'I feel bad': Serena Williams takes aim at tennis organisers over equality

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Serena Williams is pictured reacting to a point during the 2020 Fed Cup.
Serena Williams says she has repeatedly asked tennis officials to put lesser-known players on centre court ahead of her, to no avail. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Serena Williams has taken a potshot at tournament organisers in an Instagram interview with actor Natalie Portman, claiming she has asked them to put other players on centre court instead of herself.

The world No.9 was discussing equality in sport with Portman as part of the promotional push for new Los Angeles-based women’s football team Angel FC.

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Williams said she had longed pushed organisers to host matches featuring other players on the main courts, having enjoyed extensive time in the spotlight herself.

“I'll look at the schedule and there's four men's matches and then two women's matches and then I feel bad, because I'm always one of those women,” she said.

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“I literally have said just put me on the second court, so we can have other players have an opportunity on centre court.

“Obviously that doesn't go well in the timings, and they're like, 'No, no, no. You need be on centre court,' and I'm like, 'These other women need a chance and they deserve it, they've been working literally their whole lives to have this opportunity.'“

Williams is preparing for the US Open, which remains slated to go ahead despite the worsening COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner said she had often had the same argument with the same people over several years about giving other players a turn on the biggest stage.

A 50-50 split image shows Serena Williams on the left and Natalie Portman on the right.
Serena Williams was discussing equality in sports with actor Natalie Portman in an interview on the latter's Instagram page. Pictures: Getty Images

“Every year I come back to the same tournaments and I come back with the same arguments,” Williams said.

“They expect me, so when are we going to make those changes?”

Big names confirm for US Open

Andy Murray and Johanna Konta are both planning to play at the US Open if it goes ahead as planned in New York next month.

The ATP and WTA Tours have been on hold because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Murray and Konta will be taking part in the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis event next week at the Lawn Tennis Association's National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

Former men's world No.1 Murray, US Open champion in 2012, is to play in the doubles as he steps up his own rehabilitation.

The Scot remains focused on the showpiece hard-court Grand Slam event at Flushing Meadows which is scheduled to start on August 31.

Asked if he was expecting the event to go ahead, Murray replied: "Yeah. As it stands. We have to try and prepare that way, we were saying four or five weeks ago, you know, we were pretty sceptical about it but mentally at some stage you need to start preparing and planning for that."