The ESPN Player brings to streaming one of the biggest sport controversies of 2018 in the debut episode of documentary strand Backstory.

Presented by Don Van Natta Jr the documentary series investigates sporting controversies. The opening edition on August 18th takes us back to last year and Serena vs. the Umpire. 

In the premiere, Van Natta connects the dots on nine months of reporting to examine the saga of Serena Williams’ intense clash with chair umpire Carlos Ramos during her loss to Naomi Osaka in the 2018 US Open women’s final.

Seeking her record-tying 24th Grand Slam victory, Williams was assessed code violations that resulted first in a warning, followed by a point penalty and then the loss of a game after a heated argument capped by Williams calling Ramos “a thief.” With boos raining down, play was delayed before Osaka finished off Williams 6-2, 6-4 for her first Grand Slam title. The highly emotional awards ceremony afterward was marred by boos.

What transpired between Williams and Ramos triggered a firestorm of debate around the world. 

Van Natta sets out to get beyond the heat of the moment as he explores what happened that September afternoon and why. The programme includes interviews with the person who ignited the controversy, Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou; match broadcasters Chris Evert and Pam Shriver; retired chair umpire Norm Chryst; his wife and retired line umpire Palma Chryst; and three tennis journalists who sat directly behind Ramos’ chair during the women’s final.

The programme will be accessible to ESPN Player subscribers. The monthly pass to the ESPN content is £9.99 per month. – ESPN

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