Former world number one, Venus Williams has called for equal time and coverage for women on the top courts at Wimbledon.
Speaking after playing in the 782-seater Court 18, Williams said, “I’m not so much into disrespect. I’m willing to play anywhere, any time, of course. I was happy to be on the schedule.”
“All players should have to play outside. There shouldn’t be any exceptions or any inequality to it.”
“It’s not the ideal schedule for women. We’d like to see equal amount of matches [on main courts]. We don’t want more, just the same amount, that’s all.”
“To make it crystal clear…I just want equality for men’s and women’s matches. That’s what I’m unhappy about.”
“The All England Club has to have a culture where they want to have equality. They need to want to pursue that. I would love to see it where we don’t have to talk about this any more in the press conference.”
Williams won her latest match against Greek player, Maria Sakkari on Court 18, the smallest of the show courts. However, Williams is not the first tennis player to complain about the court scheduling. In 2008, Jelena Jankovic said, “To put top seeds and top players that have done well in this tournament and been champions – which is not easy to do – I think they should have that privilege, and that honour, to be on the big courts.”
“It’s quite disrespectful to put someone who is No. 2 or 3 in the world to have them playing somewhere in the backyard.”
Steve Simon, WTA chief executive, “We saw improvement in this area early in the event, and the WTA will continue to discuss scheduling with the All England Lawn Tennis Club to continue achieving this goal.”
“As Venus stated, as long as there is an equal approach to scheduling for both the men and the women’s matches, the players are willing to play anywhere.”
William’s comments come in a long line of controversy at Wimbledon. Only in 2007 were female tennis players paid the same as male tennis players, despite the US Open having introduced equal pay in 1963. In 2014, Wimbledon’s scheduling gave equal coverage to both men and women, but they did not continue the practise into 2015.