Carlos Ramos acted professionally and as such deserves praise after Serena Williams called him a liar and a thief during the American star’s US Open final meltdown, the International Tennis Federation said on Monday.
Japanese rising star Naomi Osaka emerged winner of the match after beating the hugely favoured Serena 6-2, 6-4 on Saturday.
An infuriated Williams confronted Ramos, who issued three penalties against her in the second set, after Osaka had established her dominance.
The first for receiving coaching, the second for racket abuse and the third for verbal abuse of the umpire.
The second and third violations earned Williams a point penalty and then a game penalty, giving Osaka a 5-3 second set lead.
She then demanded an apology from the 47-year-old umpire for calling her a ”cheat.”
And the governing body of women’s tennis, WTA, backed Williams’ claims of sexism, saying that Ramos would have been more tolerant if Williams had been a man.
But the ITF, world tennis’ governing body, responded to the controversy by insisting Ramos was well within his rights to hand down the penalties.
“Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis. Mr. Ramos’ decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were re-affirmed by the US Open’s decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offences,” an ITF statement said.
“It is understandable that this high profile and regrettable incident should provoke debate.
“At the same time, it is important to remember that Mr. Ramos undertook his duties as an official according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity.”