Tennis bodies say change is needed

Serena Williams has been fined US$17,000 for the code violations she received during the US Open final, the United States Tennis Association said on Sunday.

NEW YORK • The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said on Sunday that it would review its communication policies after a string of umpiring controversies at the US Open.

Umpire Mohamed Lahyani was reprimanded by organisers for going "beyond protocol" when he climbed down from his chair to give Nick Kyrgios a mid-match pep talk during the Australian's second-round match against Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

His colleague Christian Rask then came in for criticism after he handed a code violation to Alize Cornet after she removed her shirt on court as it was on backwards. The tournament subsequently released a statement saying it regretted that she had been given a violation.

And last Saturday, former world No. 1 Serena Williams was handed three penalties by Carlos Ramos during the second set of her final against winner Naomi Osaka, sparking a firestorm of debate.

USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier said: "These incidents will prompt us to analyse ways of perhaps instituting some change. It could potentially help everybody if there was some more consistency to this."

The Women's Tennis Association on Sunday also expressed disappointment over the handling of the final. "(The WTA) is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same. We do not believe that this was done last night," chief executive Steve Simon said.

He also called for coaching, one of the offences for which Williams received a violation, to be permitted, with Widmaier confirming plans are in place to review that issue.

Craig Tiley, the Australian Open tournament director, also weighed in on the debate yesterday, saying that coaching - which is allowed at WTA events, but not at ATP or Grand Slam events - remained a grey area.

  • $23k

    Fine (US$17,000) Serena Williams was handed for her outbursts and three code violations during the US Open final.

Mark Kovacs, executive director of the International Tennis Performance Association, added that the officiating controversies at the US Open had to lead to change. "Consistency in the application of the rules is clearly needed," he said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2018, with the headline 'Tennis bodies say change is needed'. Print Edition | Subscribe