rule, but further review is needed," he said.
Into the top 10
Meanwhile, Osaka, 20, has climbed into the top 10 of the WTA's singles rankings for the first time, surging 12 places to go seventh. The latest rankings, published on Monday, saw Williams move up 10 places to 16 as she continues her comeback from maternity leave.
pfd/dv (dpa, AP, AFP)