Speaking out for the first time since her controversial defeat at the U.S. Open last weekend in New York, tennis great Serena Williams says she and her coach have never used hand signals.
Williams shared this with a reporter out of Australia in response to accusations from an umpire that her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, was signaling her from the sidelines as she played against Naomi Osaka, a 20-year-old phenom who beat her. Umpire Carlos Ramos’ accusation was the basis of one of three code violations he leveled against Williams, costing her the game. During the exchanges, Williams informed Ramos that he was a “thief,” that he does not need to cheat to win and that he owed her an apology.
Williams also was fined $17,000 for the violations.
Williams’ coach has said that he was signaling from the seats, but he adds that Williams never saw him.
In an interview with The Sunday Project, an Australian news program, Williams stuck by her insistence that she did nothing wrong.
“He said he made a motion – I don’t understand what he was talking about,” Williams told interviewer Lisa Wilkinson. “We’ve never had signals.”
Williams also echoed her sentiments expressed earlier that there is a double standard when it some to how women and men may express frustration on the tennis court. Billie Jean King came to Williams’ defense, making the same assertion via Twitter after the controversial tennis match.
“I just don’t understand—if you’re a female, you should be able to do even half of what a guy can do,” she said in the interview.
The program has only released pieces of the exclusive interview, which will air in full later, according to the Daily Mail.
Interestingly, the interview was conducted in the same country where a newspaper artist was roundly condemned around the world for publishing a cartoon in the Herald Sun that depicted Williams with masculine features and throwing a violent tantrum.