The WTA has landed itself in hot water by asking Twitter users to vote for the ‘best dressed’ female tennis players at Wimbledon.
People were encouraged to ‘vote for their favourite Wimbledon whites’ by the official WTA Twitter account – and unsurprisingly, it kicked off a sexism row.
Stop asking people to objectify these incredible athletes and don’t diminish their talent to who looks best in a dress Twitter correspondent
The organising body of women’s professional tennis describes itself as ‘the global leader in women’s professional sport’ – tweeted the link to a poll asking tennis fans to choose the female player they thought was ‘best dressed’ with Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber, Heather Watson, Kristina Mladenovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Carina Witthoeft and Alizé Cornet as options.
“Despite the all-white clothing rule, women’s tennis players always impress with their innovative and stylish outfits, as their clothing sponsors go an extra mile to create visually interesting designs by playing with a wide range of textures and materials, combining them in unique ways,” it reads.
Not much gets past social media these days and outraged Twitter users piled in to criticise the WTA as sexist.
It was accused of ‘objectifying’ women and reducing the players to their looks, particularly since they all wear pretty much the same white outfits and it is 2017.
“Stop asking people to objectify these incredible athletes and don’t diminish their talent to who looks best in a dress,” wrote one.
Another added: “Is there a men’s best dressed competition too?”
A handful of people took the tweet at face value and shared their thoughts on who they thought was best dressed, while most were quick to call out the WTA for treating the women as “clothes horses”.
This latest outrage came just hours after Andy Murray corrected a journalist who asked a question that ignored women players in the sport.
Despite the backlash, the poll – which describes the women’s clothing as ‘stunning’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘feminine’ – is still open and Simona Halep is in the lead with 35 per cent of the vote.
A spokesperson for the WTA said: “Tennis has a rich history linking the sport with fashion, and this is no more evident than at The Championships.
“The traditional all-white dress code at Wimbledon is one of the most famous and iconic aspects of tennis, and the recent WTA best-dressed poll was created to celebrate this unique feature of the All England Lawn Tennis Club.
“We see nothing wrong with promoting athleticism while celebrating Wimbledon’s wonderful dress code.”
The row comes in the wake of other sexism accusations at Wimbledon this year, including a debate over the scheduling of men’s and women’s matches on the show courts.
During an interview on BBC 5 Live, Chris Evert brought up the issue of the fact that while men and women earn equal amounts at every stage throughout the tournament, there needs to be a discussion about why there isn’t equal representation on Centre Court and No 1 Court.
“Instead of four men’s matches and two women’s matches, I would like to see, and I think all women would like to see, three men’s matches and three women’s matches to go along with the equal prize money,” she said.
Venus fined for missing interviews
Venus Williams has been fined for refusing two post-match interviews during her run to the Wimbledon final.
The American turned down mandatory interviews with the BBC, which is the host broadcaster, and her national broadcaster ESPN following a quarter-final win against Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday.
Williams will lose $7,500 US (£5,800) of her prize money as a result, the International Tennis Federation said.
It is not the first time that Williams has been fined for avoiding media obligations at a Grand Slam event.
She was fined $5,000 at the 2016 Australian Open for skipping the news conference after her first-round loss.
She will face Garbine Muguruza in Saturday’s final, targeting the top prize of £2.2million.
Her penalty was listed under the category ‘media conference’ but a spokesman for the ITF said it related to the two television interviews.
Williams has attended every press conference during the championships.
She gave interviews following her semi-final win against Great Britain’s Johanna Konta, and on Saturday the 37-year-old will attempt to become the oldest Wimbledon women’s singles champion in the open era.
She was not alone in being fined, with 36-year-old Swiss Martina Hingis receiving a $3,000 (£2,300) penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, after hitting her racket against the grass in frustration during a women’s doubles quarter-final played on Centre Court on Wednesday.
Hingis and Chan Yung-jan lost the match to Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke.
She has also been competing at Wimbledon in mixed doubles with Great Britain’s Jamie Murray.
Fan attacks woman on Henman Hill
It is reported that a man was arrested after attacking a woman on Henman Hill following Andy Murray’s quarter-final defeat to American Sam Querrey.
The assault, in which a nine-year-old girl was also hurt, came five minutes after the World No 1 was sent crashing out of the tournament at just before 4pm on Wednesday.
One onlooker said: “It appeared as if they were supporting different people. Henman Hill was packed — it always is when Murray is playing. There was a lot of jostling for space and a fair bit of drink had been taken on board.”
Henman Hill, which was given its nickname in the Nineties as fans gathered to watch Tim Henman, is popular with spectators for its large outdoor screen.
It was packed for the clash with Querrey, who won in five sets.
Temperatures rose above 20C and attendance reached 38,348, almost 2,000 more than on the same day last year.
The woman was taken to hospital for neck injuries while the girl was treated at the scene after getting caught up in the row.
At one point the man, in his twenties, pushed the woman over. He has accepted a police caution.
Figures reveal the championships have been relatively trouble-free this year, with 19 reports of crimes leading to nine arrests.
One man was arrested for alleged money-laundering, related to ticket touting, and another was held for alleged immigration offences.
There was also one arrest for alleged shoplifting and possession of class A drugs, one for two counts of actual bodily harm and affray, one for assault, three for possession of a pointed/blade article and one for a public order offence.
The figures relate to arrests for incidents alleged to have taken place at the grounds of the All England Club up until Wednesday.