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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Rachel Pott
Rachel Pott
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I am a marketing major about to start my second year at Northern Michigan University, however, this will be my third year in college. I previously attended a small community college...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

THE END — Me, sipping my tea, as I prepare for my last few days at Northern. Finishing college is a tad more anxiety-inducing than I expected, but it feels good nonetheless.
Opinion — A nervous editor's reflections on time spent at NMU
Harry StineDecember 8, 2023

Sexism sparks Serena in U.S. Open


During the second set of the U.S. Open championship match featuring Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, umpire Carlos Ramos issued Williams three code violations. The first was a warning that Williams was not to receive coaching in the middle of her game. This set off a firestorm of emotion in Williams, who snapped her racket in half during the championship and calling Ramos a “thief,” to which he responded by giving her two more penalties, which caused her to lose two more games in the last set. Williams demanded an apology from the intolerant umpire, exclaiming that he owed her an apology and that she had never cheated in her life. Williams would go on to lose the match, giving Osaka her first Grand Slam Championship Singles title. Williams was fined $17,000.

As someone who played tennis all four years of her high-school career, I understand the frustration of being outplayed in an important match. I personally, however, have never thought about snapping a racket in half. Not only could I certainly not afford to replace it, but the feeling of humiliation that followed would also never be worth it. I do understand, though, how easy it is in a singles match to put too much pressure on oneself because you have no partner for help or motivation; it is just you against your opponent. In a singles match, there is nobody to blame but yourself when performance is lacking.

Despite my personal feelings about what Williams should, or rather shouldn’t have done during her match, I recognize the evidence of a double-standard at play. Many male tennis players are known for their “tantrums” on the court. In the 1991 U.S. Open featuring Jimmy Connors and Aaron Krickstein, a bad call during a tiebreaker led Connors to having a meltdown. He went to umpire David Littlefield, yelling, “I’m out here playing my butt off at 39 years old and you’re doing that! Get your [blank] out the chair! Get your [blank] out of the chair! You’re a bum! You’re a bum!” Connors continued to call Littlefield an “abortion.” Regardless of Connors’ poor behavior, he received not one report or sanction. Although 1991 was decades ago, players could still be fined—where was his consequence? Where was his $17,000 fine?

Even acclaimed male tennis players James Blake and Andy Roddick called out the contradictions of treatment between male and female tennis players. Roddick tweeted in comparison to Williams, “I’ve regrettably said worse and I’ve never gotten a game penalty.” During a U.S. Open match in 2010 Roddick disagreed with a linewoman about a foot fault call, repeatedly ridiculing her and swearing on the court. Roddick received no penalties and the linewoman was replaced. Blake also took to Twitter, saying, “I will admit I have said worse and not gotten penalized. And I’ve also been given a ‘soft warning’ by the ump where they tell you knock it off or I will have to give you a violation. He should have at least given her that courtesy. Sad to mar a well played final that way.”

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Poor and erratic behavior of tennis players can be understandable to a point, but it is rude and unnecessary. However, the only thing worse than disgraceful sportsmanship on the court is the blatant discrepancy of standards that umpires impose. Apparently, women are supposed to be prim and proper on the court while men can pose fights with the umpire without penalty. It’s time for umpires like Ramos to accept that male and female tennis players are playing the same game, whether he likes it or not.

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