Entertainment Celebrity Serena Williams doubles down on sexism claims

Serena Williams doubles down on sexism claims

Serena Williams leaves referee Brian Earley in no doubt how she feels about being repeatedly penalised for court violations. Photo: AP/Adam Hunger
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A week after her US Open final meltdown, a defiant Serena Williams has spoken to an Australian TV show, doubling down on the controversial outburst that sparked a tennis firestorm.

In her first interview since she accused central umpire Carlos Ramos of sexism on September 8, Williams refused to give ground, insisting she was fighting for women’s rights.

Williams also denied she cheated during the match, which ended with Japan’s Naomi Osaka, 20, claiming her first Grand Slam title in sensational circumstances.

In a preview clip on Ten’s The Sunday Project, Williams said she didn’t receive any help from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

Mouratoglou’s actions led to the first of Williams’ three code violations and prompted a heated on-court exchange.

He acknowledged after the match that he was coaching Williams, but said she didn’t look at him. He also claimed Osaka’s coach was coaching her.

“He said he made a motion,” Williams, 36, said of Mouratoglou in The Project clip.

“I don’t understand what he was talking about. We’ve never had signals.”

The 23-time Grand Slam champion called Portugal’s Ramos a “liar” and “thief” after her gave her a warning for being coached from her box in the second set of the final.

Saying she would rather lose than cheat, Williams called for tournament referee Brian Earley and complained she was being treated differently to male players.

In the interview, due to be aired in full on September 23, Williams backed up her sexism accusations.

I just don’t understand. If you’re a female you should be able to do, even half, of what a guy can do.”

After the final, Williams scored a $24,000 fine for three code violations: the coaching, smashing her racquet and launching a verbal tirade at Ramos.

While she’s stayed active on her social media accounts, the mother-of-one has stuck to domestic and business posts rather than addressing her infamous outburst.

She captioned a photo of husband Alexis Ohanian and baby Olympia “The two best parts of my life” and posted a couple of mother-daughter photos:

The posts drew mixed reaction from Williams’ 9.7 million Instagram followers, with some calling the tennis player “such an inspiration” for her stance at the Open and others attacking her.

“Fight your own battles Serena … but don’t bring in the fact that you’re a woman into the argument. You’re not representing women, you’re representing your own affected ego,” said one.

“How exhausting it must be”, noted another wryly in reaction to Williams’ post about relaxing at a five-star New York hotel and falling asleep while watching videos.

While Williams has yet to publicly be heard on the subject of the Mark Knight cartoon in Melbourne’s Herald Sun that added further fuel to the Open controversy, her husband Alexis Ohanian broke the family’s silence.

Taking to social media, Reddit founder Ohanian, 35, launched a defence of his wife after the Herald Sun greeted the reaction to Knight’s cartoon with its own refusal to apologise: “Welcome to PC World”: