Twenty four hours ago Serena Williams was an untouchable icon.
Now the world is divided about whether she’s a diva or a hero.
The mum-of-one came up against Japan’s Naomi Osaka in Saturday night’s US Open final.
Osaka, 20, would end up winning the match.
Although the 6-2 6-4 victory appeared routine, the one hour and 19 minute match will always been remembered for the confrontation between Williams and the chair empire, Carlos Ramos.
Osaka won the first set 6-2. Early in the second set, Ramos gave Williams a coaching violation after he allegedly witnessed a hand gesture from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
Mouratoglou later admitted to ESPN he “was 100 per cent coaching”, but at the time Williams denied the allegation.
“I know you don’t know that and I understand why you thought that was coaching but I’m telling you it’s not,” she said.
Later, Williams was leading 3-2 in the second set. Then she smashed her racquet after dropping serve at 3-3.
Ramos docked her a point in accordance with the International Tennis Federation’s penalty schedule, which says the first code violation is a warning and the second is a point penalty.
According to ABC News, the same thing happened to Williams during the 2009 US Open semifinal when she was up against Kim Clijsters. In this instance, Williams was warned after smashing a racquet and then was docked a point after threatening a lineswoman who foot-faulted her.
On Saturday night this move enraged Williams and she confronted Ramos on court.
“This is unbelievable. Every time I play here I have problems,” she said.
“What? That’s a warning. I didn’t get coaching. I didn’t get coaching. I didn’t get coaching. You need to make an announcement that I didn’t get coaching.
“I don’t cheat. I didn’t get coaching. How can you say that? You need to… you owe me an apology. You owe me an apology. I have NEVER cheated in my life.
“I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her and I never cheated. You owe me an apology. You will never do another one of my matches,” she added.
Later, Williams resumed her verbal attack on Ramos while Osaka was preparing to serve with a 4-3 lead.
“I explained that [I wasn’t getting coaching] to you and for you to attack my character… it’s wrong. You’re attacking my character. Yes, you are,” she said.
“You owe me an apology. You will never, ever, ever be on another court of mine as long as you live. You are the liar.
“When are you going to give me my apology? You owe me an apology. Say it, say you’re sorry.”
Ramos then announced that Williams had received a third penalty for verbal abuse.
“Code violation. Verbal abuse. Game penalty, Mrs Williams,” he said over the loud speaker.