Venus Williams is a five-time Wimbledon champion, so you would think she’d be scheduled to play in one of the biggest courts at the tournament, such as Centre Court
— which can seat about 27,000 spectators.
But on Thursday, Williams played against Maria Sakkari on Court 18, a smaller venue that can only fit 782 people, reports The Guardian.
The tennis star said in a press conference that no man in her position would have been relegated to such a lower-tier court.
After defeating Sakkari in a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 match, the 36-year-old demanded equality for men and women players in the tournament during a press conference.
Williams was asked if she could imagine a five-time male champion being scheduled on an outside venue like Court 18, and she reportedly responded with a smile, “I haven’t seen that in the scheduling yet,” according to ESPN.
“I’m willing to play anywhere, any time. I think if all players have to play outside, all players should have to play outside. There shouldn’t be exceptions or any inequality to it. For me, no problems playing anywhere. Anyone should play anywhere. [That means] both men and women,” Williams said.
The tennis pro added that she has played on outside courts many times, and that it doesn’t make a difference to her whether she plays on an outside court or a center court.
But what bothers her is the apparent gender inequality in scheduling at the tournament, she explained.
“To make it crystal clear, like I said, I wasn’t unhappy to play [on Court 18],” Williams said. “I just want equality for men’s and women’s matches. That’s what I’m unhappy about. I have no problem where I play. I’ll play on the practice courts if I need to. I have no problem with that.”
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