Serena Williams attempt at a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title at the 2018 U.S. ended in controversy with Naomi Osaka taking home the first major victory of her pro career while the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York booed.
Osaka took down Williams 6-2, 6-4 and became the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam final.
The match ended in controversy and boos thanks to violations leveled by the chair umpire during the second set.
Osaka got off to a commanding start in the first set, then prevailed in what turned out to be a stunning second set. As Serena was attempting to play herself back into the match, she was warned because her coach was allegedly making hand signals, which is a code violation. Williams was upset by the violation, claiming that her coach was simply giving her a thumbs up and demanding an apology from chair umpire Carlos Ramos.
"You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life! I have a daughter and I stand for what's right for her," Williams told Ramos on the court. "I don't cheat to win. I'd rather lose."
Williams remained upset and later smashed her racket on the court, which resulted in another violation -- this time resulting in a point penalty. The penalty made the 36-year-old Williams even more angry, leading to her further chastising Ramos -- including calling him a "thief." Eventually, a full game penalty was leveled against Williams for berating an official.
During the trophy ceremony, Williams addressed the crowd and its loud booing saying, "I don't want to be rude, I don't want to do questions. [Naomi] played well. This is her first grand slam," Williams said. "I know you guys were here rooting and I was rooting too, but let's make this the best moment we can and we'll get through it. Let's give everyone the credit where credit's due. And let's not boo anymore. We're gonna get through this and let's be positive. Congratulations, Naomi! No more booing."
Osaka then also responded to booing from the audience. "I know that everyone was cheering for [Serena] and I'm sorry it had to end like this.
During a press conference, Williams criticized the calls from Ramos as sexist.
"I've seen other men call other umpires several things and I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality ... and for me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark," Williams said. "He's never took a game from a man because they said thief. For me, it blows my mind. But I'm going to continue to fight for women."