Reports: Umpires consider boycott of Serena Williams matches, fearful of being 'the next Ramos'

As fallout continues from Saturday’s heated U.S. Open final that saw Naomi Osaka defeat Serena Williams in a match marred by conflict and controversy, tennis umpires are having their say.

They’re not pleased with Williams or what they see as a lack of support from the tennis world for chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who was on the receiving end of a heated outburst from the 23-time Grand Slam champion.

Report: Umpires considering boycott

The Times of London reports that there is a growing consensus that umpires feel they were “not supported by the USTA” on several occasions and cite one anonymous source claiming that umpires are considering boycotting matches played by Williams.

The source tells The Times that some umpires believe that Ramos was “thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it” and that they are considering “to refuse any match assignments involving Williams until she apologizes for vilifying Ramos and calling him a ‘liar’ and a ‘thief.'”

Williams was assessed three code violations during the the loss to Osaka. Ramos warned her against receiving coaching early in the second set, which Williams protested.

Williams accused Ramos of sexism, called him a thief

A frustrated Williams later smashed her racket and accused Ramos of sexism for assessing penalties that she believes he would not have given to a man. Williams called Ramos a thief and demanded an apology. The third code violation resulted in a game penalty for Williams.

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Serena Williams argues with chair umpire at US Open finals
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Serena Williams argues with chair umpire at US Open finals
Sep 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Serena Williams of the United States yells at chair umpire Carlos Ramos in the women's final against Naomi Osaka of Japan on day thirteen of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sept 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Serena Williams of the USA argues with tournament referee Brian Earley while playing Naomi Osaka of Japan in the women?s final on day thirteen of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; (L-R) Naomi Osaka of Japan, Serena Williams of the United States, and chair umpire Carlos Ramos talk after Ramos charges Williams with a game penalty in the second set in the women's final on day thirteen of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS
Sep 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; (L-R) Naomi Osaka of Japan, chair umpire Carlos Ramos, and Serena Williams of the United States during the women's final on day thirteen of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS
Sept 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Serena Williams of the USA argues with chair umpire Carlos Ramos (not pictured) while playing Naomi Osaka of Japan in the women?s final on day thirteen of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
2018 US Open Tennis Tournament- Day Thirteen. Serena Williams of the United States argues with chair umpire Carlos Ramos during her match against Naomi Osaka of Japan in the Women's Singles Final on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the 2018 US Open Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8th, 2018 in Flushing, Queens, New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
2018 US Open Tennis Tournament- Day Thirteen. Serena Williams of the United States argues with chair umpire Carlos Ramos after receiving a one game penalty during her match against Naomi Osaka of Japan in the Women's Singles Final on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the 2018 US Open Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8th, 2018 in Flushing, Queens, New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
2018 US Open Tennis Tournament- Day Thirteen. Serena Williams of the United States argues with chair umpire Carlos Ramos after receiving a one game penalty during her match against Naomi Osaka of Japan in the Women's Singles Final on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the 2018 US Open Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8th, 2018 in Flushing, Queens, New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
USTA BILLIE JEAN KING NATIONAL T, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2018/09/08: Serena Williams of USA reacts after receiving code violation during women's single final of US Open against Naomi Osaka of Japan at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Williams explained her anger in the post-match media conference.

“He never took a game from a man because he said ‘thief,'” Williams said. “For me it blows my mind, but I’m going to continue to fight for women. The fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person.”

Williams was later fined $17,000 for her outburst.

Retired umpire: Officials feel ‘abandoned by the WTA’

A former umpire echoed the concerns of The Times’ source with ESPN Tuesday. Richard Ings, a retired elite Gold Badge umpire described as having close ties with active umpires told ESPN that officials feel like the WTA doesn’t have their back. 

“The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA,” Ings told ESPN. “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.”

ITA supported Ramos

Ramos did receive the backing of the International Tennis Federation, which released a statement Monday in his support.

“Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis,” the statement reads. “Mr. Ramos’ decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were re-affirmed by the U.S. Open’s decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offenses.”

Ramos speaks

Ramos spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since the match in an interview with Tribuna Expresso in his native Portugal.

“I’m fine, given the circumstances,” Ramos said. “It’s a delicate situation, but a la carte arbitration does not exist. Do not worry about me.”

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