Carlos Ramos, the tennis umpire at the center of U.S. Open controversy, broke his silence at midweek and pushed back on Serena Williams’ accusations of sexism and racism.
“I'm fine, given the circumstances,” he told Portuguese newspaper Tribuna Expresso in a story reported on by The New York Times. “It's a delicate situation, but umpiring ‘a la carte’ doesn't exist. Don't worry about me.”
Meanwhile, other umpires have banded together in support of Ramos and are reportedly considering boycotting Williams’ matches, The Times of London reported.
“The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA,” Richard Ings, a retired, elite Gold Badge umpire told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “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.”
Ramos told the Tribuna Expresso he has kept a low profile to avoid problems and has avoided social media, The New York Times noted.
He has received a flood of messages of support from family members, colleagues, players and former players, according to the report.
Ramos drew widespread attention over the weekend after he handed Williams a series of code violations during her U.S. Open final loss to Naomi Osaka.
Ramos first issued Williams a code violation warning for coaching after he reportedly saw her coach give hand signals from the stands, which later resulted in a $10,000 penalty fee.
In her frustration, Williams smashed her racket, earning her a point penalty and later a further $3,000 penalty fee.
When she retaliated by confronting him, Ramos gave her a game penalty for verbal abuse, which later cost her $4,000.
At a news conference following the game, Williams accused Ramos of sexism – a comment that gained the support of the Women's Tennis Association and the U.S. Tennis Association.
However, the International Tennis Federation defended Ramos, saying his “decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules,” The Associated Press reported.
More debates was sparked earlier this week after an Australian cartoonist depicted Serena Williams throwing a tantrum at the U.S. Open and drew widespread criticism for being “sexist and racist.”
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