Australia paper defends Williams cartoon despite outrage
LONDON, Sept 11, (Agencies): The International Tennis Federation is defending the chair umpire who gave Serena Williams three code violations during the US Open final, saying his “decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules.” Williams was cited by Carlos Ramos three times Saturday during her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka: for getting coaching signals; for breaking her racket, which cost her a point; and for calling Ramos a thief, which cost her a game.
On Sunday, the tournament referee docked Williams $10,000 for “verbal abuse” of the chair umpire, $4,000 for being warned for coaching and $3,000 for breaking her racket.
The ITF said in a statement Monday that Ramos’ citations were “reaffirmed by the US Open’s decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offenses.” The governing body of tennis added that: “Ramos undertook his duties as an official according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity.” An Australian newspaper defended its cartoonist on Tuesday after publishing a caricature of Serena Williams having a temper tantrum at the US Open tennis tournament, which civil rights leaders, celebrities and fans condemned as racist.
Cartoonist Mark Knight’s image, published in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, showed an angry Williams with exaggerated lips and tongue and a wild plume of curly hair rising from the top of her head as she stomped on her tennis racket. “This despicable cartoon tried and failed to diminish the greatness & grace of @serenawilliams. Racism in any form is unacceptable,” civil rights activist Rev Jesse Jackson tweeted on Monday.
The cartoon was intended as a lampoon of the tennis star’s angry exchanges with chair umpire Carlos Ramos at the US Women’s Singles final in New York on Saturday.
Williams clashed with Ramos over penalties she thought she did not deserve and ultimately lost to Naomi Osaka, a 20-year-old player born in Japan.
Knight’s portrayal of Osaka as blond and light-skinned also drew criticism for being racist.