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Tennis sexism claims ‘far-fetched’ says Murray

Listen to Serena Williams’ on-court outburst

Britain’s Jamie Murray has rejected claims of men being treated more leniently than women by umpires.

Serena Williams was docked a game by Portuguese official Carlos Ramos for verbal abuse during her US Open final defeat against Naomi Osaka last week.

The American claimed it was “sexist” and her view was endorsed by former champion Billie-Jean King, who said there was a “double standard”.

But Murray said of the sexism claims: “I think that’s a bit far-fetched.”

Williams was seeking to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles and was facing 20-year-old Osaka at Flushing Meadows in her first major final.

The 36-year-old had already had a point penalty for smashing her racquet and a code violation for coaching when she was penalised further for calling Ramos a “thief” and a “liar” in New York.

Women’s governing body the WTA supported Williams and chief executive Steve Simon said the umpire showed her a different level of tolerance over her outbursts than if she had been a man.

The International Tennis Federation, meanwhile, defended 47-year-old Ramos and said he acted “at all times with professionalism and integrity”.

Speaking on the eve of Great Britain’s Davis Cup match with Uzbekistan in Glasgow, US Open mixed-doubles champion Murray added: “I think the umpire, he did what was within his rights.

“Coaching is common, a lot of people are doing it, some people aren’t getting called for it. To get called in a Grand Slam final was perhaps a bit tight, but I think the reaction was pretty overboard.

“I’ve seen a lot of people get called for coaching before, and you might have a grumble and stuff, but you get on with it.”

Ramos will umpire Croatia v USA in the Davis Cup this weekend and ahead of that tie, US men’s captain Jim Courier told the Associated Press news agency: “It’s been polarized and in some ways politicised. But we have no doubt that Carlos was just enforcing the rules as he sees them.”

American player Steve Johnson added: “Look, I don’t want this to come out the wrong way, but he enforced rules that have been enforced on me over the years.

“I’ve never been called for coaching, but the racket abuse, the verbal abuse, that’s just part of the sport. I think a lot of it maybe got over-amplified because it was the finals of the US Open.”

BBC Sport

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