In the 2018 US Open Women’s Championship Final, 20-year-old Naomi Osaka took down her idol, 37-year-old Serena Williams, in two sets (6-2, 6-4) to win her first grand slam title (Big congrats to Naomi!). Despite the great play between both competitors, this match was marred with controversy between Serena and the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos. Let’s break it down:
In light of this controversy, let’s get a refresher on the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) and the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) Rules and see if this conduct would have a similar result on the pickleball courts. The USAPA and IFP Rules generally provide the following (for the full text of the applicable USAPA and IFP Rules, see the end of the blog below):
Applying these USAPA and IFP Rules to the actions during the 2018 US Open Women’s Championship Final:
This controversy is a reminder that pickleball code of conduct rules exist, the application of any rule is, at times, subjective, and perception is everything. Your actions and emotions expressed on the pickleball court may be scrutinized and, in some circumstances, penalized. Whether you agree with the application of the rules during the 2018 US Open Women’s Championship Final or not, I think we all can take learnings or lessons away from the controversy to apply to our own pickleball game. In Serena’s own words, her lesson from the controversy is to always “remember to stay gracious and to stay humble.”
What is your takeaway from the controversy during the 2018 US Open Women’s Championship Final? How do you apply your takeaway to your own pickleball game? Do you think any of the USAPA and IFP Rules should be changed or eliminated? Share with us in the comments below!
Certain USAPA and IFP Rules Related to Technical Warnings and Technical Fouls
3.A.34. Technical Foul – When a player violates any rule calling for a technical foul, the referee will add one point to the opponent’s score.
3.A.35. Technical Warning – A referee’s first verbal warning of a rule or behavioral violation given to a player or team prior to a technical foul being called. Points are not awarded for a technical warning. Once a technical warning has been issued, a second technical warning for any reason, given to the same player or team during the match, will result in a technical foul being issued to the player or team. See 13.G.3.
11.N. Coaching. During play, except from their partner, players may only receive coaching during time-outs and between games. Once play has begun, any communication between a player and any person not on the court, if determined by the referee to be coaching, shall result in a technical warning to the offending player or team. If the communication occurs a second time, it shall result in a technical foul and a point will be awarded to the opponent.
13.G. Technical Warnings and Technical Fouls.
13.G.1. Technical Warning. A referee will impose a technical warning when a player refuses to abide by the referee’s decision or engages in unsportsmanlike conduct. Once a technical warning has been issued, a second technical warning for any reason, given to the same player or team during the match, will result in a technical foul being issued to the player or team.
13.G.2. Technical Fouls. The referee is empowered to call technical fouls. When a technical foul is called, one point shall be added to the score of the opposing side. A second technical foul will result in a forfeit of the match.
13.G.3. Actions or behavior that will result in a technical warning/technical foul:
13.G.4. Effect of Technical Fouls and Technical Warnings. The assessment of a technical warning or technical foul shall be accompanied by a brief explanation of the reason.
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Since returning to professional pickleball this year, after taking a long COVID hiatus, Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters have been traveling the country for pickleball tournaments. But, one thing that that they have not done in a really long time is take a family vacation... until now. Learn about Team Waters' trip to Costa Rica from Leigh herself, which included as much, or more, pickleball than at home in Florida, monkey spectators, family bonding, surfing, and a lot of new friends made on the Costa Rican pickleball courts, which reminded them how much fun the great sport of pickleball really is.