Serena Williams' husband trashes study saying men are penalized more than women in tennis

Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/olympics/rio-2016/a/1132744/" data-ylk="slk:Serena Williams">Serena Williams</a>’ husband, Alexis Ohanian, was not happy with a study in the New York Times. (AP Photo)
Serena Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian, was not happy with a study in the New York Times. (AP Photo)

Is there a double standard in tennis where women get penalized more than men? According to a New York Times study, there is not. End of discussion, right? We can all move on.

Turns out, some statistics can be misleading. Serena Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian Sr., took the Times to task Sunday, laying out some of the errors he found in their study of whether women are actually punished more than men in tennis.

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Ohanian explained that the study performed by the New York Times only focused on the amount of penalties handed out. It did not focus on the “per incident” data. He then used an example based on percentages. Are women punished at a higher percentage than men for the same incidents? That, according to Ohanian, was the point of Serena Williams’ comments. That specific data was not covered in the New York Times’ study.

The New York Times performed the study after Williams said she believed male tennis players have done worse on the court and received less severe punishments. Williams made those comments after an argument with a judge led to a $17,000 fine and a surprising loss in the U.S. Open.

Just in case you think Ohanian is a biased source, statistician Nate Silver of 538 agreed with Ohanian’s interpretation of the New York Times’ study.

After tweeting at the author of the piece a couple times, Ohanian decided to focus his efforts in a more positive manner. He donated $10 for every word in the article to Donors Choose in order to “make sure the next generation gets access to learn basic statistics.”

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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