'Really disrespectful': Aussie great blasts Serena Williams over 'appalling' act

Pat Cash has added his voice to the criticism of Serena Williams over her ugly spat with Dominic Thiem at the French Open.

Thiem accused Serena of showing a "bad personality" on Monday after his press conference was cut short to allow the American to take over the main interview room at Roland Garros.

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Thiem, who reached his first grand slam final here last year, was discussing his third-round win over Pablo Cuevas with German language journalists when he was told he would need to leave the room.

The fourth seed was understandably unhappy, saying: "I don't really get it, seriously. What the hell? But it's a joke, really. What's the point of that, that I have to leave the room because she's coming?"

It is understood that while Williams did not request for Thiem to be ousted, she was unwilling to wait for the Austrian to finish and the second interview room was also in use, leaving organisers in a difficult position.

Cash and fellow Eurosport pundit Annabel Croft have since unloaded on Williams.

“Everybody screwed up there,” Cash said.

“Dominic is not some junior or some unknown qualifier, he got to the French Open final last year, he’s top 10 and one of the favourites here.

“For Serena just to say ‘I’m going in there no matter what’ was wrong. It was really disrespectful.”

Annabel Croft and Pat Cash. Image: Eurosport

Croft said Williams owed Thiem an apology.

“It’s unbelievably disrespectful to a man who’s still in the draw,” she said.

“She should have been made to wait an extra five minutes.

“It’s just appalling. I think he’s owed an apology.”

Thiem fumes

Tournament director Guy Forget apologised to Thiem for the incident and, speaking to Eurosport on Monday, the 25-year-old was in no mood to forgive Williams.

He said: "I wasn't angry or frustrated. Maybe for a couple of minutes or so. It is just the principle.

"It doesn't matter if it is me who sits in there. Even if a junior is in there, every player has to wait.

"It is a matter of course. It also shows a bad personality, in my opinion. I am 100 per cent sure (Roger) Federer or (Rafael) Nadal would never do something like that."

Serena Williams in action at the French Open. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Federer had earlier weighed in on the issue after his fourth-round victory over Leonardo Mayer, saying: "I don't know what went wrong but something went wrong for this to happen.

"I think there is, with all the players, (an understanding) the one who is still in the tournament gets priority.

"If I would have lost today against Mayer, I would let Mayer go first or decide when he wants to go to press as he's got a next match. My next match is far, far away. So that's just the way you go about it.

"There must have been a misunderstanding, or maybe they should have kept Serena still in the locker room, not waiting here in the press centre.

"I understand Dominic's frustration. For him it's just about how in the world did this happen?"

with AAP