Jo Konta has stated that Serena Williams was wrong to bring the sexism argument into the most contentious tennis incident of the year, her near disqua
Jo Konta has stated that Serena Williams was wrong to bring the sexism argument into the most contentious tennis incident of the year, her near disqualification from the US Open final.
The British No 1 took time out from her pre-season to address the Oxford Union this week, and did not shy from discussing the American great’s furious outburst against umpire Carlos Ramos.
Williams later claimed that her gender had something to do with her treatment in losing to Japan’s Naomi Osaka, but Konta offered support to the Portuguese official.
‘I’m all for equal rights but I don’t necessarily always agree when you don’t like something, you brush it onto the inequality carpet and say because I’m a woman I didn’t get this,’ she said.
‘I don’t necessarily always agree with that approach. I think if you would look at this umpire’s history and that were to stand out, then yeah there is an argument to that.
‘But I think they took the stats specifically for the US Open and the men actually got significantly more code violations than the women.
‘The umpire was right, Patrick Mouratoglou (Williams’s coach) was coaching, he said so. He gave a coaching violation. I think that has to be taken separately to then what happened after.’
Konta, who is back in training and last week went on two-day camp in Buckinghamshire with GB Fed Cup team-mates, did have sympathy with the magnitude of the occasion getting to someone even as experienced as Williams.
‘One thing that is 100 per cent certain is that emotions are always incredibly high in a match, and I would imagine definitely more so in a Grand Slam final.
‘Everybody is human, including Serena Williams, and I think the US Open just brings that out of her. She has been disqualified once before at the same event, so bless her. I think she feels the stress there, that’s for sure.
‘However, I think you’ve also then got to look at the umpire. That specific umpire is a stickler for the rules. He gave coaching violations to Djokovic and to Nadal in different Slams.
‘I don’t believe that was a sexist issue personally. I believe it was emotions running high and things just snowballing. That’s what I believe… don’t hate me, Serena.
‘One thing you cannot take away from Serena is how passionate she is about women’s rights.
‘It is because of people like her and Billie Jean King that conversations are started, topics are put in the forefront and change can be made.’
Konta, who finished the year ranked 37, has been working with a new coach, Frenchman Dimitri Zavioloff, and is stepping up preparations for the Australian Open in the new year.