Twenty-year-old Naomi Osaka won the US Open tennis tournament (Women’s Singles) on Saturday.
Osaka, who is Japanese-American, is the first Japanese person to win a major tennis tournament.
However, her win isn’t the only thing that made the tournament memorable. Something happened to her opponent, 36-year-old tennis star Serena Williams.
She was accused of being “coached,” which is not allowed during a match. Williams’s coach, who was sitting in the crowd, had made a motion with his hands to tell Williams how to hit a shot. However, Williams said she was not looking at the coach at the time and so did not cheat.
Umpire Carlos Ramos saw it differently and he gave Williams a warning.
Williams was furious and told Ramos that she is not a cheater.
“I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose,” she said.
Later in the match, Williams got upset and slammed her tennis racquet on the ground, breaking it. Ramos gave Williams a “point penalty” for breaking her racquet. That meant that at the start of the next game, before a hit was even made, Williams was already losing to Osaka by one point.
To win the women’s US Open, you have to win two “sets” of tennis (usually by winning six games in each set). So every point counts.
Williams and Osaka kept playing, but it was clear that both players were very upset. The incident made it tougher for them to concentrate. Williams accused Ramos of being “a thief” for taking her point away. Because she said that, Ramos then punished Williams again, and awarded Osaka a whole game.
Shortly after that, with Williams down 5-3, Osaka went on to win the tournament, 6-2, 6-4.
Williams has won the US Open six times before and was the crowd favourite.
Serena Williams is Naomi Osaka’s idol. Osaka said it was an honour to play Williams. And then to win the tournament over her was something she had dreamed of. However, she clearly did not want to win the tournament that way. During the ceremony in which the awards were given out, Osaka apologized to the crowd for beating their favourite player. Williams urged the crowd to think positively about Osaka’s win and said the young tennis player had played well.
Many famous tennis players are siding with Williams, saying that if a male player had called an umpire a thief they would not have been penalized for it. In a tweet, tennis superstar Billie Jean King said there is a “double standard” (in other words, one rule for women and a different rule for men).
Williams was also fined $17,000 by the US Tennis Association because of the incident.
Osaka was awarded $3.8 million for her win; Williams, as runner-up, was awarded $1.85 million.
(1/2) Several things went very wrong during the @usopen Women’s Finals today. Coaching on every point should be allowed in tennis. It isn’t, and as a result, a player was penalized for the actions of her coach. This should not happen.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 9, 2018
(2/2) When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 9, 2018
The Story Behind the Story
A new feature on TeachingKidsNews.com, The Story Behind the Story gives you insight into why we selected this news event to cover, and what we found so fascinating about it.
Article in The Guardian about how the tennis world is reacting:
This article in the The Telegraph, includes a timeline (the blue box) of events:
‘Tennis rallies behind Serena Williams after US Open sexism claim’
NEW: This opinion piece in the New York Times by tennis giant Martina Navratilova has a slightly different take on the situation:
By Kathleen Tilly
This article has many different points of view–how one person sees something, compared to how another person sees it. For instance, Serena Williams saw things very differently from the way the umpire saw things. Retell this story according to the point-of-view of:
- Serena Williams’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou (who admitted to making the gesture, but said coaches do it all the time and it’s no big deal)
- The US Tennis Association
- Naomi Osaka’s mother
- Tennis star John McEnroe, famous for his “tennis tantrums” on the court
- Serena Williams
- Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard
Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
The article states, “Many famous tennis players are siding with Williams, saying that if a male player had called an umpire a thief they would not have been penalized for it. In a tweet, tennis superstar Billie Jean King said there is a “double standard” (in other words, one rule for women and a different rule for men).”
In your own words, what is a “double standard”?
Do you think this situation is an example of a double standard? Can you think of another example of a double standard related to gender?
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).
Language Feature: Quotations
This article includes a quotation from Serena Williams and tweets from Billie Jean King. Why do you think the journalist, Joyce Grant, chose to use their words instead of summarizing what they said in her own words?