Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wimbledon Chief Insists There Is No Bias against the Women

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wimbledon Chief Insists There Is No Bias against the Women

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones Tennis Correspondent, at Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON chiefs today denied there was any "gender bias" in their court scheduling after defending champion Serena Williams expressed her concern about the treatment of top women's players.

Serena has been backed by Stacey Allaster -- head of the women's tour -- who expressed her "disappointment" at the handling of the champion, who was forced to play on an outside court yesterday.

And the issue is likely to be reignited later today as world No1 Caroline Wozniacki is on the same Court Two followed by world No2 Vera Zvonavera -- last year's beaten finalist.

Wozniacki has yet to appear on the centre stage at the Championships this year with Serena having opened her preceeding match on the most famous court in the world as defending champion on the second day.

Serena (right) ignited the debate after she beat Romanian Simona Halep 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

The men's top four of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have played their matches exclusively on Centre and Court One at this year's Championships.

"Yeah, they're never moved across," said Serena, who will now play Russian 26th seed Maria Kirilenko in the third round.

"Venus and I have won more Wimbledons together than a lot of the players, or by ourselves in doubles even. "They like to put us on Court Two, me and Venus, for whatever reason. I haven't figured it out yet. Maybe one day we'll figure it out. I don't know."

Williams's stance was backed by WTA chief Allaster, who said: "Serena is a four-time champion [2002, 2003, 2009 and 2010] and defending champion at Wimbledon -- I share her disappointment."

But Wimbledon chief executive Ian Ritchie insisted the All England Club were playing fair with the women's game and pointed out that rain interruptions had caused scheduling headaches that required high-profile matches to be spread around the other showcourts this year.

He told Standard Sport: "There is no bias over gender in the scheduling of matches. …

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