Australian newspaper cartoon of Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka draws global backlash.

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The illustrator behind a cartoon of Serena Williams during the US Open women’s final has defended his drawing after it was labelled “racist”.

Mark Knight’s cartoon, which appeared in the Herald Sun on Monday, has attracted criticism the world over since Knight tweeted it out to followers the same day.

Here’s the cartoon:

Many have accused Knight of creating both a “racist” and “sexist” depiction of not only Serena Williams, but also her opponent Naomi Osaka.

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The cartoon of an exaggerated Williams destroying a racqet with a dummy on the ground, referencing her three controversial violations during the match on Saturday, also appears to have cast her dark-skinned Japan-born opponent as a blonde, white woman.

On Twitter, critics did not hold back in sharing their disgust.

Even author JK Rowling weighed in.

Others went further, suggesting Knight had intentionally drawn Serena in the style of a historically racist ‘Sambo’ figure.

Mark Knight has defended his portrayal of Serena Williams in an article that appeared on the Herald Sun’s website on Tuesday morning.

Knight said he was “amazed” by the reaction to his cartoon, adding “the world has just gone crazy”.

“I drew this cartoon Sunday night after seeing the US Open final, and seeing the world’s best tennis player have a tantrum and thought that was interesting,” he said.

“The cartoon about Serena is about her poor behaviour on the day, not about race.

Earlier on Twitter, he pointed to a cartoon he drew of Australian player Nick Kyrgios as evidence that he wasn’t being sexist.

Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston on Tuesday defended his paper’s cartoonist.

“A champion tennis player had a mega tantrum on the world stage, and Mark’s cartoon depicted that.

“It had nothing to do with gender or race.”

What do you think? Was Mark Knight’s cartoon racist, sexist, or an overreaction?

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