CITY GIRL: In Serena, women should learn to stand up against bullies

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"So I was really happy that she said that. Do not worry about me!"

It is hard to know, and debatable, Navratilova mused, whether Williams could have got away with calling the umpire a thief if she was a male player, but she said focusing on that was missing the point. You owe me an apology.

A much more sinister plotline came from Serena's controversial penalization at Saturday's women's final against Naomi Osaka, with the 23-time Grand Slam victor accusing chair umpire Carlos Ramos of sexism.

"You can't make those points in a backroom meeting because no-one's going to listen to her".

"He's never took a game from a man because they said thief".

That was another compliment from the new US Open champion in recognition of the past champion's greatness, and - who to tell? - the woman who may eventually become, especially on results, the greatest ever.

She also called Ramos a "thief" for taking a point from her. The first variable is how often men and women actually commit these violations, rather than how often they get called on them.

Watching Serena throw her racket on the ground in frustration reminded me of the many times I have had to stop myself from flinging a chair or my high heel across the room towards a "subject" that clearly deserves it. It was not a pretty sight. "Professional tennis players, sometimes, I think we lose sight of that". Williams was being punished for being a prat, not because she was a woman, or indeed a woman of colour, as some people have suggested.

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Osaka, acknowledging that Serena is her idol and "It was always my dream to play Serena in a US Open finals", said she didn't feel bad because she understood that they wanted Serena to win and "I would have been pulling for her to win too".

Ramos followed established USTA rules and protocols with his penalties, even if there are those who believe he should have been more lenient-or would have been if different people had been playing.

But for whatever happened, none of it made it right for her to behave that way.

Probably the greatest tennis player of her generation, she has been an inspiration to young girls and athletes around the world.

Whether tennis learns anything from the incident is yet to be seen. Since she had already received a warning, this was her second offense and she lost a point.

Before taking on Serena Williams during Saturday's U.S. Open Women's Finals, the 20-year-old had two albums on constant repeat.

In many ways, it was not only an example of the best sports have to offer, but the best of what the world has to offer considering all of the first-class individuals from numerous countries who participate and compete to win the prestigious tournament.

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