Rapper Common has defended his ex-girlfriend Serena Williams over her outburst at the U.S. Open, insisting the tennis ace should be allowed to let off steam on court.
The sportswoman was fined $17,000 for code violations, including verbal and racket abuse, after spending 15 minutes arguing with umpire Carlos Ramos during her disastrous U.S. Open final match against Naomi Osaka on Saturday (08Sep18).
During the headline-grabbing moment Ramos took a point and then a game away from Serena as she tearfully contested his claims she cheated by taking cues from her coach in the stands and the sport’s double standards between male and female players.
At one point she demanded to speak to the match referee.
Several stars, including tennis legend Billie Jean King, have spoken out to support Williams, and now her ex, Common, has defended her actions at the Open, calling on match officials to “rise above” the drama.
“She was having a time at that moment, she should be allowed that space,” he tells TMZ. “She’s a passionate athlete.
“I think the referee should have gave her some leeway. You could see she was having an emotional time and because she is that great and what she means to the sport, you don’t want to see the match end because things get swayed one way because of a referee. You should let the athletes play it out.”
Meanwhile, Katrina Adams – the head of the U.S. Tennis Association, insists both Serena and Ramos bear some responsibility for the weekend drama, telling CBS This Morning the umpire was “following the code”, but “soft” warning for a coaching violation could have prevented the bust-up.
She added, “Serena could have handled it a little bit differently. She’s passionate. She was speaking out. And I think for Ramos, he was a little defensive at that point, and was fed up.”