Serena Williams’s bid for a 24th major title collapsed in a welter of tears, angry accusation and code violations – even featuring a rare game penalty – as a series of furious rows with tournament officials overshadowed the maiden victory of Japanese 20-year-old Naomi Osaka.
“To lose a game for saying that, it’s not fair. How many other men do things? There’s a lot of men out here who have said a lot of things. It’s because I am a woman, and that’s not right.” Williams also rounded on Donna Kelso, the supervisor for the Women’s Tennis Association, and told her “I’ve worked so hard to be in this position.”
For the first time ever at the US Open, the trophy ceremony was drowned out by boos when compere Tom Rinaldi stood up to take charge. Williams then dissolved into tears as she tried to bring some positivity to what was a desperately disappointing way for Osaka to open her grand-slam account.
“I don’t want to be rude. She played well. Let’s make this the best moment we can, let’s not boo anymore,” said Williams.
The tennis legend has been fined $US17,000 over the code violations that sparked her meltdown.