The International Tennis Federation now defends the umpire who penalized tennis star Serena Williams during the U.S. Open final, saying he acted "at all times with professionalism and integrity" and that his "decisions were in accordance with the relevant rules."

However in New Orleans, Williams has an outspoken supporter.

"I don't think she's been treated fairly," said Mackie Shilstone.

Serena Williams' fitness coach of 10 years, Mackie Shilstone, is speaking out in support of the 23-time grand slam tennis champion.

"Because that type of call would allude to the fact that there was cheating going on, and Serena does not cheat," he insisted.

Serena was given a code violation warning after the umpire ruled she was getting hand signals from her coach in the stands.

"The idea that Serena, has got time to worry about what may go on or not in the box, is ridiculous. I know Serena coaches herself," said Shilstone.

Serena was also penalized for smashing her racket and verbal abuse after confronting the umpire. She called him a thief when a point and game were taken from her. She is now calling the umpire sexist.

Mackie agrees.

"From just what I saw, I think he has a problem with a woman talking back to him."

Mackie says Serena is one of the most mentally tough athletes, he knows; training and playing through emotional and physical pain over the years, that he says would have brought others down. He recalls training her in a pool with the intensity of a U.S. Navy SEAL, after facing Pulmonary embolisms, blockages in a lung artery. She never gave up.

"And then I said, 'So what are you afraid of, that woman on the other side of the court? Are you kidding me? You saw the light. You were within three hours of death,'" Shilstone recalls telling Williams after she faced the challenging training during recovery.

Mackie says he applauds Serena for strongly defending her honor and integrity.

The Women's Tennis Association is also backing Williams, saying the standards of tolerance for emotions expressed by men versus women, should be the same.

Meg Farris can be reached at