Bizarro-meter Redlines As Osaka Wins US Open
This entire episode was totally outta whack.
20-year-old Naomi Osaka won the US Open women's singles title, and she's damn near an afterthought in the whole thing.
Serena Williams was being well and truly outplayed, and it woulda been the sporting thing to let Osaka take care of business all by herself without distraction.
And then there was chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who just had to remind one and all who the town marshall was, and dude couldn't have been more tone-deaf.
As if he even put that much thought into it.
What transpired was a situation that coulda and shoulda been fairly easily contained. Instead, it got ramped up to Defcon 4 for one simple reason:
First and foremost, Osaka played champion's tennis against a legend.
She earned her 6-2, 6-4 result:
Osaka's actually 2-for-2 against Serena.
This past March, the Japanese prodigy also won their match in the Miami Open, 6-3, 6-2.
The surprise is Serena faced exactly the same game strategy in the US Open final as she did there and made no adjustments.
Thus, Osaka had no reason to be intimidated by Serena on a bigger stage. Her play proved it.
In fact, Osaka's game shoulda looked familiar to the 23-time women's singles champion. It's patterned after hers.
Maybe part of Serena's frustration was due to Osaka's relentless déjà vu attack that she shoulda known was coming.
In this respect, she had no one to blame but herself.
Given the enormity of her quest for a record-breaking 24th title, Serena coulda done her part in defusing the meltdown:
Back in 1981, it was Patrick's much more famous brother -- John McEnroe -- who ignited the trend.
His outburst -- a scandal in tennis at the time -- seems so tame now:
There are countless incidents of racquet smashing, and most received warnings.
In the men's division, one of the most epic was Andy Roddick double-checking:
And make no mistake; Serena's a repeat offender:
There's no way Ramos wasn't aware of this.
And Patrick McEnroe's right. Both he and Serena had an obligation to both the game and Osaka to keep this incident from spiraling outta control.
Put all the day's actions at Arthur Ashe Stadium together, and the ultimate result was probably the most awkward trophy ceremony in the history of tennis:
Full marks to Serena for shifting the mood as best she could, but what a tragedy that Osaka's biggest moment in tennis had to end like this.
As the infamous baseball umpire Don Denkinger can attest, officials have no place to be front and center in the course of a game.
Unless, of course, it's Lt Frank Drebin.