Almost one year ago Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos clashed in one of the most heated moments in tennis history in the final of the US Open – now officials are making moves to avoid a repeat.
The fiery scenes in Williams’ loss to Naomi Osaka culminated in tears for both tennis stars and left the American champion calling umpire Ramos a “liar” and a “thief” – after he slapped her with a code violation for receiving coaching during the second set of the match.
In the video above: Serena’s US Open meltdown
The tennis GOAT was furious at the accusation, and soon after received a point penalty from Ramos for smashing her racket, before copping a game penalty for her verbal abuse of the Portuguese official.
Serena then accused Ramos of sexism – saying she’d seen men do far worse on court without receiving the same punishments.
Stacey Allaster, the chief executive for professional tennis at the United States Tennis Association, has now revealed that although Ramos will be returning to umpire at this year’s US Open, he will not be officiating in any matches involving Serena or her sister Venus.
“We don’t need to go there,” Allaster told The New York Times.
“There are more than 900 matches here over the three weeks, and there are lots of matches for Carlos to do.”
Allaster insisted that tournament officials didn’t want to create any distraction at the event starting on August 27 (AEST).
“We want to be focused on the competition and want to go forward,” Allaster said.
“This is just for 2019. Let’s just not put everyone in that spotlight. It’s not necessary.”
The 37-year-old tennis great was fined AU$25,000 for the outburst against Ramos by the US Open.
She insisted she was receiving no coaching from her player’s box throughout the match, although her coach Patrick Mouratoglou did later admit he was giving her signals.
Injured Serena in some doubt for US Open
Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Cincinnati Masters, citing a back problem which forced her to pull out of the Rogers Cup final at the weekend.
The American was due to face Zarina Diyas in the first round in Ohio on Tuesday and her latest setback places her in some doubt for the US Open.
“I am so sad to withdraw … I came to Mason on Sunday and have tried everything to be ready to play tonight, and was still hopeful after my practice this morning,” she said on the WTA site.
“But unfortunately my back is still not right and I know I should not take to the court.”
The 23-time grand slam winner retired while trailing 3-1 against Bianca Andreescu in Toronto as a Canadian woman took the Rogers Cup for the first time in 50 years.