Carlos Ramos will not serve as chair umpire for any Serena Williams or Venus Williams matches at the 2019 US Open, a United States Tennis Association spokesman told CNN on Wednesday.
Ramos was the chair umpire for last year’s volatile US Open women’s singles final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka. A then-20-year-old Osaka prevailed against her idol 6-2, 6-4 in New York to win her first major, but it was overshadowed by controversy.
Serena Williams clashed with Ramos, culminating when he docked her a game for calling him a “thief.” After the match, while Osaka accepted the trophy, boos rang around Arthur Ashe Stadium. Osaka wept.
Both players recently have suffered from injuries but remain in the US Open women’s singles draw. Osaka, currently the top-ranked player in the world, will have the No. 1 seed. Serena Williams is eighth. Venus Williams is unseeded.
The draw will be announced on Thursday, while play is scheduled to begin Monday.
Earlier this month, Serena Williams was forced to retire in the Rogers Cup final in Toronto after four games against Canada’s Bianca Andreescu because of back trouble. The injury kept her out of tournament action at the Western & Southern Open in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio, last week.
Meanwhile, Osaka retired during her last match, in the quarterfinals of Cincinnati against American Sofia Kenin, because of a knee injury.
Osaka and Serena Williams have played once since that infamous match, with the American winning 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals in Toronto.
Serena Williams, who turns 38 in September, is seeking a record 24th major singles title, tying her with Margaret Court for the most all time, and her first since the 2017 Australian Open, when she was pregnant. That win came against Venus Williams.
Osaka, the first Japanese player to win a major singles title, added a second grand slam trophy earlier this year when she won the Australian Open.