Carlos Ramos has broken his silence on his controversial run-in with Serena Williams.
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.
IS THIS RACIST? Why America is so furious with Serena Williams cartoon
First she was warned after her coach Patrick Mouratoglou was seen communicating with her via a hand gesture and then she was docked a point after smashing her racquet.
The 36-year-old, who was chasing a record-equalling 24th grand slam title, received further punishment after verbally abusing the umpire, calling him a “thief” and a “liar” in a heated exchange that went on for some time.
After days of silence, Ramos has finally offered a defiant response.
Speaking to Portuguese publication Tribuna Expresso, Ramos stood by his decisions.
“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!”
After Ramos had to be escorted off court, Williams used her post-match press conference to suggest that men avoid such punishment for similar on-court behaviour.
Ramos was supported – albeit belatedly – by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), who said he acted with “professionalism and integrity” while the United States Tennis Association and Women’s Tennis Association had 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.
As if American tennis fans hadn’t already seen enough of him.
Umpire to boycott Serena over US Open blow-up?
Fed-up umpires are reportedly considering boycotting Serena’s matches after her controversial blow-up in the US Open final.
According to The Times, a number of veteran umpires are furious with the way Ramos was treated during and after the US Open final.
“Umpires are considering refusing to officiate matches involving Serena Williams, such is the level of discontent over the treatment of Carlos Ramos during and after the US Open final,” The Times is reporting.
The report quotes an anonymous official that some umpires believe they were “not supported” by the United States Tennis Association, which “backed Williams’s claims of sexism”.
The source also believed Ramos was “thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it.”
Umpires are said to be considering the boycott unless Serena apologises.
The USTA and WTA both sided with Serena, and the International Tennis Federation took two days before they came out and backed Ramos, adding to the discontent.
In another report by The Guardian, umpires are now thinking about forming a union.
“Many officials were also left angry with the fact that the International Tennis Federation took nearly 48 hours to defend Ramos, on Monday afternoon, by which time the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and United States Tennis Association (USTA) had supported Williams’s claims of sexism,” The Guardian reports.
A senior figure reportedly told The Guardian: “There is a lot of unhappiness in the umpiring community because no one is standing up for officials. Umpires keep asking: ‘What if it was me in that chair on Saturday?’ There is a widespread feeling that Carlos was hung out to dry for nearly 48 hours and that no one is standing up for officials.”