Special for USA TODAY Sports
Published 10:51 PM EDT Sep 9, 2018
NEW YORK — It wasn’t all about winning the US Open for Novak Djokovic during his time with the media after posting a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory over Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday.
Djokovic was asked by a British journalist if cared to offer an opinion on what transpired during the controversial women’s final with Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos. Williams was fined $17,000 on Sunday for three different violations during the second set of the match — a coaching warning, a point penalty after breaking a racket and the loss of a game for verbal abuse of the umpire.
Naomi Osaka won her first Grand Slam title of her career in that 6-2, 6-4 final, thereby denying Williams a 24th Grand Slam title, which would have tied Margaret Court’s all-time record.
"Look, I love Serena, first of all," Djokovic said. "I really felt for her yesterday. Tough thing for a chair umpire to deal with, as well. We have to empathize with him. Everyone was in a very awkward situation yesterday. A lot of emotions. Serena was crying. Naomi was crying. It was really, really tough."
MORE FROM THE US OPEN
- MEN'S FINAL: Djokovic defeats del Potro for third US Open title
- WOMEN'S FINAL: Osaka wins first Grand Slam amid controversy
- ARMOUR: Serena diminished herself with behavior at US Open
- BRENNAN: Serena controversy comes down to two questions
After assessing the particulars, he offered his own viewpoint.
"But I have my personal opinion that maybe the chair umpire should not have pushed Serena to the limit, especially in a Grand Slam final," he said. "Just maybe changed — not maybe, but he did change the course of the match. It was, in my opinion, maybe unnecessary. We all go through our emotions, especially when you're fighting for a Grand Slam trophy.
"I just feel like, as Serena said yesterday in the closing ceremonies, Osaka deserves to have her moment. As for Serena, she knows I love her. She really inspires everyone. To see her still being so dedicated and so committed to this sport, it's inspiring really to me and to many tennis players, both men and women, around the world."
Earlier in the day, the WTA released a statement by their CEO Steve Simon in part stating the following:
"Yesterday also brought to the forefront the question of whether different standards are applied to men and women in the officiating of matches. 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."
When Simon’s stance was relayed to Djokovic he disagreed with the contention.
"I don't think it's (the) time and place really to get into other subjects," Djokovic said. "I don't see things as Mr. Simon does. I really don't. I think men and women are, you know, treated in this way or the other way depending on the situation. It's hard to generalize things, really. I don't see it's necessary really to debate that."