Tuesday 27 September 2016

BBC condemned for tweet about Serena Williams

Jack de Menezes

Published 08/07/2016 | 16:33

US player Serena Williams (L) and US player Venus Williams (R) play against Russia's Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina during their women's doubles quarter-final match on the eleventh day of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 7, 2016. / AFP / LEON NEAL / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
US player Serena Williams (L) and US player Venus Williams (R) play against Russia's Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina during their women's doubles quarter-final match on the eleventh day of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 7, 2016. / AFP / LEON NEAL / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

The BBC have come under fire for appearing to question Serena Williams’ claim that equal pay for male and female tennis players is fair after she beat Elena Vesnina in their Wimbledon semi-final encounter in just 48 minutes.

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Williams steamrolled her way past the Russian in the fastest ever Wimbledon semi-final to reach a ninth career final at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, with Angelique Kerber the only person in between the world No 1 and a seventh title at SW19.

However, a tweet sent out from the official BBC Sport Twitter account questioned whether the claim for women players to receive the same prize money as their male colleagues, given the short length of the match between Williams and Vesnina.

The tweet read: “Her match lasted just 48 minutes…but Serena Williams says female players deserve equal pay.”

The tweet was soon deleted and replaced with a straightforward post that simply quoted the American tennis great.

The post drew criticism from social media users who felt that it did not help achieving equal rights within the sport with such a tweet.

Speaking after the semi-final victory, 34-year-old Williams said: "I don't deserve to be paid less because of my sex.

"Basically my whole life I've been doing this. I haven't had a life.

"I would like to see people - the public, the press, other athletes in general - just realise and respect women for who they are and what we are and what we do."

Williams’s final opponent Kerber was also asked for her views on the matter, and the German echoed that of the woman she will face on Saturday afternoon.

"We are giving everything on court, everybody. You never know if it's two hours or, at the end, eight hours,” Kerber said after she beat Venus Williams on Thursday.

Williams has been a prominent voice in the battle to achieve equal pay for women in tennis, with her claim to being one of the greatest to grace the court helping to give her a platform from which to be heard.

However, her male world No 1 counterpart Novak Djokovic spoke earlier in the year of his belief that men should be paid more because they attract larger audiences, while the former Indian Wells tournament chief Raymond Moore sparked mass criticism when he claimed women were “riding on the coat tails” of the men’s game and said that they “should get down on their knees” to thank their male counterparts.

Moore resigned after his making his comments, while Djokovic apologised the following day, saying: "I don't make any differences between the genders. I am for equality in the sport."

(© Independent News Service)

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