Opinions are divided over Serena Williams' incredible outburst during yesterday's US Open final defeat to Naomi Osaka.
Williams, 36, a 23-time single grand slam champion, was given three separate code violations in yesterday's loss in New York, resulting in Osaka being awarded a crucial point penalty which gifted her game seven of the second set, then an even more crucial game penalty to gift her the next game, and a 5-3 second set lead.
After the point penalty, Williams unleashed a furious outburst towards the match officials, delaying play for several minutes, culminating in her calling chair umpire Carlos Ramos "a thief".
In a column for the Washington Post, Sally Jenkins leapt to Williams' defence, pointing the finger squarely at umpire Ramos.
"Ramos made himself the chief player in the women's final, Jenkins wrote.
"He marred Osaka's first grand slam title and one of Williams' last bids for all-time greatness. Over what? A tone of voice.
"Male players have sworn and cursed at the top of their lungs, hurled and blasted their equipment into shards, and never been penalised as Williams was in the second set of the US Open final."
Meanwhile, Slate's Josh Levin was quick to spread the blame between Williams and Ramos equally.
"I would even go so far as to say she was personally wronged by all of these decisions. But ... that's sports. Controversial, iffy calls are so commonplace as to be banal, and overcoming these sorts of calls is a totally normal thing for champions to have to do," Levin wrote.
"Usually, Serena Williams has been able to do that. (Twenty-three Grand Slams!) In [her 2009, 2011, and 2018 U.S. Open meltdowns], she failed publicly and spectacularly. That doesn't mean she's an awful person. But it doesn't mean she's blameless either."
Comedian Kevin Hart supported Williams, tweeting: "The definition of a champion is displaying class when necessary and that's exactly what you did by giving your opponent her moment and making the crowd give it up for her. You are forever a champion....WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!"
Australian great Margaret Court had harsh words for Williams, writing:
"We always had to go by the rules," Court, who dominated tennis during the 1960s and early 1970s, said according to a report in The Australian.
"It's sad for the sport when a player tries to become bigger than the rules."
Tennis writer Nick Nemeroff though, debunked any notion of sexism towards Williams, pointing out that the punishment was in fact for three code violations, saying:
"Male players are often penalized for these things. They usually don't get a game taken away because it wasn't their third violation."
"The fact that this took a game away from Serena is blowing this out of proportion."