The 2018 Women's U.S. Open Final will not be remembered as the first grand slam for winner, Naomi Osaka. Instead, it'll be the controversy that surrounded runner-up Serena Williams. The best tennis player in history called out line umpire Carlos Ramos after he docked her multiple points and eventually a game in the second set of her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Osaka. Now, tennis umpires might take drastic action as a response.
Serena told Ramos "I don't cheat to win" after he assessed a violation for alleged coaching during the match. Williams lost another point after breaking a racket on the court, and a third—thereby losing an important game in the second set—after she called him a "thief."
The snafu cost Williams $17,000, and the responses to what happened have vacillated between condemnation for Ramos' seeming double standard (he's been verbally abused by male players in the past, and did not dock them any points), and some criticizing Williams because her seeming histrionics ended up overshadowing Osaka's dominating win.
It's the former take––the backlash towards Ramos––that has the International Tennis Federation (ITF) upset, per ESPN. The ITF said Ramos' "decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules," and professional tennis umpires aren't happy. "The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA," said Richard Ings, a retired, elite Gold Badge umpire. "They are all fearful that they could be the next Ramos. They feel that no one has their back when they have to make unpopular calls."
The Times of London added that some officials felt umpires are "not supported" by the United States Tennis Association, and Ramos was "thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it." The Times then cited an anonymous source who speculated officials may boycott future Serena Williams matches.
However, Ings—who keeps in close contact with umpiring officials—said a boycott was unlikely because there's no governing body to organize. USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier told ESPN the organization had not heard about a possible boycott, but that the U.S. Open was an "opportunity to bring greater clarity and hold a conversation with officials about how things could have been better handled in terms of our policies."