Huge twist in Serena scandal
US Tennis association chief executive Katrina Adams has been overheard apologising to controversial umpire Carlos Ramos just days after she declared chair umpires have "double standards" when dealing with men's and women's matches.
Ramos, the tennis official at the centre of the Serena Williams sexism storm, earlier this week defended his actions in the US Open final.
The experienced Portuguese official found himself at the centre of a storm after his officiating of the match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, which saw Williams accuse him of sexism after she was docked a game for receiving three code violations.
First she was warned after her coach Patrick Mouratoglou was seen communicating with her via a hand gesture and then she was docked a point after smashing her racket.
The 36-year-old, who was chasing a record-equalling 24th grand slam title, received further punishment after verbally abusing the umpire, calling him a "thief" and a "liar" in a heated exchange that went on for some time.
After Ramos had to be escorted off court, Williams used her post-match press conference to suggest that men avoid such punishment for similar on-court behaviour.
Adams came under fire in some circles for inflaming the sensitive situation when she released a statement hours after the final supporting Serena's protest, labelling Serena a "true champion" who "showed a great deal of class and sportsmanship".
She also moved to excuse Williams' behaviour during an interview with ESPN the following day when she suggested Williams would not have expected her outburst towards Ramos to have been captured on live TV.
"We watch the guys do this all the time, they're badgering the umpire on the changeovers. Nothing happens. There's no equality," Adams told ESPN.
"There has to be some consistency across the board. These are conversations that will be imposed in the next weeks."
Now, Adams and Ramos have come face to face in Zadar ahead of the US team's Davis Cup tie against Croatia where the veteran official will oversee some of the matches.
Despite US players and captain Jim Courier declaring they have no issues with Ramos umpiring their matches, Adams can't be thrilled about facing Ramos so soon after siding with Williams in the wake of the US Open women's final.
Adams was reportedly heard apologising to Ramos at the Davis Cup event, according to Associated Press journalist Andrew Dampf.
It constitutes a huge backflip from the USTA, which has been Williams' biggest supporter.
Speaking to Tribuna Expresso earlier this week in his native country, Ramos indicated he was at peace with his decisions because he didn't pick and choose when to apply the rule book.
"I'm fine, given the circumstances," he said. "It's a delicate situation, but a la carte arbitration does not exist. Do not worry about me!"
Ramos was supported - albeit belatedly - by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), who said he acted with "professionalism and integrity" while the Women's Tennis Association had earlier backed Williams' claims that she received unfair treatment.
But the ITF have further shown their support by putting Ramos in charge of the Davis Cup semi-final, which will be played this weekend in Zadar.
It comes after a source told The Times some umpires are considering refusing to officiate matches involving Williams in the wake of her attack on Ramos.
Ramos, 47, was "thrown to the wolves for simply doing his job and was not willing to be abused for it," one anonymous umpire told the English paper.
Australian former umpire Richard Ings also reported feelings of unrest. "The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA," Ings told ESPN.com.
"They are all fearful that they could be the next Ramos. They feel that no one has their back when they have to make unpopular calls."