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An Australian newspaper defiantly republished a controversial cartoon of tennis star Serena Williams on its front-page Wednesday, slapping aside "politically correct" accusations that the drawing was racist and sexist.

The Herald Sun's editor, Damon Johnston, also supported Knight and his cartoon.

Mark Knight, a cartoonist for The Herald Sun in Australia, said in an interview that his portrayal of Williams stomping on her racket as the chair umpire asked Naomi Osaka to let Williams win was an accurate representation of their final match.

Despite the outrage, the paper reprinted the cartoon alongside unflattering caricatures of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, attempting to portray the controversy as an effort to curtail free speech.

"If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very boring indeed", the tagline adds.

On pulling down his account amidst uproar on Twitter, Knight revealed that he did it to protect his family from the abuse.

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Cartoonist Paul Zanetti, a friend of Knight, said cartooning was under threat from political correctness, and the Herald Sun front page "spelt out exactly where we are at this point".

But Mr Knight defended his work, calling the reaction to it "crazy".

America's National Association of Black Journalists called the cartoon "repugnant on many levels".

In the match, the umpire, Carlos Santos, issued code violations because Williams broke her racket and because her coach made a coaching gesture during play. Did she have to behave differently only because she was Serena Williams?

"You are a liar", Williams said, while pointing her finger.

Newsreader Sylvia Jeffreys said she struggled to form an opinion on the cartoon as she had not experienced racism herself.

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The Australian newspaper at the centre of a race row over a Serena Williams cartoon has dedicated its entire front page in support of the artist. "There is a huge double standard for women when it comes to how bad behavior is punished - and not just in tennis", Navratilova said.

The image has been slammed for being racist.

Commentator Michael Cavna of The Washington Post said "Knight draws facial features reflecting the dehumanising Jim Crow caricatures common in the 19th and 20th centuries", the era of segregation.

Apart from being levied three code violation, Serena was later fined United States dollars 17,000, stirring the tennis world and triggering a broader debate about double standards towards men and women in the sport.

In response many tennis commentators called his ruling sexist, noting that male players insult umpires, including Santos, on a routine basis without the punishment of losing games.

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