The umpire at the centre of the Serena Williams controversy has broken his silence on the incident and defended his actions during a heated Saturday’s US Open final.
Talking to Tribuna Expresso in his native Portugal, Carlos Ramos said: “I’m fine, given the circumstances. It’s a delicate situation, but ‘à la carte’ arbitration does not exist. Do not worry about me!”
Ramos’s handling of the final has split the tennis world in two, with the initial criticism he faced counter-balanced with support from former officials and players.
Among the most vocal critics were the United States Tennis Association (USTA) president Katrina Adams and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) CEO Steve Simon – both of whom backed Williams’ accusations of sexism against Ramos. But Ramos has received widespread support from former officials and was publicly backed by his employer the International Tennis Federation (ITF) on Monday.
The ITF’s belated support reflected the growing consensus that Ramos handled the situation impressively in what were very difficult circumstances.
Ramos gave three code violations to Williams – for on-court coaching, racket abuse and verbal abuse – all of which were justified, and between them added up to a game penalty. The final offence saw Williams call Ramos “a liar” and “a thief”.
Ramos also confirmed on Tuesday that he will return to the umpire’s chair for this weekend’s Davis Cup clash between Croatia and the United States.
The tie will be given added intrigue by the way in which the USTA’s president Adams publicly questioned Ramos in the aftermath of Saturday’s final. Speaking to ESPN the day after, she said: “We have to have consistency, because when you look at what the women, in this case Serena, is feeling, we watch the guys do this all the time. They are badgering the chair umpires on the changeover. Nothing happens.”
Adams has subsequently been criticised for publicly undermining a well-respected official, who has no history of sexism.
The Davis Cup tie between Croatia and the United States starts on Friday and finishes on Sunday.