It has been 58 days since arguably the most controversial US Open Final in history, when Serena Williams met Naomi Osaka in New York, and all and sundry has had something to say on the matter. Until now though Roger Federer has kept mostly quiet on the matter, but the Swiss maestro was again asked his opinion, and gave a straightforward response.
Speaking to the British media ahead of the ATP Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London, the 20-time Grand Slam champion said Serena went too far in her outburst and that she should have walked away earlier, before things escalated the way they did.
Just to refresh the memory, Serena was deducted a game in the deciding set at Flushing Meadows after a series of violations.
The first one was a code violation when the referee Carlos Ramos adjudged that her coach Patrick Mouratoglu was giving her instructions during the final, which is explicitly not allowed in the sport of tennis.
Serena shouted at the ref that she would never cheat to win and would rather lose than go against the rules.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion received a second penalty when she smashed her racket, to which she was given a point penalty.
When she sat back down during the break, she accused the chair umpire of being a thief and a liar, which led to her being docked the next game.
At the end of this outburst, the match at that point was Osaka leading 6-2, 5-4, meaning the Japanese player was just one game away from her maiden Grand Slam.
Osaka duly completed her victory, but sadly, her biggest triumph of her career was overshadowed by Williams’s controversy. During the post match presentation, the home crowd booed incessantly, reducing Osaka to tears.
Serena’s coach later admitted to coaching her during the match.
Federer who was speaking to The Sunday Times did also say the umpire maybe should not have pushed her there. It’s unfortunate, Federer said, but he added that lessons could be learnt from the incident and claimed that it was good for the sport because it gets people talking about tennis.
In the aftermath, Serena was fined US $17000 by the United States Tennis Association for the code violations.