Tennis superstar Serena Williams was fined $17,000 for three code violations during Saturday’s U.S. Open final where she lost 6-2, 6-4 to Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
The American great was penalized a game when she criticized the chair umpire for a controversial call and labelled him a “thief.”
Osaka made history by becoming the tournament’s first female Japanese Grand Slam champion, but the match had been overshadowed by the tense confrontation between Serena and chair umpire Carlos Ramos.
The tournament referee’s office announced Sunday it docked Williams $10,000 for “verbal abuse” of Ramos, $4,000 for being warned for coaching and $3,000 for breaking her racket.
The fine would be deducted from her prize money of $1.85 million as the runner-up.
The first violation came when Ramos ruled that Williams was receiving illegal coaching from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou. Williams shot back at the umpire and insisted she was not receiving coaching and that she would “rather lose” than cheat.
Williams received a second violation when she smashed her racquet in frustration. She continued to yell at the chair umpire several times about the initial penalty.
“I didn’t get coaching,” Williams said multiple times. “I don’t cheat! I didn’t get coaching. How can you say that? You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life!”
The third violation — verbal abuse — came when she called the umpire a “thief,” leading to an automatic game loss.
“You stole a point from me; you’re a thief, too,” she insisted.