Carlos Ramos, the umpire at the centre of last year’s US Open final storm involving Serena Williams, will be kept away from her over the next fortnight, starting with her first-round match against Maria Sharapova on Monday.
It is not the first time an umpire and a player have been kept apart. Carlos Bernardes took a ‘holiday’ from Rafael Nadal matches after some testy encounters.
US Open tournament referee Soeren Friemel said: ‘In the end our goal is to assign the best chair umpire for the right match... the decision was made he [Ramos] would not do any of the Williams sisters’ matches.’
Officials defended their decision to ignore WTA rules restricting how many tournaments Coco Gauff, 15, can play by giving her a wildcard. Tournament director David Brewer said: ‘The wildcard committee takes into account performance through the course of the year and the opportunity for a player to come on a big stage perhaps a little sooner than the WTA would normally allow.’