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- Serena Williams was shown as an angry baby in a cartoon published Monday by the Australian newspaper the Herald Sun.
- The cartoon has faced a backlash for the way it depicts Williams’ losing her cool in Saturday’s US Open final against Osaka, who won in straight sets.
- Williams was slapped with a hat trick of code violations late in the match.
- You can see the cartoon below.
Serena Williams was portrayed as an angry baby in a cartoon published in the Australian newspaper the Herald Sun on Monday, two days after the 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion lost her cool in a dramatic US Open final.
Williams was given three code violations during her straight-sets loss to Naomi Osaka on Saturday.
The first violation was for coaching, which Williams argued against. “I don’t cheat to win – I’d rather lose,” she said.
Williams was later given a violation for smashing her racket, costing her a point. Her third violation, for calling the umpire Carlos Ramos a “thief,” cost her a game.
She repeatedly demanded an apology from Ramos. Speaking with the referee to protest Ramos’ call, she argued that male players weren’t punished for similar, or worse, actions. “Because I’m a woman, you’re going to take this away from me?” she said.
Williams was fined $17,000, which is deducted from her prize money of $1.85 million as the tournament’s runner-up, according to the Associated Press.
In response, the Herald Sun’s editorial cartoonist, Mark Knight, lampooned Williams in his latest piece.
Williams is shown with grotesque features including an oversize nose and lips and is pictured jumping up and down with a broken racket and a pacifier nearby, insinuating that Williams acted like a baby having a temper tantrum during the final.
The cartoon also pictures 20-year-old Osaka, one of the rising stars in women’s tennis, in the background, where the umpire tells her: “Can you just let her win?”
Here is the cartoon:
— Mark Knight (@Knightcartoons) September 10, 2018
The cartoon provoked an angry response on Twitter, where some users have also commented on how Osaka appears to be portrayed as a white, blond woman in the drawing.
“Regardless of the rights and wrongs of Williams’ behaviour, I really don’t like that cartoon at all,” one Twitter user said. “Why is Naomi Osaka suddenly transformed into a white, blonde player? Why is Carlos Ramos white too? And why are Serena Williams’ facial features distorted like that?”
Another Twitter user said: “Thank you for this cartoon. I will be sure to use it when I write about how Black women are treated and characterized for speaking up for themselves. The way you have drawn both women speaks volumes about who you are and how you feel about Black women. Shame.”
A polarizing US Open final
While Osaka beat Williams in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, headlines did not focus on her first major win, instead fixating on Williams’ hat trick of code violations.
The decision to reprimand Williams polarized the tennis industry and wider sporting press, especially after Williams claimed she had been treated differently than a male tennis player would have been. Ben Rothenberg, a freelance journalist for The New York Times, argued on Twitter that all sanctions were fair.
Mouratoglou admitted to ESPN that he coached.
Thus, the warning was correct by Ramos.
Then, racket abuse warning was indisputable.
Williams felt entitled to having coaching warning retracted, which never happens. So she ranted abusively, and got a third warning.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) September 8, 2018
The US tennis great Billie Jean King, however, suggested Williams had indeed identified a double standard in tennis.
(2/2) 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. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 9, 2018