WTA chief decries double standards in US Open Serena row

Serena Williams has angry words for chair umpire Carlos Ramos during her US Open final loss to Naomi Osaka on Saturday

WTA Tour chief executive Steve Simons Sunday backed Serena Williams's claim that sexism played a role in the code violations that sparked her US Open final meltdown.

Williams was handed three code violations -- and docked a point and then a game -- in her 6-2, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka in the Flushing Meadows final

Osaka out-played her childhood hero to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam, but her accomplishment was swamped in the controversy surrounding 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams.

The American superstar claimed that chair umpire Carlos Ramos meted out penalties for infractions that male players could have gotten away with.

"Yesterday also brought to the forefront the question of whether different standards are applied to men and women in the officiating of matches," Simons said in a statement.

"The WTA believes that there should be no difference in the standards of tolerance provided to the emotions expressed by men vs. women and is committed to working with the sport to ensure that all players are treated the same.

"We do not believe that this was done last night."

Williams was most incensed by the first code violation she received -- for coaching from her box.

It's not clear if she even saw the hand gestures by coach Patrick Mouratoglou sitting her box, and Simons said the sport as a whole should examine the rules on coaching.

"We also think the issue of coaching needs to be addressed and should be allowed across the sport," he said.

"The WTA supports coaching through its on-court coaching rule, but further review is needed.

"Yesterday's match showcased one of tennis' new stars as well as one of the greatest players of the game," Simons concluded.

"We look forward to more thrilling matches between these great athletes and hope that what we all witnessed yesterday never happens again."