John McEnroe: Serena Williams should not apologise over US Open drama

Shahida Jacobs
Serena Williams argues with match referee

John McEnroe has once again defended Serena Williams over the US Open final controversy, insisting that he has “done far worse”.

Going into the 2018 women’s final at Flushing Meadows, Williams was the bookmaker’s favourite, but lost her way. Naomi Osaka won in convincing fashion but the match would be remembered for all the wrong reasons as Williams’ frustration boiled over in a run-in with chair umpire Carlos Ramos.

The official gave her a couple of code violation for coaching and things escalated from there with the 23-time Grand Slam winner calling Ramos a “thief” and a “liar”, which ultimately resulted in her receiving a game penalty.

The American never apologised to the official and when asked if she should say sorry, McEnroe replied: “To who?”

During the post-match press conference Williams accused Ramos of sexism, suggesting that she would not have received the code violation if she was male, but McEnroe felt she was went too far.

He added in The Telegraph: “She used a lot of cards. If thief is the worst word she used, I have got some bad news for you. There are a lot of other players, including myself, in a lot of other sports, that have done far worse. Not that it is the best thing to be called a thief but come on.

“If I use a four-letter word and say that you are a blanking, blank, which let’s say hypothetically I have used in the past, do you think that would be worse than saying that you are a thief? To me it would be.”

McEnroe, though, feels ultimately the situation was handled badly by both Williams and umpire Ramos.

“She was wrong and so was the umpire,” he said. “They are both wrong. We all know that people coach all the time, right? This guy suddenly decides to call her on it in the final of the US Open. Really? She was upset about it, and then she went after the guy later in the set and obviously was venting.

“And then he was letting it go, you have got to say to her, in my opinion, ‘Look, if you keep going, that’s enough. I’m not letting you go any further.’ But you have got to give her the respect of a warning.

“I think he was wrong not to say: ‘If you say anything else, it is a game penalty’. I am not even sure she knew it was a game penalty. That just threw the whole thing. He became part of the whole thing. I think it was badly handled by all concerned.”

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