Ser­ena is off court sched­ule

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - LEO SCHLINK

SER­ENA Wil­liams is poised to lead a re­volt against sex­ist tour­na­ment or­gan­is­ers – even as her grand slam im­mor­tal­ity looms.

Pur­su­ing Aus­tralian Mar­garet Court’s record of 24 grand slam ti­tles, the Amer­i­can is the most suc­cess­ful of all con­tem­po­rary play­ers, with 20 ma­jors.

Her tally sur­passes Roger Fed­erer ( 17) and Rafael Nadal ( 14), but she is fu­ri­ous with what many lead­ing women play­ers be­lieve is bi­ased sched­ul­ing.

The play­ers en­joy prize­money equal­ity, but the top women in­sist their male coun­ter­parts rou­tinely get pref­er­en­tial sched­ul­ing.

Wil­liams and Caro­line Woz­ni­acki have ac­cused All Eng­land Club of­fi­cials of shunt­ing them to smaller courts.

Woz­ni­acki claimed “dif­fer­ent” stan­dards meant women were given fewer op­por­tu­ni­ties to play on show courts.

“We’re still fight­ing on that,” Wil­liams said. “We’ve made some progress, but hope­fully we’ll keep mak­ing more progress.

“Hope­fully we’ll get to the point where we’ll even have more fea­tured matches. I don’t think it’s lim­ited to Wim­ble­don – pretty much most of the tour­na­ments that are both men and women.

“It’s a huge con­ver­sa­tion that we have to have.”

Nine of 24 matches sched­uled on Cen­tre Court in the first seven days were from the women’s draw.

“I would love to play on a big court,” Woz­ni­acki said. “That’s what it’s all about.

“You work hard and prac­tise to play on the big courts. The women re­ally haven’t got­ten the op­por­tu­nity here to play on the big courts.

“You only get one women’s match on Court One and Cen­tre Court ( a day, un­til the sec­ond Tues­day). Most of last week it was only one women’s match on Court Two as well.

“I think a lot of us women feel we de­serve to play on the big courts in front of a big crowd, as well.”

Wil­liams, Maria Shara­pova, Gar­bine Mugu­ruza and Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska will play on cen­tre court in the semi- fi­nals and fi­nals.

Wil­liams holds a 17- 2 head- to­head ad­van­tage over Shara­pova and is a short- priced favourite to land her sixth Wim­ble­don. If so, she would hold all four ma­jors.

Wil­liams, 33, is aim­ing to be­come the first player since Ger­man St­effi Graf in 1988 to win the Aus­tralian, French, US Open and Wim­ble­don in the same year.

Five play­ers in history have man­aged the feat — Aus­tralians Rod Laver ( 1962 and ’ 69), Mar­garet Court ( 1970), Amer­i­cans Don Budge ( 1938) and Mau­reen Con­nolly ( 1953) and Graf.

Pic­ture: JUSTIN TAL­LIS

FIGHT­ING FIT: Ser­ena

Wil­liams re­acts af­ter win­ning a point against

Vic­to­ria Azarenka dur­ing their women's quar­ter- fi­nal at

Wim­ble­don.

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