In light of the US Open women’s final kerfuffle, news has come out that the top umpires might boycott upcoming Serena Williams matches.
While that sounds interesting, it probably won’t amount to much, because like the NFL years ago, there will always be lower-tiered umpires ready and willing to step in. So who’s going to even notice?
And do we know when Serena will return to tennis? Melbourne?
But a more important point is raised. With the ITF defending Carlos Ramos, does that open the door for umpires to become more “by the book”?
One of the criticisms of umpires has been their lack of consistency. And with Mohammed Lahyani coaching-up Nick Kyrgios and now with Ramos, maybe going forward the best way to officiate a match is to go exactly by what the rulebook says.
No more leniency, no more “soft warnings”, no more giving players a break. Just call it by the book. And if there’s any sort of controversy, you can always cite that you were just following the rules.
Clearly, the umpires are not happy that the tournament and the WTA didn’t side with them. But let’s be honest, no one pays money to see Carlos Ramos in the chair, they pay to see Serena, so promoters and the women’s organization will back the money-making star. They have to cater to Serena, they have no choice. They can lose Carlos Ramos, but they can’t afford to lose the biggest draw in women’s sports and one of the biggest in the game.
And I think the umpires know that. They also know the only real way for them to collectively come together and send a message – again a boycott won’t work – is to tighten up their officiating.
It’s their call, let’s see if they make it.
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