The high of achieving one of tennis’ greatest feats was met with deflating and unwarranted attention for Marion Bartoli following her women’s singles title at Wimbledon.
Prior to the final, BBC radio announcer John Inverdale made insensitive comments about Bartoli’s appearance, suggesting that she had to work harder to overcome the fact she was “never going to be a looker” and was “never going to be somebody like a Sharapova.”
Both BBC and Inverdale were quick to publicly apologize, but the outcry continued on a day dominated by Andy Murray headlines.
“This is appalling,” Sue Tibbals, chief executive of the Women’s Sports and Fitness Foundation,told Reuters.”Tennis is one of the worst offenders in sport in terms of the focus on women athletes’ looks and the BBC needs to take action.”
BBC allowed Inverdale to call the men’s final between Murray and Novak Djokovic, who started the broadcast with an apology.
“Before we start, I’d like to return to yesterday and a clumsy phrase that I used about Marion Bartoli which has understandably caused something of a furor,” Inverdale said.
“I’ve apologized to Marion by letter if any offense was caused and I do hope that we can leave the matter there.”
Bartoli took Inverdale’s remarks in stride after winning her first-ever major event.
“It doesn’t matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I’m sorry,” she said.”But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes.”