Serena Williams has changed her tune on the meltdown that overshadowed Naomi Osaka’s triumph in the 2018 US Open final.
The American tennis superstar sparked headlines around the world when she called umpire Carlos Ramos a “thief” in a furious mid-match rant.
It all began when Williams was given a code violation after Ramos judged Patrick Mouratoglou took part in illegal coaching from the stands.
The 23-time grand slam champion has rarely discussed the incident since it took place in September last year, which was criticised by the likes of fellow legend Roger Federer.
But more than six months on, Williams’ feelings about the unsavoury actions have evolved – in part thanks to a fact she mentioned in the meltdown.
Williams, who famously told Ramos she would not cheat because she had a daughter, reached the Wimbledon and US Open finals in her first season since childbirth.
“Literally just back from having the baby, looking back, I don’t know how I did that,” Williams told the Today Show of her feats on the court.
“And I had the audacity to be upset when I didn’t win (the US Open). And I’m like ‘why am I angry? This is beyond amazing’.”
The crowd’s booing of Ramos during the trophy ceremony left Osaka, who backed up her maiden title by winning the Australian Open in January, in tears.
Williams comforted the Japanese youngster and apologised to her rival on the night.
Historic 24th slam awaits
Williams has had a turbulent time on tour since the US Open, playing in just three tournaments and being hit by injury.
The 37-year-old capitulated from 5-1 up in the third set in the Australian Open quarter-finals, then retired from her second match at Indian Wells last month and withdrew from her second match at Miami two weeks later.
While she is yet to schedule a return, the world No.11 considers herself a chance to add to her tally of 23 major titles.
“I have a better shot now but we’ll see,” Williams said.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time.”