Wimbledon chairman Philip Brook said Serena Williams’ meltdown in the US Open final was “not a good look for tennis”, though he insists it would never happen at the All England Club.
Williams was at the centre of a controversial straight-sets loss to Naomi Osaka in New York, where the former world number one directed a remarkable rant towards chair umpire Carlos Ramos.
The 37-year-old American superstar claimed women are treated differently to men after she received a series of code violations on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Seeking a 24th grand slam, Williams was initially outraged at receiving a code violation for coaching, insisting she had not taken guidance from her box, and then picked up a point penalty for racquet abuse before a prolonged tirade at Ramos resulted in a game being docked for verbal abuse – the veteran calling the umpire a “thief” and a “liar”.
Discussing the incident, Brook believes seven-time Wimbledon champion Williams was under pressure in front of her home crowd, while Ramos was doing his job.
“People said to me, would that happen at Wimbledon?” Brook told reporters. “My first reaction is maybe it could, but actually I do wonder [about] the uniqueness of the circumstances in New York.
“You have a very partisan crowd who really wanted Serena to win. There is a huge amount resting on this one match because she is one match away from equalling Margaret Court’s record [of 24 grand-slam titles].
“It is a bit cauldron-like. When they walk on court, it’s not like a Wimbledon final. The final of Wimbledon [where Williams had lost to Angelique Kerber eight weeks earlier] was similar in some senses but it wasn’t her home crowd in her home country. I could imagine the pressure on her being even greater than ever because of those circumstances, and we all saw what happened.
“I think she was under a lot of pressure, I think he [Ramos] was doing his job and what unfolded, unfolded. It was not a good look for tennis.”