Serena Williams faces sexism and racism on the tennis court

Serena Williams faces sexism and racism on the tennis court

Emma Athern, Copy Editor

Serena Williams has been in the eye of the media recently. During the US Open final against Naomi Osaka, umpire Carlos Ramos gave Williams a total of 3 violations and a fine of $17,000. The violations included a warning violation against her coach Patrick Mouratoglou for sending her hand signals from the sidelines, a one-point penalty for smashing her racket, and a penalty for verbal abuse after she confronted the umpire about his ruling.

People and oganizations, including the Women’s Tennis Association, are speaking out and saying  that they believe the calls that were made were sexist towards Williams. People on Twitter have come to the defense of Williams saying that she had only called umpire a “thief” while male players have said worse remarks towards umpires and never been penalized for it.

Retired US tennis player Andy Roddick tweeted, “I’ve regrettably said worse and I’ve never gotten a game penalty.” Members of the International Tennis Federation have sided with Ramos, believing that he had acted with “professionalism and integrity” towards the situation.

Serena Williams has not only faced discrimination in this single game, but previously she was facing a battle during the French Open concerning her outfit. After giving birth and suffering with blood clots her whole life, she partnered with Nike to design a black bodysuit to help with her medical condition while being able to play comfortably. People compared the body suit to those in the Marvel movie Black Panther, but French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli took the outfit as a sign of disrespect. Fans were outraged when the suit was banned from further tournaments and a dress code was put into place for future matches, but Williams said, “I think that obviously the Grand Slams have a right to do what they want to do”. Despite the dress code change, she wore a black and brown shoulder silhouette dress with a tutu skirt at the US Open. For this Louis Vuitton designed outfit, she also partnered with Nike, and while fans were calling the dress codes “sexist”, Williams wore her outfit with pride. After facing backlash for both her behavior and attire at the games, Herald Sun Newspaper in Melbourne, Australia illustrated and published a cartoon of Serena Williams on the court smashing her racket by jumping on it. This created backlash from fans as well as Serena Williams husband, calling the picture “blatantly racist and misogynistic.”

The artist, Mark Knight, defended his cartoon saying he was only focusing on Williams character and not race. Despite all that Williams has been trough these past few weeks, she has been trying to keep her head high and keep as much of positive presence in the media as any sports player would.