SERENA ON COURT TWO ASSIGNMENT: "I Don't Make It A Big Issue... I Think At Some Point, Maybe I Should"
Saturday, June 25, 2011
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Serena Williams wonders why she and her older sister Venus have played once each on Court 2 at Wimbledon this year — instead of Centre Court or Court 1.
After winning her second-round match Thursday on Court 2, four-time Wimbledon champion Serena was asked about being put in that venue, where five-time champion Venus won Monday. Each also has played one match on Centre Court this week.
"They like to put us on Court 2 — me and Venus — for whatever reason," Serena said. "I haven't figured it out yet. Maybe one day we'll figure it out."
Told of Serena's comments, tournament spokesman Johnny Perkins said there was no intentional snub, noting that several factors go into scheduling decisions, including TV broadcasting considerations, where players stand in the draw, and what ticket-buyers want to see.
"I don't think it's anything deliberate, clearly," Perkins said. "It's a hugely complex jigsaw puzzle. Everyone probably looks at it from their own point of view, so she's obviously quite entitled to."
The Williams sisters have combined to win nine of the past 11 Wimbledon singles championships, including Serena's titles in 2009 and 2010.
"I don't really think about it. I don't make it a big issue," Serena said about the scheduling. "I think at some point, maybe I should."
Stacey Allaster, the head of the women's professional tennis tour, said in a statement: "Serena Williams is a four-time Wimbledon singles champion, the defending champion of Wimbledon and a 13-time Grand Slam singles champion. I share her disappointment."
WTA CEO Allaster continued: "Scheduling decisions at Wimbledon are made by the All England Club and only they would be able to explain the rationale behind their decision for the scheduling of Serena's match today."
Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick have had all of their matches scheduled for Centre Court or Court 1 so far this year.
"Yeah," Serena said, "they're never moved across."
The Court 2 she played in Thursday was built before the start of the 2009 tournament and holds about 4,063 spectators — 7,330 fewer than Court 1, and 10,916 fewer than Centre Court. For years before that, the name "Court 2" at the All England Club was assigned to a venue about half the size and a few minutes' walk away.
That old Court 2 was known as the "Graveyard of Champions" because of a series of surprise losses by top players — including Serena against Jill Craybas in the third round in 2005. That particular match actually originally was scheduled for Centre Court but was shifted when others there went long. Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras — in his final match at the All England Club — all lost on the old Court 2.
After watching his daughter defeat Simona Halep of Romania 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 at the new Court 2 on Thursday, Richard Williams downplayed the issue of court placement.
"I can't say where she should be," he said. "I don't do the scheduling."