News24

WTA chief backs Serena

2011-06-24 13:22

London - Four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams found a powerful ally in her dispute over being exiled to an outside court when women's tennis boss Stacey Allaster said she was "disappointed" by the decision.

Williams, the defending champion, was furious that her second round clash with Romania's Simona Halep on Thursday had been relegated to Court Two, in the far reaches of the All England Club.

The American insisted that Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the world's top two men, would never be forced to play away from either Centre Court or Court One.

Allaster, the head of the WTA, backed the superstar's complaints.

"Serena Williams is a four-time Wimbledon singles champion, the defending champion of Wimbledon, and a 13-time Grand Slam singles champion. I share her disappointment," said Allaster in a statement.

But the All England Club, which has been forced to regularly tweak the schedule after frequent interruptions caused by rain, denied there is any bias against either Serena or sister Venus, a five-time Wimbledon winner.

"Match scheduling at Wimbledon is a complex business and involves the referee and his experienced team in trying to achieve a fair and balanced draw from many competing interests and wishes, including the players," said a spokesman.

"There is certainly no intention to favour any player or players, and in this instance I am sure the 4,000 spectators on Court Two would have been delighted to see our reigning ladies' champion win."

Serena had been left raging at what she took as a snub to her and her sister.

"They like to put us on Court 2, me and Venus, for whatever reason. I haven't figured it out yet. Maybe one day we'll figure it out," said Serena.

"They (Nadal and Djokovic) are never moved across. Actually, Venus and I have won more Wimbledons together than a lot of the players or by ourselves in doubles even.

"I don't make it a big issue, but I think at some point maybe I should."

Top seed and world number one Caroline Wozniacki had also been due to play her second round tie with France's Virginie Razzano later Thursday on Court Two before rain curtailed the day's programme.

Wozniacki is still due to play on that court when the fifth day of action gets underway later Friday.

Court One will feature Venus's third round clash with Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain with 2004 champion Maria Sharapova opening up the programme against British teenager Laura Robson.

AFP

Comments
  • TK - 2011-06-24 13:53

    Blah blah. I am surprised that Serena did not mention her skin colour. Yes, she is the defending champion but both she and Venus are coming off injury lay-offs, have hardly played this year and are totally out of form. Add to that, that men'd tennis is much more exciting and offers more for the spectators.

      sidima macanda - 2011-06-24 14:00

      come on dude. defending champion coming off her death bed to make a comeback (posibly her final Wembledon appearance). that has to count for something

      Pat Peter - 2011-06-24 14:08

      what do you know TK, just shut up. she didn't mention skin color because it's irrelevant dah

  • Laurie - 2011-06-24 14:07

    What drivel! Caroline Wozniacki - the current #1 - is playing on the same court today. Three matches are scheduled on each court every day and it is impossible, impractical and inappropriate for all the good players to always play on centre court. Centre court tickets are extremely limited and other fans also want to see good matches. These prima donnas need to be brought down a peg or two; and to play the sexist card is merely being childish. I've often said - why don't they put all the prize money in one pot and let the men and the women compete for a single prize. Then we'll really see if the women deserve the same prize money as the men. Maybe Serena would then end up playing on court #14!

  • possum - 2011-06-24 14:27

    Who gives a sh1t???

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