Serena Williams Will Likely Be Fined $17,000 For US Open Code Violations
Despite facing controversial code violations, Serena Williams exemplified sisterhood on Sept. 8, as she chose to lift up her opponent after a tense loss. Serena faced off against Naomi Osaka at the 2018 US Open Tennis Tournament, and received three code violations resulting in a $17,000 fine, but she did not let these struggles keep her from comforting the 20-year-old competitor.
As the two took the trophy ceremony stage to the sound of jeers, Naomi kept her head down and visor pulled low as Serena wrapped an arm around her. The crowd continued to boo, until Serena stepped in to defend the woman who stood by her side.
"I just want to tell you guys, she played well. And this is her first Grand Slam," Serena told the attendees. "I know you guys were here rooting, and I was rooting too. But let's make this the best moment we can, and we'll get through it. Let's give everyone the credit where credit's due. Let's not boo anymore. We're going to get through this, and let's be positive. So congratulations, Naomi! No more booing."
The 36-year-old tennis pro faces violations for illegal coaching (which she vehemently disputed), for breaking her racket, and for verbal abuse against the referee. Her multithousand dollar fine will reportedly be deducted from her $1.85 million runner-up prize money. In a post-match interview, Serena expressed frustration with the unequal treatment of male and female players.
"I've seen other men call other umpires several things," she said. "And I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game? It made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He's never took a game from a man 'cause they 'thief.' For me, it blows my mind."
Acclaimed tennis star Billie Jean King weighed in on Twitter, and thanked Serena for addressing the double standard for men and women within the sport. This comes full circle, as the athletes accepted their prizes in the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
Ahead, see more powerful shots of Serena and Naomi sharing support, tears, and smiles together. To simply compete is incredible, to do it with such class is extraordinary.