‘Ugly’ female tennis players bannished from centre court at Wimbledon

Here’s a charming story that makes you want to check your diary to make sure it’s still 2009. Not being a follower of sport, I was only dimly aware that Wimbledon was on at the moment. But the UK papers have broken an ugly ugly story about the disgraceful sexism currently unfolding. 

In short: the hot girls are being scheduled to play on centre court even when they are very low in international player rankings. Meanwhile, those high ranking players considered by some sexist morons to be unattractive, are being relegated to outer, less prominent courts. Pix after the jump. You decide….

Above: The unseeded world No 45, Gisela Dulko, during last week’s Battle of the Babes

above: World No 59 Maria Kirilenko of Russia 


Above: No 28 seed Sorana Cirstea of Romania


No 5 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia

No 1 seed Dinara Safina of Russia


No 2 seed Serena Williams of the U.S.

The best part is that Wimbledon officials are not even trying to hide it! According to the Daily Mail today:

When it comes to choosing which women play on Centre Court, good looks count for more than big shots. While a succession of easy-on-the-eye unknowns have appeared in Wimbledon’s prime arena, the top women’s seeds have been relegated to lesser courts. 

And last night, the All England Club admitted that physical attractiveness is taken into consideration. Spokesman Johnny Perkins said: ‘Good looks are a factor.’

In the men’s tournament, five-times winner Roger Federer and British hope Andy Murray invariably play on Centre. But on Friday, after Federer left the court, the next match was Victoria Azarenka of Belarus against Romania’s Sorana Cirstea. While both 19-year-olds have top form in the glamour department, Miss Cirstea was seeded 28 while Miss Azarenka, who won, is ranked and seeded eighth.

That same day, second seed Serena Williams was relegated to the new No 2 Court for her win over Italian Roberta Vinci. The fact that many seats remained empty for the Cirstea-Azarenka clash implies that the knowledgeable SW19 crowd were underwhelmed by the tennis on offer.

Which would suggest that attractive players are placed on Centre to titillate the BBC television audience, some of whom care more for a pretty face than a powerful forehand. A BBC source said: ‘It’s the Wimbledon play committee, not us who decides on the order of play. But obviously it’s advantageous to us if there are good-looking women players on Centre Court.

[Thanks Katie]