Freddy Gray Freddy Gray

Serena Williams isn’t the victim of sexism – she’s just a sore loser

Serena Williams’s epic tantrum in last night’s US Open final wasn’t a noble stand against racism or sexism. It wasn’t about her being black, or a woman, or a mother — although of course it very quickly became about that, as tweeters and sports hacks climbed over each other to defend the Queen of Women’s tennis because she is a famous mega brand and her brand is about being black, a woman, and a mother.

But in our hearts we all know what really happened. Williams behaved like a bad loser then pretended to be a victim of societal injustice to justify her bratty performance. It was a pathetic and depressing spectacle. The most depressing and pathetic part was that the New York crowd — so keen to see their heroine win — indulged and encouraged her self-pitying, whining, angry display. The fans cheered her on as she berated the umpire Carlos Ramos. His sin? Having the temerity to try to do his job.

Ramos issued Williams with a code violation — perhaps harshly — for being coached during the match. Williams felt aggrieved, lost her cool and couldn’t get it back. She smashed a racquet. She screamed repeatedly at Ramos about how she never cheats, how she has a daughter (so?) and eventually told him he owed her an apology and that he was a ‘thief’. For this she was punished, then she lost, and the final as a sporting contest was ruined. For this she is being called a legend.

Serena Williams can lose without behaving like diva brat, but sometimes she can’t, and when she loses her temper she is a fairly awful human being. She tried to have it both ways too — bigging up her opponent, saying her row shouldn’t distract from Naomi Osaka’s achievement.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.

Or

Unlock more articles

REGISTER

Comments

Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in