Serena Williams Says She Wasn't Cheating During U.S. Open Final in New TV Interview
Serena Williams will address the U.S. Open women's final in an interview with Australia's The Project, this Sunday
In her first television interview since the dramatic 2018 U.S. Open women’s singles final earlier this month, Serena Williams doubled down on her denial that she was cheating during the match.
During the first set of the final on Sept. 8, the tennis star was given a violation from chair umpire Carlos Ramos for illegal coaching from coach Patrick Mouratoglou. Mouratoglou said later, “I’m honest, I was coaching. I don’t think she looked at me so that’s why she didn’t even think I was.”
“[Mouratoglou] said he made a motion,” Williams, 36, told Australian TV show The Project in a teaser of the interview released on Sunday night. “I don’t understand what he was talking about. We’ve never had signals.”
After the violation, Williams told Ramos on court, “I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose. I’m just letting you know.”
Williams lost the match to Naomi Osaka, 20, after a total of three violations — including one for smashing her racket — which added up to a fine of $17,000. She later said she felt the entire incident was “sexist.”
“I just don’t understand,” Williams told The Project while addressing male punishments for similar actions in the interview, which will air this Sunday. “If you’re female you should be able to do even half of what a guy can do.”
Many athletes have defended Williams, including tennis icon Billie Jean King and soccer player Abby Wambach.
“She’s the best in the world, so she’s going to get scrutinized the most; she’s a woman of color; she’s a woman; [and] she’s just coming back from having a baby,” Wambach told PEOPLE recently.
“She is a literal walking, breathing science experiment at how the world relates to people that are perceived as less than or marginalized,” Wambach continued. “What Serena got herself into, and what the world has witnessed, and what this guy, this umpire, has put out into the universe was just a microcosm of what’s been happening in our culture.”