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Yes, Serena Williams was treated unfairly in U.S. Open loss

For The Win logo For The Win 9/9/2018 Chris Korman
a person talking on a cell phone: USA TODAY © USA TODAY USA TODAY

Naomi Osaka beat Serena Williams to win the U.S. Open on Saturday, but (sadly) the match will be remembered for Williams' battling with with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, being penalized and later calling him a "thief."

And so instead of talking about Osaka's rise, or the fact she beat her long-time idol, or the continued unfathomable way Williams has played after giving birth and dealing with blood clots, or just marveling at how great Serena is, period, in the grand array of athletes we've ever seen we're …. stuck talking about an "outburst" and what it means for her legacy.

But as USA TODAY's Christin Brennan points out, there are really only two questions that matter here: Was Serena Williams treated differently (and therefore unfairly?) And if so, why?

It's going to take some time to answer the second, but the first seems all-but-decided at this point. Brennan quotes James Blake, Mardy Fish and Patrick McEnroe all saying they've done and heard worse without penalty.

And now Twitter user @AgentTinsley has done the work to compile actual instances where umpires - Ramos among them - were challenged without responding the way he responded to Williams in the final of a Grand Slam.

There's more. You should check out the whole thread. It's all the evidence you'll need to understand why Williams reacted the way she did.

Which doesn't excuse it, and doesn't mean it's not part of the conversation with Williams in general. But context is important.


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