LOS ANGELES • Male tennis players are almost three times more likely to be fined for losing their temper and smashing rackets than their female counterparts, The New York Times reported on Saturday.
Male players were slapped with 1,517 fines compared to 535 fines for females, according to data compiled by officials at Grand Slam tournaments for the period from 1998 to 2018.
The figures obtained by the Times showed that men received 649 fines for breaking rackets to 99 for women in tens of thousands of matches in the four Grand Slams over the last two decades.
Men were fined 344 times compared to 140 times for women for "audible obscenity" and 287 to 67 for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Last week, Serena Williams accused the chair umpire Carlos Ramos of being a "liar" and a "thief" after she was cited for verbal abuse during the US Open women's final against Japan's Naomi Osaka.
"Because I'm a woman you are going to take this away from me?" she said to the tournament referee Brian Earley. "That is not right."
In the post-match news conference, she doubled down on her claim there is a double standard when it comes to punishment.
"I have seen other men call other umpires several things. I am here fighting for women's right and women's equality... and for me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was sexist," she said.
"He's never took a game from a man because they said 'thief'."
She also smashed her racket and threatened in the second set to make sure Ramos would never officiate in another match of hers again.
The incident led to scores of her supporters coming to her defence but also to widespread criticism, especially on social media, of the 23-time Grand Slam singles winner.
Her first code violation in the 6-2, 6-4 loss to Osaka was for coaching, which women have received 152 fines compared to 87 for men during the 20 years.
This was not the first time she has had a meltdown at the US Open. In 2009, she refused to apologise after threatening to shove a ball down a lineswoman's throat in an expletive-laden outburst.
Earlier this year at the Indian Wells tournament, she berated a female reporter in the players' lounge area for asking a question at a news conference about therapeutic use exemptions.