While US Open winner Naomi Osaka was reduced to tears by a booing Flushing Meadows crowd, USTA president Katrina Adams fanned the flames.
“Perhaps it’s not the finish that we were looking for today but Serena, you are the champion of all champions,” she said.
“This mama is a role model, and respected by all.”
The American Adams was speaking only for the Americans in attendance, and she continued to back Williams in the aftermath of the controversial final.
It was a further slap in the face for Osaka, who also faced tone-deaf comments in her on-court interview, and the global audience who watched the final on television.
While the stage was lower, a similar situation erupted at the ATP Finals in London overnight as young star Alexander Zverev upset fan favourite Roger Federer.
Zverev won fair and square 7-5 7-6 (7-5) but the semi-final ended in uproar after a controversial second-set tiebreak.
Federer was leading 4-3 when Zverev stopped mid-rally after a ball slipped from a ball boy’s hand and the boy moved to grab it.
When the point was replayed, Zverev served an ace.
A few points later Zverev finished off Federer with a nerveless volley, but his on-court interview was drowned out by a cacophony of boos and heckling from fans who believed the German had gained an unfair advantage.
The situation played out far cleaner than the US Open, however, as the presenter Annabel Croft declined to pile the pressure on Zverev.
In fact, the British former player took the extraordinary step of admonishing the crowd.
“Well I’m not sure why you’re all booing because he’s telling the truth,” she said, taking the heat off a somewhat frazzled Zverev.
“The ball boy did move across the court and it disrupted play and those are the rules.
“So I think you have to be a little bit more respectful.”
@Annabel_Croft well done last night Annabel. Total pro and incredibly well handled in a tough moment for Sascha. He did nothing wrong, played sensationally and you got things back on track quickly. Great interview.
— Darren Cahill (@darren_cahill) November 18, 2018
Annabel Croft remains a tremendous pro.
Needless to say, that was a heck of a lot better than “Perhaps it’s not the finish we were looking for today.”
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) November 17, 2018
Still can not believe he asked Osaka something along the lines of "you have dreamed of this moment all your life … how does the dream match the reality." As 20k people have been booing & her idol had just had a complete meltdown.
— Peter Gibson (@jakarta200887) November 18, 2018
Following Croft’s intervention the boos slowly became more respectful applause.
Zverev later told reporters he noticed the change but the jeering had shaken him up.
“I was a little bit sad at the end with the booing and reaction of the crowd,” he said.
“I was very emotional afterwards. The booing went into cheering kind of afterwards, which kind of helped me.
“I was really upset afterwards in the locker room, I’m not going to lie. I had to take a few minutes for myself.
“But, you know, I hope the crowd and the people who were booing maybe look at what actually happened, maybe just realise that I’ve maybe not done anything wrong.”
Zverev will face Novak Djokovic in the final on Monday morning AEDT.