US Open Fiasco: Respect for the game and opponent underscored

When Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams met for this year’s US Open Championship, the Japanese was gunning for her first major title while a win for the American will tie her for the most singles Grandslam titles won in tennis history.

This was a dream scenario for a championship.

Add to these facts the condition that an unknown who idolizes her opponent, rose to the occasion to bag her first grandslam against probably the Greatest Female Tennis Player of All-time.

These were all lost because an umpire decided to put his act into the match that affected the result and the hometown favorite would refuse to let go of a violation called on her, causing to earn two more penalties, to continue her chase for a place in history.

Like it or not, either or both umpire Carlos Ramos and 23 Grand Slam singles title holder Williams contributed to the stealing of thunder supposedly reserved for Osaka.

It’s funny when I say this because one of the supposed reasons why this fiasco happened was because of a “stolen” point.

To put it in a nutshell for those who live under a sock and still don’t have any idea what transpired, the friction between Ramos and Williams started when Williams made visual contact with her coach who was seating on the stands and seemingly exchanged some gestures, an act prohibited by tournament rules.

Ramos perceived it as off-court coaching and handed a code violation that resulted to a 15-0 count in favor of Osaka upon resumption of play.

Williams started her rant immediately after that which includes she doesn’t cheat and she has a child.

Williams would later then smash her racket after losing a game. This led to Ramos issuing a second code violation for racket abuse resulting to Osaka being given another point.

Williams then called Ramos a thief and a liar. She also asked for an apology from him and indicated that he should never share a court she played on.

This led to another code violation issued by Ramos, this time for verbal abuse of an official, and giving Osaka a game.

It is at this point that tournament officials rushed on court to intervene and allow the match to continue.

Osaka refused to be fazed by the turn of the events and sealed the victory.

After the match, Williams continued the rant at a post-game press conference by highlighting sexism, that men get away from acts like this while women don’t, and that she is fighting for women rights.

It is for these circumstances that game officials should have a great deal for objectivity and patience. Fans attend sporting events because to see the protagonists play and not the officials officiate.

While officials should enforce the rules of the games to invoke fairness of play, maximum tolerance to showing of emotions and frustrations should still be the primary consideration in order for the players themselves to dictate the result of the match.

It is really a shame when game officials do things other than to officiate the game, especially lending a hand on the outcome of the game.

It is also a shame when a player disrespects an opponent by assuming the outcome of a competitive match depends solely on the player.

Sports matches are like coins that have two sides. It’s not always true that a player losses a match. Sometimes, an opponent simply outplays the player.

A player can only do what is needed to be done, including how to handle the game officials officiate the game and hopes the opposing player doesn’t do it better.

Serena’s duty that day definitely includes handling game officials. Focus on the game, and not on the officials should have been one of the things she prepared for coming to the match.

Even the supposedly coaching she received from her coach could have been avoided had she not took a glance at him.

Osaka simply did both better than Williams. She played better and had better control on how the officiating affected her.

Meanwhile, the crowd spillover their booing act to the awarding ceremonies.

As Osaka was about to be handed the trophy that I think she won fair and square, all she hear was the jeering and booing everywhere. It is really hard to tell whether some of the jeers and boos were directed at her.

This is an issue that is difficult to dissect and more difficult to put an end to.

But I’m glad I saw Osaka continued to keep her focus and composure and kept doing her thing on the court. Based on what I saw, Osaka won the match. Serena did not loss it. I’m sure how not all readers agree with me but we are all entitled to our opinion, aren’t we.

It is for this reason that I dislike how Osaka act like she had to apologize for her victory because the crowd wanted the opposite result. She went to New York to win the US Open and may have to go through Williams to do that, which was what eventually happened.

I wonder how Williams would feel if Osaka suddenly forfeits the match as a result of her tirade.

I always put bigger value on a victory over an opponent that is at his or her best condition in a fairly officiated game. No excuses on why the loser failed to win except by being simply outplayed the rival.

I’m not sure who is to blame for this fiasco and have no intention to give my take on it as I would better hear what Ramos and Williams have to say about their acts and whatever they thought it stood for.

I’m sure, though, that the real victim did an admirable job of staying away from joining the fray in this argument and simply did what she had to do, beat her opponent on the hardcourt.

I’m also sure an apology is warranted and that it is 2018 US Open Winner Naomi Osaka who deserves it.

By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS

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