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SEE DETAILS: U.S Open Rule Changes Enforced in Light Of Serena Williams & Carlos Ramos Clash



Serena Williams and Carlos Ramos clash

The US Tennis Association (USTA) has made several changes to officiating at the US Open following the dramatic women’s singles final of 2018.

A furious Serena Williams rowed with chair umpire Carlos Ramos in one of the most remarkable sporting moments in recent times, branding the Portuguese a ‘sexist’, a ‘liar’ and a ‘thief’ as she earned herself a game penalty.

The row spread far beyond the court – where champion Naomi Osaka was booed by a rabid Arthur Ashe crowd and Ramos was quickly ushered off court without receiving the traditional gift handed to umpires in Grand Slam finals – and split opinion around the globe.

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Tournament organisers have decided to keep Ramos out of the firing line as far as Serena – and her sister Venus Williams – is concerned by not putting him in the chair for any of the Williams’ sisters’ matches, including Serena’s high-profile first-round clash with Maria Sharapova.

‘Well, I mean, we have a slate of the best officials here for the 2019 US Open, and there is some flexibility,’ tournament referee Soeren Friemel said. ‘It’s not the first time that we made decisions that where it’s good for the tournament, good for the players, good for the umpires, as well, to not be on those matches.

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Exclusive— Queen Of The Racket Serena Williams 5.1 Million Pounds Beverly Hills Home… See Photo Inside

Exclusive— Queen Of The Racket Serena Williams 5.1 Million Pounds Beverly Hills Home… See Photo Inside

‘In the end, our goal is to assign the best chair umpire for the right match. So in taking all those factors into consideration, the decision was made that he would not do any of the Williams sisters’ matches.’

USTA chief executive of professional tennis Stacey Allaster was adamant the request did not come from Williams to keep the duo apart – despite the 23-time Grand Slam champion shouting during the final, ‘You will never, ever, ever be in another court of mine as long as you live’ – while Ramos is expected to remain in contention for other big matches. ‘No, no, the request has not come in,’ Allaster said.

‘This is our collective decision. We want to focus on the competition. I talked to their teams at all times.’ Friemel added: ‘Carlos has worked all the other Grand Slams. He has done Davis Cup, Fed Cup, he’s going to the Davis Cup finals. He’s considered still for all high-profile matches.’

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In addition to keeping them apart, fans inside the stadiums will now have more information available to them regarding code violations – with umpires’ decisions flashing on screens – and with various timekeeping laws that range from the shot clock to change of attire breaks.

To avoid confusion in terms of application of rules in future, the tournament is also making match officials more widely available to broadcasters and in the semi-finals and finals of this year’s tournament a match official will communicate throughout the match on Twitter and explain the rules.

Another rule that has come into focus this season is the age eligibility rule. Cori “Coco” Gauff stole headlines during her dash through qualifying to the fourth round at Wimbledon but at just 15 years old there are restrictions on how much she is allowed to play.

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However, despite reaching the limit of WTA Tour-level wildcards she can obtain, Grand Slams are allowed to act of their own accord and she was subsequently handed one for her home Slam. ‘Obviously we’re aware of and supportive of the age eligibility rule that the WTA has,’ Chief umpire Jake Garner said.

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‘We understand that works beautifully in a week-on, week-out situation through the course of the year of the tour. ‘At the same time, our wildcard committee takes into account performance through the course of the year, and the opportunity for a player to come on a big stage perhaps a little bit sooner than normally, the WTA would allow. ‘Our wildcard committee is comfortable that Coco can handle it, and that’s why she was awarded the wildcard.’

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