The 23-time Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams has raised allegations of double standards in meting out punishments to players by tennis referees on the basis of gender.
Just a week after tennis star Serena Williams said that she felt she was punished unfairly on the basis of gender by chair umpire Carlos Ramos during the US Open 2018 final, a report from New York Times has claimed that men players have been punished more often as compared to female players over the past two decades in Grand Slam tournaments. The 23 Grand Slams-winning player called Ramos a “liar” and a “thief” after she was cited for verbal abuse during US Open final against Naomi Osaka.
“There are men out here who do a lot worse than me, but because I’m a woman you are going to take this away from me? That is not right,” the 36-year-old protested to tournament referee Brian Early. Later, in the post-match conference, Williams said that there was a double standard in handing punishment to players. “I have seen other men call other umpires several things. I am here fighting for women’s right and women’s equality…. and for me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game it made me feel like it was sexist,” she said.
But as per a data analysis compiled by the Times, the male players were slapped with 1,1517 fines as compared to 535 fines for female players in the Grand Slam tournaments for the period between 1998 to 2018. The figures further revealed that male players have received 649 fines for breaking racquets as compared to 99 for women, while the former was fined 344 times for “audible obscenity” as compared to 140 for females. The male players were also fined 287 times for unsportsmanlike conduct as compared to 67 for female players.
The data was compiled for tens of thousands of Grand Slams matches which consisted of qualifying, main-draw singles and doubles over the 20-year period. The only disparity, as per the data, was for on-field coaching, in which women have received 152 fines as compared to 87 fines for men over the given time period.
The report from NYT adds that some of the disparities in data can be explained by the fact that men play longer matches as compared to women players. While men play best-of-five-set matches, women play best-of-three-set. It further adds that there are more men participating in Grand Slam tournaments since in the qualifying events, there are 128 spots available in singles for men at the Australia Open, French Open, and the Wimbledon, while only 96 spots available for women.
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