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Tennis Legend Billie Jean King Slams Sexist Double Standard in Tennis and Defends Serena Williams

The tennis legend spoke out in a blistering op-ed after the U.S. Open.
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Serena Williams lost the U.S. Open Women’s Final against Naomi Osaka on Saturday after a controversial clash with the tennis match’s umpire, Carlos Ramos. Now, in an op-ed for the Washington Post, fellow tennis great Billie Jean King has stood up for Williams, and spoken out against what she calls a sexist double standard in tennis.

During the match, Ramos gave Williams a violation for illegal coaching from her player box, a second penalty for slamming her racket on the court, and a third for apparently verbally abusing the umpire. "You will never, ever, ever be on another court of mine as long as you live," Williams told him. "You are the liar. When are you going to give me my apology? You owe me an apology. Say it. Say you’re sorry. And you stole a point from me. You’re a thief, too!" She was later fined $17,000 for breaking three code violations.

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King noted women are “taught to be perfect” but shouldn’t be held to an impossible standard. “I found myself in similar situations in my career; once, I even walked off the court in protest. It wasn’t my proudest moment, but it may have been one of my more powerful ones,” King wrote.

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“I understand what motivated Williams to do what she did. And I hope every single girl and woman watching yesterday’s match realizes they should always stand up for themselves and for what they believe is right. Nothing will ever change if they don’t.”

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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