The historic moment was marred by controversy, as Williams grew increasingly incensed at chair umpire Carlos Ramos for assessing her code violations and ultimately said that officials did not treat men so harshly.
The first code violation was for coaching, after her coach Patrick Mouratoglou gestured to her, and resulted in only a warning. Williams told Ramos that she “never cheats.” A few games later, Williams broke her racket, earning a point penalty. When she called Ramos “a thief” for stealing the point from her during a prolonged rant, she was given a game penalty.
At that point Williams called for the tournament referee and supervisor, and complained that her punishment was not fair.
“There are men out here that do a lot worse, but because I’m a woman, because I’m a woman you’re going to take this away from me?” she said. “That is not right.”
Osaka finished the match with a service winner and covered her eyes with her visor. The two embraced at the net, and then Williams started back at Ramos again: “Can I get an apology?”
The crowd inside Ashe Stadium booed lustily as the trophy ceremony began, drowning out both ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi and USTA President Katrina Adams.
Osaka began to cry, but it didn’t appear to be the tears of joy typical of a champion.
“No more booing,” Williams pleaded with the crowd, asking them to appreciate Osaka’s feat.
Osaka barely smiled through the ceremony, thanked the crowd for watching, and apologized that their favorite didn’t win.
She didn’t answer when Rinaldi asked, “How does the reality differ from your dreams?” It’s safe to say it did, considerably.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
Ben Rothenberg © 2018 The New York Times