Carlos Ramos, the chair umpire at the centre of the sexism scandal that broke out during the US Open Women’s Singles final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, has spoken out for the first time since, and said that 'a la carte' arbitration does not exist.
According to a report in The Telegraph, Ramos told Tribuna Expresso in Portugal, "I'm fine, given the circumstances. It's a delicate situation, but 'a la carte' arbitration does not exist. Do not worry about me!"
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) and Women's Tennis Association (WTA) had come out in support of Williams’ charges of sexism against Ramos, but the umpire since, has received widespread support from officials and has also been given full backing by his employer the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
"Carlos Ramos is one of the most experienced and respected umpires in tennis. Mr. Ramos' decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules and were re-affirmed by the US Open's decision to fine Serena Williams for the three offences," an ITF statement said.
"It is understandable that this high profile and regrettable incident should provoke debate.
"At the same time, it is important to remember that Mr. Ramos undertook his duties as an official according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity."
During the course of the final, Ramos gave three code violations to Williams, one each for on-court coaching, racket abuse and verbal abuse. In case of the final violation, Serena had called Ramos "a liar" and "a thief".
The experienced umpire confirmed that he would be returning to the chair this weekend when Croatia take on USA in the Davis Cup.
The contest is likely to have an extra edge after the USTA's president Katrina Adams was one of the most vocal critics of Ramos. She told ESPN a day after the final that Ramos would not have meted out such harsh punishments had he been dealing with male players.
The Davis Cup tie between Croatia and the United States starts on Friday and finishes on Sunday.
Chair umpires and other officials are also unhappy about the lack of official support for Ramos after his actions against Serena Williams.
"The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA," Richard Ings, a retired, elite Gold Badge umpire told ESPN on Tuesday. "They are all fearful that they could be the next Ramos. They feel that no one has their back when they have to make unpopular calls."
The Times of London Tuesday, reported that "there was a growing consensus that umpires were 'not supported' by the USTA on several occasions, and that Ramos was 'thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it.'"
The report has also cited an anonymous source who claims that officials were thinking along the lines of a boycott of future matches involving Serena Williams.
Ings though clarified that any organized action is unlikely because there is no "umpire's union" that might orchestrate a boycott. Besides, there are only two or three top-level, professional Gold Badge umpires at any given tournament.
"Umpires are just upset," Ings added. "They're thinking 'what if?'"