Home / Sports / Serena Williams ‘let herself down’ in US Open remaining, says Anne Keothavong | Tennis News

Serena Williams ‘let herself down’ in US Open remaining, says Anne Keothavong | Tennis News

‘I am all for female athletes expressing themselves… but you have also got to know when to draw a line’, says GB Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong

Last Updated: 11/09/18 3:27pm








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Anne Keothavong believes umpire Carlos Ramos treats both male and female players equally and says Serena Williams ‘went over the top’ in the US Open final

Anne Keothavong believes umpire Carlos Ramos treats both male and female players equally and says Serena Williams ‘went over the top’ in the US Open final

Serena Williams “let herself down” in the US Open final and her three code violations were not the “best example of sexism in sport”, says Great Britain’s Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong.

The American was docked a game in the second set of her defeat against Naomi Osaka at Flushing Meadows on Saturday for calling umpire Carlos Ramos a “thief” after previously receiving two code violations for coaching and smashing her racket.

Williams claimed the penalty was a “sexist remark” but Keothavong believes the 36-year-old should have better controlled her emotions.

With the very best athletes they do know {when to stop} and she just let herself down in that particular match.

Anne Keothavong

“So many people look up to Serena Wiliams, and she is an iconic figure. I guess when we look up to our heroes, we expect the very best from them at all times but she is human,” Keothavong told Sky Sports’ Sportswomen.

“She is passionate about what she does out there. She does have a temper, she is not the only one, but you have just got to know as a professional athlete with all eyes on you on the biggest stage, you have to know when to stop.

“Make your point, shout, and scream, whatever and get the code violation but then know when to stop and get on with it.

“With the very best athletes, they do know and she just let herself down in that particular match. But in other matches, she has been able to turn it around.

“I am all for female athletes expressing themselves out there – I want to see it more with the younger players who I coach – and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that but you have also got to know when to draw a line.”

Keothavong does not believe Williams was treated differently than a male player, but acknowledged the incident highlighted there is a “bigger issue”.

Rusedski: Serena’s claims ‘unjustified’

Greg Rusedski says Serena Williams’ suggestions she was a victim of sexism in her US Open final defeat are “unjustified”.

“There are other examples of sexism in sport whether it comes down to prize money, the way male players are treated in comparison to women,” she said.

“I think that is a bigger issue than what actually happened on Saturday night in that US Open final. I don’t think that was the best example of sexism in sport in tennis.”

Billie Jean King supported Williams in the aftermath of the final Billie Jean King supported Williams in the aftermath of the final

Billie Jean King supported Williams in the aftermath of the final

Billie Jean King defended Williams, saying women are seen as “hysterical” when emotional while men are seen as “outspoken”, but Keothavong insists Ramos, who received the backing of the International Tennis Federation on Monday, was “doing his job”.

Keothavong said: “Yes, that is a valid point and I think sexism in tennis and across sport is also a valid point. It exists, let’s not beat around the bush about it.

“But in this particular case, Carlos Ramos was doing his job. He is a strong umpire, respected by a lot of players, coaches and other umpires.

“He is a guy that all the other umpires look up to because he is strong, consistently strong.

Keothavong defended umpire Carlos Ramos Keothavong defended umpire Carlos Ramos

Keothavong defended umpire Carlos Ramos

“Whether he is umpiring a men’s match or a women’s match, I think he treats [the players] as individuals equally. It has sparked an interesting debate.”

The former British No 1 is disappointed the fall-out of the match has taken away from Osaka’s performance.

“Whoever watched that match that night, you feel for Naomi Osaka. She is going for her first Grand Slam title, grew up in New York, that was her moment,” she added.

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Tamsin Greenway and Sophie Walker told Sky Sports’ Sportswomen the way women are treated in sport in certain circumstances is not equal.

Tamsin Greenway and Sophie Walker told Sky Sports’ Sportswomen the way women are treated in sport in certain circumstances is not equal.

“She worked so hard for it her whole life. She has been dedicated to tennis – she deserved her moment and unfortunately she didn’t get it and everything has been overshadowed by Serena’s behaviour.”

Keothavong believes the way tennis players have reacted to the match has been “really noticeable”.

Naomi Osaka's victory was 'overshadowed by Serena's behaviour', says Keothavong Naomi Osaka's victory was 'overshadowed by Serena's behaviour', says Keothavong

Naomi Osaka’s victory was ‘overshadowed by Serena’s behaviour’, says Keothavong

“It is interesting on social media everyone has come out in support of Naomi Osaka and what a great achievement it is – [her] first Grand Slam title,” she said.

“A lot of players are happy for her. Let’s not forget the type of tennis she played that night. She played incredible tennis; regardless of how Serena behaved, maybe Naomi Osaka would have won that match anyway.

“There has been a lot of support there but it has been interesting on social media anyway that not many players have spoken in support of Serena. That for me has been really noticeable.”

US Open talking points

The 2018 US Open will be remembered as one of the most dramatic Grand Slam tournaments in history.

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