The fine of $17,000 handed to Serena Williams was relatively insignificant compared with the $1.85 million she received for finishing as runner-up at the U.S. Open. But, the ramifications of what caused it continue to divide the world of tennis.
During Saturday's controversial final, in which Naomi Osaka provided Japan with its first tennis Grand Slam singles champion, Williams was cited three times for code violations in which she called chair umpire Carlos Ramos a "liar" and a "thief." She also alleged he treated her differently than male players.
Williams, who is still seeking a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam singles title, was handed a warning for a coaching violation, before being deducted a point for smashing her racket in another violation. She then had a heated argument with Ramos, resulting in her being docked a game during the second set in a third violation.
As the first violation was announced, Williams approached the umpire's chair to say she never takes coaching when on a competitive court and would rather lose than "cheat to win."
"I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff and for me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark," said Williams after the final. "He's never took a game from a man 'cause they said 'thief,' for me it blows my mind!"
Tennis great Billie Jean King, who won 12 Grand Slam titles of her own, said on social media: "When a woman is emotional, she's 'hysterical' and she's penalized for it. When a man does the same, he's 'outspoken' and there are no repercussions."