Billie Jean King has issued a message of support to Serena Williams, suggesting the controversy that overshadowed the US Open final was the result of a "double standard" in the way male and female players are treated.
Williams became embroiled in a furious row with chair umpire Carlos Ramos during her 6-2 6-4 defeat to Naomi Osaka at Flushing Meadows, which culminated in the 23-time grand slam singles champion being docked a game.
The American initially objected strongly to being handed a coaching violation early in the second set, clearly feeling the sanction was an insult to her integrity.
(2/2) When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 9, 2018
Subsequent code violations for racquet abuse and verbal abuse followed, the latter punishment costing Williams a game and enraging the 36-year-old, who later complained she had been treated more harshly than male players.
After initially tweeting a message of congratulations to first-time slam champion Osaka, tennis great King made it clear she agreed with Williams' assessment.
"Several things went very wrong during the @usopen women's finals today," King wrote. "Coaching on every point should be allowed in tennis. It isn't, and as a result, a player was penalized for the actions of her coach. This should not happen.
"When a woman is emotional, she's 'hysterical' and she's penalized for it. When a man does the same, he's 'outspoken' & there are no repercussions. Thank you @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same."