Dave Worsley: US Open hoping to dodge another Serena Williams pile-up

OPINION: Why do casual sports fans watch motor racing? For the crashes, of course. 

Why do sports fans watch or care about tennis? For the tantrums, the controversies and the 'crashes'...

There have been plenty of crashes and smashes at the US Open over recent years, many involving Serena Williams. She's been kicked out or penalised on four separate occasions, including last year's catastrophic meltdown in the women's final.

Italian top-20 player Fabio Fognini was fined and booted from his match - and the tournament - two years ago for umpire abuse. The list goes on and will no doubt feature a few more names over the next two weeks.

But one potential clash been avoided, with chair umpire Carlos Ramos - one of the best in the business - rostered off any possible Serena Williams match, after their 2018 showdown. There are two very distinct sides to this argument.

One is to not inflame the situation further and to remove the umpire from a player's matches, even though that appears to be bowing to the player's demands.

The second option is to disregard the player and maintain the integrity of the sport, whatever the cost. 

If an umpire has the qualifications and experience, and is deemed capable, then let them do the job. 

This is important to a sport - any sport. When a player can lobby to have an umpire removed or influence the rescheduling of an official, the sport is in contempt of its own administration and rules.

Just remember what Serena said in the final last year to Ramos: "You will never ever be on court with me as long as I live."

She also called him "a liar" and "a thief".

Every person with a keyboard, who had never seen tennis before, suddenly became an expert - and that's the problem

Ramos' removal shows the power of the player and the dollar influence they have. Simply, the women's game needs Williams more than it needs Ramos. 

Without her, your recent world No.1 players are Naomi Osaka, Ash Barty, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova. They're all nice enough and good enough, but are they really marketable around the world?

Maybe Williams will not make it through very many rounds or Ramos is busy with other matches, so the clash would not happen. 

But if she continues through to the final, Ramos should be considered for that match.

Last year, Osaka's maiden Grand Slam tile was overshadowed by controversy, when Williams received a violation for coaching and her behaviour went downhill from there. Every person with a keyboard, who had never seen tennis before, suddenly became an expert - and that's the problem. 

There was a lack of understanding of rules around coaching, umpire abuse and player conduct, and what Ramos was required to do as a chair umpire. Basically, Williams ignored them all.

Right now, US Open organisers are playing up the 'explosive' first-round draw between Williams and archrival Maria Sharapova. 

Maybe putting Ramos on that match would have been too much, even for a crowd baying for blood - and for a wider audience that cares nothing for tennis and wants only car crashes.

Dave Worsley is a Newshub sports reporter covering his 14th US Open


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