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Billie Jean King stands by Serena Williams after controversial US Open loss

Written by gaytourism

One of the greatest tennis players in history is speaking up on behalf of Serena Williams.

Billie Jean King took to both Twitter and an op-ed in the Washington Post defending Williams and calling out professional tennis as a sexist and archaic institution.

But first: a recap.

Williams lost to 20-year-old Naomi Osaka, in her first Grand Slam appearance, in the controversial US Open final on Saturday (8 September). The umpire Carlos Ramos delivered three code-violations to Williams during the game. The first was for coaching, another for racquet abuse, and a final one for verbal abuse of the umpire.

These violations lost Williams a point, and then a game. Osaka won the final 6-2, 6-4.

After the game, Williams both commended Osaka on her win (who cried and apologized, when the audience began booing after) and stood by her remarks of calling the umpire a ‘thief’ and saying he treated her differently than a male player.

King agrees.

King’s tweet | Photo: Twitter @BillieJeanKing

First she defended coaching, for which Williams received her first violation. King wrote it should be allowed.

Then she went in on the double-standards and sexism of tennis, by saying a woman is called ‘hysterical’ for being emotional while a man is described as ‘outspoken’ for the same thing.

King's second tweet

King’s second tweet | Photo: Twitter @BillieJeanKing

‘An abuse of power’

In King’s op-ed, she first made sure to praise Osaka, who she referred to as ‘the future of our sport’.

‘Lost in the craziness of the evening was the fact that Osaka played excellent tennis and won her first major title,’ King wrote. ‘She was the best player on the court Saturday.’

What is the real shame of the match, according to King, is an ‘archaic tennis rule that eventually led to an abuse of power’.

In King’s mind, coaching happens all the time and players still have to ‘execute on every point’ without being ‘held responsible for the actions of a coach’. Therefore, it should be legal.

‘Did Ramos treat Williams differently than male players have been treated?’ King questioned. ‘I think he did.

‘Women are treated differently in most arenas of life. This is especially true for women of color. … Ultimately, a woman was penalized for standing up for herself. A woman faced down sexism, and the match went on.’

King finished her piece by calling Williams ‘a champion’ and being ‘right to speak her mind, to put a voice to the injustice’.

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