Questions over scheduling at Wimbledon as women players kept off centre court
Summary of story from The Telegraph, June 24, 2011
Venus and Serena Williams, who have won 13 Wimbledon singles and doubles titles, will this year have played just two of their first six matches on Centre Court between them.
This has raised questions from top players and officials, with Andy Roddick stating: “If it wasn’t a little surprising, we wouldn’t be talking about it.”
The Williams sisters are currently seeded at seven and 23 in the world rankings, leading some to claim that their allocation to Courts No 1 and 2 is not an unusual decision.
Perhaps more unusual was the decision that Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva, the world’s top two players in the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) rankings have both been scheduled on Court No 2.
The last time that two women’s matches were played on Centre Court in the same day was 2006, and that was because a second men’s match was being resumed from a previous day.
But practically without exception, the formula is two men’s matches and one women’s. It is — or at least, can be construed as — a stark statement of how Wimbledon regards the relative worth of the men’s and women’s tournaments.
Wozniacki said: “I think the traditions are tough to change here. Everyone wants to play on Centre Court, and I think some days if would be nice if there were two women’s matches on there.”
Women’s matches tend to be shorter than men’s and therefore considered by some not to be such good value for money, but it is clear whatever the reasons, court scheduling tends to go in the favour of the male players.
Men and women did not receive equal prize money at Wimbledon until 2007.