Umpire Who Clashed With Serena Williams Won’t Work Her Matches
Nearly a year ago, the tennis umpire Carlos Ramos and Serena Williams clashed during her loss to Naomi Osaka in the women’s final of the 2018 United States Open.
Ramos has yet to work another match involving Williams, and it will not happen at this year’s U.S. Open either.
In an interview this week, Stacey Allaster, the chief executive for professional tennis at the United States Tennis Association, confirmed that Ramos would return as part of the umpiring staff at this year’s Open but would not be assigned to matches involving Williams or her older sister Venus.
“We don’t need to go there,” Allaster said in a telephone interview. “There are more than 900 matches here over the three weeks, and there are lots of matches for Carlos to do.”
Allaster said tournament officials did not want to create a distraction by putting Williams and Ramos back on the same court.
“We want to be focused on the competition and want to go forward,” Allaster said. “This is just for 2019. Let’s just not put everyone in that spotlight. It’s not necessary.”
Ramos, a veteran Portuguese umpire based in France, called three code-of-conduct violations against Williams, eventually docking her a point and then a game as she lost to Osaka, 6-3, 6-4.
Williams was later fined $17,000 by the U.S. Open.
She was penalized by Ramos for verbal abuse after calling him “a liar” and “a thief,” rejecting his judgment that her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, was breaking the rules by communicating with her during the match.
Mouratoglou later admitted that he had been sending Williams signals, but Williams has said that she never saw them. She also smashed her racket on the court, incurring an automatic penalty.
A coaching violation can be called even if a player does not see the coaching.
Ramos also called a coaching violation against Venus Williams for receiving hand signals from her coach at the time, David Witt, during the 2016 French Open.
Opinion remains deeply divided about the way the 2018 U.S. Open final was handled.
Although there was criticism of Ramos’s performance from the women’s tour chief Steve Simon, the International Tennis Federation, the sport’s global governing body, offered Ramos its full support.
“It’s important to remember that Mr. Ramos undertook his duties as an official according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity,” the I.T.F. said in a statement released shortly after the final.
It is common practice on tour for umpires and players to be kept apart for a time after a high-profile blowup. ATP executives refer to this euphemistically as “a vacation.”
There is no indication how much longer the Williams-Ramos vacation will last.