Sue Barker believes “tennis was the loser” in a controversial US Open final – but said Serena Williams had a point when she criticised the umpire.
A series of incidents, which included the beaten American calling Carlos Ramos a “liar” and a “thief”, saw Williams penalised twice.
Afterwards the American said it was “sexist” to have been penalised a game.
“The umpire was following the rules by the book but Serena has a point,” said BBC Sport tennis presenter Barker.
Williams, who was beaten 6-2 6-4 by Naomi Osaka in New York, was given a code violation for coaching, followed by a penalty point for racquet abuse and finally a game penalty after accusing the umpire of lying.
“I’ve sat courtside watching the men ranting at umpires and they haven’t been given a violation,” added former French Open champion and world number three Barker.
“The fact that it was to be a game violation then robbed the crowd of what potentially could’ve been a third set.”
Williams, who was aiming to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, refused to shake hands with umpire Ramos after the match.
She later accused him of sexism, saying: “He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief’.”
“Both have a point – Serena saying the male players can say what they want to umpires,” added Barker, who was speaking to BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek programme.
“Earlier in the tournament we saw Alize Cornet being given a code violation for changing her shirt on court and then in the same tournament Mohamed Lahyani gets down from his chair to talk to Nick Kyrgios and persuade him not to give up on a match.
“He [Ramos] was following the rules by the book but sometimes the book has to be rewritten.
“You can’t have one rule for some players and some umpires don’t adhere to it and allow players to get away with things. They’ve just got to be fair to the players. Read more