The 2021 Australian Open is well underway, with Serena Williams’ vying for her eighth title in the competition.
The former tennis world champion beat Aryna Sabalenka in three sets over the weekend, sending her through to the quarterfinals for the 13th time.
However, Williams’ path to victory has caused a stir with many tennis fans pointing out the double-standards in the sport.
During the two-hour match, a frustrated Sabalenka threw her racket onto the court – something Williams herself has done in the past.
During the 2018 US Open final, Williams received a penalty point for breaking her racket, and faced scrutiny from reporters and tennis fans.
In the same match, she also received a code violation for seemingly receiving guidance from her coach from the stands, and a game penalty for calling the umpire a “thief”.
Williams was also later handed a fine of $17,000 (£13,000).
For weeks following the incident, the tennis star faced a barrage of criticism branding her “angry” and “aggressive”.
She was mocked in an Australian newspaper, which published a caricature that depicted her using racial and sexist stereotypes.
Melbourne’s Herald Sun defended the drawing, and it was later deemed to have not breached media standards.
Tennis fans were quick to point out the stark difference in treatment of Sabalenka during the Australian Open, and Williams throughout her career.
What was deemed “aggression” from Williams, was seemingly accepted as passion from her opponent, and Sabalenka has yet to be reprimanded for her actions.
Neither Williams’ actions back in 2018, nor Sabalenka’s over the weekend, have differed from how many males players have reacted in the heat of a championship game.
However, the most recent incident just goes to show racism and sexism is still rife in the sport.