Umpires are reportedly considering boycotting Serena Williams‘ matches after she butted heads with chair umpire Carlos Ramos during the contentious U.S. Open women’s singles final last weekend.
Williams, who called Ramos “a thief” and suggested that his actions were motivated by sexism, lost to Naomi Osaka, 20, after being given three violations.
Umpires are debating whether to bow out of working at Williams’ matches unless she apologizes for criticizing Ramos, The Times of London reported.
An official told The Times that umpires felt “not supported” by the United States Tennis Association. According to the official, umpires thought Ramos was “thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it.”
The Times noted that, as a result of the treatment of Ramos, umpires are coming together in a profession that lacks significant organization.
The International Tennis Federation came to Ramos’ defense on Monday. In a statement, the ITF said, “Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis. Mr. Ramos’ decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were re-affirmed by the US Open’s decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offences.”
The statement continued, “It is understandable that this high-profile and regrettable incident should provoke debate. At the same time, it is 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.”