Tennis legend slammed over latest Serena comments

Billie Jean King has caused a stir with her latest comments about Serena Williams’ US Open meltdown.

The former World No.1 has softened her initial stance on the controversy, saying Serena was “totally out of line” when she vehemently disputed calls by chair umpire Carlos Ramos during Sunday’s final.

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Williams was issued a warning, point and then game penalty after she argued with Ramos during the final, which was won 6-2 6-4 by Japan’s Naomi Osaka.

“Serena was out of line. There’s no question,” King told CNN on Tuesday. “No one is saying she was a good sport. If they are they are crazy.

“She was totally out of line. She knows it.”

Billie Jean King has spoken out about the Serena Williams saga. Image: CNN/Getty

King’s remarks to CNN were something of a retraction on her earlier comments when she said in a Washington Post editorial that Williams had faced down sexism with her protests.

However her latest comments about Ramos have now been slammed.

On Tuesday, King said Ramos could have prevented the affair had he communicated better and given Williams a ‘soft warning’ instead of a code violation when he saw her coach Patrick Mouratoglou giving signals during the match.

The loss of the point prompted Williams to call Ramos a “thief”, which led to a third violation for verbal abuse that resulted in the umpire issuing a game penalty, although he could have prevented the incident from escalating, King said.

Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and Billie Jean King pose before women’s single final of US Open 2018 at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“I felt like at the very beginning he blew it,” King said.

“As an umpire you’re supposed to keep the flow of the match going and he did just the opposite.

“…he (aggravated) the situation. ‘I’m not attacking your character,’ is the most important thing he could have said.

“I think everything would have been different.”

Many were shocked by King’s comments that seemed to suggest Ramos should have ignored the basic rules that he was simply trying to enforce.

The Times reporter Stuart Fraser also refuted King’s claim that Ramos heightened the situation, pointing out how he actually tried to defuse things before Serena told him not to talk to her – which he respected.

Ramos speaks out about Serena controversy

The man himself has also broken his silence on his controversial run-in with Serena.

The experienced Portuguese official has found himself at the centre of a storm after his officiating of the US Open final, which saw Serena accuse him of sexism after she was docked a game for receiving three code violations.

“I’m fine, given the circumstances,” he said.

“It’s a delicate situation, but a la carte arbitration does not exist. Do not worry about me!”

Ramos was supported – albeit belatedly – by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), who said he acted with “professionalism and integrity”, however the United States Tennis Association and Women’s Tennis Association earlier backed Williams’ claims that she received unfair treatment.

But the ITF have further shown their support by putting Ramos in charge of the Davis Cup semi-final between USA and Croatia this weekend in Zadar.

with AAP