Wimbledon officials have defended their decision of putting more men’s matches on biggest courts on Monday. The officials came under fire for putting four men’s matches on main courts and only two women’s fixtures. Only Venus Williams and Johanna Konta played on Centre Court. Women players, who were “demoted” to the lesser courts, were not pleased with the move and treatment by officials.
“I was really surprised that I was playing on Court Two,” said world number one and top seed Angelique Kerber after she lost to Spanish 14th seed Garbine Muguruza. “I think it was a good match on a high level, I was actually looking forward to playing on one of the two big courts. Maybe I will talk to them.”
French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko said: “I think I deserve to play on a better court than Court 12. (Opponent) Elina (Svitolina) is number four in the world. I think our match was a very interesting one for the people to watch.”
After winning her match on Court Three, Svetlana Kuznetsova added: “I have not played on Court One or Centre Court the whole tournament, though I understand why Johanna Konta is there, it’s England and they have to put their product there.”
Former champion Chris Evert felt if the prize money is equal then why is the representation on courts different. “It’s equal prize money so why not equal representation on Centre Court and Court number One?,” she said. “I would like to see it three and three, and I think any woman would like to see it that way.”
Wimbledon chief executive Richard Lewis said the “fantastic era” for men’s tennis makes it difficult for them.
“You’ve got this fantastic era for men’s tennis. There have been years where the women have outshone the men but at the moment it’s very hard to argue beyond the big four – Djokovic, Murray, Nadal and Federer – being on Centre Court and Court One.
“I absolutely respect Angelique Kerber is number one in the world, Muguruza is a former finalist, grand slam winner but we are spoilt for choice. There are matches on two and three today that would grace Centre Court on any other day.
“I wouldn’t say it’s favouritism. I’d just say it’s taking the marquee matches. In the end it’s not about male/female, it’s about which matches you think are the ones the public and the broadcasters would like to see. It’s about who are the star players at the time.”
(Inputs from Reuters)