Reporters told not to ask about clash with umpire

Serena Williams has refused to discuss her meltdown at the US Open after dismissing a question from a reporter in Abu Dhabi.

Reporters covering Williams’ exhibition match in the UAE were told ahead of yesterday’s press conference they were not allowed to ask her about the US Open spat with umpire Carlos Ramos.

But some did although Williams would not be drawn on the incident. When asked if her outburst in New York was a topic she would like to avoid, she replied: “I don’t avoid anything. I just don’t have time to talk about that.

“I talked about it, everyone talked about it for months and months and months and it’s best to move on to bigger and better things.”

Williams was speaking at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship where she was playing an exhibition match against her sister Venus.

Earlier in the day, journalist Reem Abulleil of Sport 360 tweeted that: “We’ve been told ahead of this morning’s press conferences, and again now ahead of her post-match presser that we’re not allowed to ask Serena about the US Open.”

Abulleil later added that according to management agency IMG, that request had not come from Williams herself.

Williams has avoided the limelight and refused to answer questions on the incident in the US Open Woen’s final against Naomi Osaka in September where she was given a game penalty for verbally abusing umpire Ramos. She has not played any competitive tennis since.

But the topic is bound to come to the fore in Australia as she prepares for the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne on January 14.

Williams, who arrives in Perth tomorrow to play in the Hopman Cup next week, is looking to tie Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand-slam singles titles.