Serena Williams' husband breaks silence over racist cartoon

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"Did he have to behave differently only because she was Serena Williams?".

The cartoon was also criticised by the veteran civil rights campaigner Reverend Jesse Jackson, who said it was "despicable", and Melbourne-born basketball star Ben Simmons.

"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", the author tweeted on Monday.

Controversy and turmoil has been roiling ever since Ramos gave Serena Williams a violation for receiving coaching during last Saturday's final defeat to Naomi Osaka.

Knight, who has a reputation for controversial cartoons, was pilloried from far and wide for his portrayal - including by a member of the US Congress and a large portion of the 22,000 people who commented on his Twitter post showing the drawing.

"This week has been a dream come to life, and I'm so honored to represent Japan and Nissan on the world stage", Osaka said.

"The Sept 10 cartoon not only exudes racist, sexist caricatures of both women, but Williams' depiction is unnecessarily sambo-like", the association said in a statement.

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"I've always thought that Kei (Nishikori) is a super good role model on the men's side and I wish that there was one on the women's side".

Herald Sun editor Johnston had also defended the cartoon on Twitter.

Carlos Ramos returned to the umpire's chair for the first time since being called a "thief" by Serena Williams, overseeing a Davis Cup match on Friday. I've never been called for coaching, but the racket abuse, the verbal abuse, that's just part of the sport. Ramos warned and penalized Williams for three rule violations, including smashing her racket on the court.

The series of incidents had led to some of the most remarkable scenes in a Grand Slam final as Williams accused Ramos of being a "liar" and a "thief".

He claimed Knight's creation had "nothing to do with gender or race".

"I drew her as an African-American woman, she's powerfully built, she wears these outrageous costumes when she plays tennis - she's interesting to draw".

According to Australian newspaper The Herald Sun and its cartoonist, Mark Knight, a cartoon of Serena Williams that echoes the harmful caricatures of black men and women once drawn in a shameful part of United States history isn't racist.

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