Serena Williams claims she’d be ‘in jail’ if she lashed out like male star

The US tennis star claimed there were ‘double standards’ as she waded into Alexander Zverev row

Serena Williams has bemoaned what she sees as ‘double standards’ in tennis, claiming that she would have received a far harsher punishment that Alexander Zverev after the German was expelled from a tournament last month after violently lashing out at a chair umpire.

German world number three Zverev was removed from the field at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, Mexico, and hit with a $40,000 fine after he struck the umpire’s chair on several occasions with his racket in protest at what he saw as a bad call on the court. 

One of Zverev’s strikes came close to hitting the umpire Alessandro Germani on his leg.

Zverev would later offer his unconditional apologies on social media and admit that his actions were grossly out of order.

But speaking with CNN, Williams claimed that the conditions of Zverev’s punishment show that a double standard exists in the sport.

In 2009, Williams was placed on a two-year probation by tennis authorities after her own run-in with an umpire and was fined a sum of $175,000 for what was described as a ‘major offense of aggravated behavior’ during a US Open semi-final match with Kim Clijsters. 

“There is absolutely a double standard,” Williams said.

“I would probably be in jail if I did that – like, literally, no joke. I was actually on probation once.

“You see that (double standard) when you see other things happening on the tour, like, ‘wait – if I had done that? Hmm,” added Williams, considered by many to be the most dominant female player in history.

“But it’s okay. At the end of the day I am who I am and I love who I am.”

Williams had a similar complaint following her 2018 US Open final defeat to Naomi Osaka during which she was docked a game for calling umpire umpire Carlos Ramos a ‘thief’.

For me to say ‘thief’, and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief’,” she said after the match.

Williams had a notorious run-in with the umpire at the 2018 US Open final. © Mike Stobe / Getty Images for USTA


Williams, meanwhile, stands just one Grand Slam win behind Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24, something she says she hopes to equal this year and is targeting the French Open in May as the venue of what would be her history-making achievement.

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