Friday 23 August 2019

Thiem hits out at Williams in spat over press facilities


Dominic Thiem. Photo: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images
Dominic Thiem. Photo: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images Sportdesk

Dominic Thiem has accused Serena Williams of showing a "bad personality" after his press conference was cut short to allow the American to take over the main interview room at Roland Garros.

Thiem, who reached his first grand slam final here last year, was discussing his third-round 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 win over Pablo Cuevas with German language journalists when he was told he would need to leave the room.

The fourth seed was understandably unhappy, saying: "I don't really get it, seriously. What the hell? But it's a joke, really. What's the point of that, that I have to leave the room because she's coming?"

It is understood that, while Williams did not request for Thiem to be ousted, she was unwilling to wait for the Austrian to finish and the second interview room was also in use, leaving organisers in a difficult position. The American was not in the best of moods having been beaten by Sofia Kenin in her earliest loss at a grand slam for five years.

Press facilities at Roland Garros this year are smaller than usual because of the redevelopment of Court Philippe Chatrier. Players who refuse to do a post-match press conference are fined.

Roger Federer weighed in on the issue.

Federer said after his fourth-round victory over Leonardo Mayer: "I don't know what went wrong, but something went wrong for this to happen."

Federer's dream return to the French Open continued as the Swiss waltzed into the quarter-finals by giving Argentine Leonardo Mayer a 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 masterclass.

He faces old friend and rival Stan Wawrinka after the 34-year-old beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6.

Rafael Nadal followed Federer's lead with an identical win, beating another Argentine, Juan Ignacio Londero, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.

Irish Independent

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