A cartoon mocking Serena Williams for losing the US Open has sparked controversy and been accused of “racism”.
The drawing, published in an Australian newspaper, shows an angry Williams jumping on a broken tennis racket, as her rival in the final Naomi Osaka is asked by the referee: “Can you just let her win?”
Williams received three warnings for coaching, smashing her racket and calling the umpire a thief in the tense match on Saturday.
She was docked a game and fined £13,000 ($17,000), eventually losing to Japan’s Osaka – by 2-6, 4-6.
But the cartoon has sparked anger online.
Author JK Rowling responded to cartoonist Mark Knight. She wrote: “Well done on reducing one of the greatest sportswomen alive to racist and sexist tropes and turning a second great sportswoman into a faceless prop.”
Brian Klaas, associate professor of global politics at University College London, commented: “So depressing that this racist garbage gets produced and published in 2018.”
Vic Sanusi, a journalist, added: “Wow. The stereotypes jumped OUT! You even turned Osaka into a white blonde woman to push your ‘angry black woman agenda’.”
The Herald Sun, which published the cartoon, hit back saying “the world has gone officially mad” and criticised “the social media hordes”.
It told critics: “Take a breath and consider the facts…
“Mark Knight’s cartoon depicting Williams destroying her racket and jumping up and down, with a dummy spat nearby, mocked the star player for her behaviour…
“Mr Knight, like almost every cartoonist, mocks the powerful and famous when required; whether it be prime ministers like Malcolm Turnbull or presidents like Donald Trump.
“Regardless of race or sex, they are lampooned because of their behaviour.”
Mr Knight later deleted the cartoon, which he originally tweeted out.
Williams herself accused the umpire of sexism, shouting at him that “because I’m a woman you’re going to take this away from me”.
Osaka wept at the trophy ceremony, when the president of the United States Tennis Association told Williams: “Perhaps it’s not the finish we were looking for today but Serena, you are a champion of all champions.”