Male tennis stars are admitting they’ve said way worse than Serena Williams during matches—and never got penalized

The U.S. Open might be over for Serena Williams, but her fight against sexism in sports is not. And now, leading male figures in tennis are backing her up after she accused an umpire of sexism during her U.S. Open match against rising star Naomi Osaka on September 8th.

Here’s what happened: During the final match, the game’s umpire, Carlos Ramos, gave Williams three separate code violations—all of which she believes would not have been administered to a male player.

First, he issued Williams a warning over “coaching” because he thought her coach was signaling her on court (which is forbidden during a game). He then gave her a point penalty for smashing her racket, which prompted Williams to call him a “thief,” and resulted in Ramos giving her a third “verbal abuse” penalty that cost her points during a key moment.

In her post-match press conference, the 23-time Grand Slam champion took the opportunity to reflect on the sexism that still exists in tennis, as well as defend the right for women to show emotion.

"I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things," Williams said. "He’s never taken a game from a man because they said "thief."

But because Williams is a true professional, she went on to clarify that she doesn’t care that the game’s outcome didn’t work out in her favor. Instead, she’s focused on what this moment means for the future of women in sports.

"I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person that has emotions and that want to express themselves, and they want to be a strong woman, and they’re going to be able to do that because of today. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person," Williams said.

Watch her empowering press conference below:

The tennis match—and the clear double standard—made headlines, and led male tennis pros Andy Roddick and James Blake to confirm the blatant bias that took place. Following the incident, they both took to Twitter to support Williams, as well as admit they’ve done way worse with zero punishment.

We’re glad these men are using their position of privilege to help call out sexism when they see it. And, as usual, we’re inspired by Serena Williams for speaking her truth and advocating for female athletes everywhere.

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