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Dominic Thiem accuses Serena Williams of showing 'bad personality' in press-room row
Dominic Thiem says Serena Williams showed "a bad personality" after he was told to end a French Open news conference to make way for her.
A tournament official told the Austrian fourth seed to leave the room while he was speaking to reporters on Saturday.
"Every player has to wait. It shows a bad personality, in my opinion," said Thiem.
Tournament director Guy Forget has apologised to Thiem, who faces Gael Monfils in the fourth round on Monday.
According to French newspaper L'Equipe, 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams was keen to fullfil her media obligations as soon as possible after her surprise third-round loss to fellow American Sofia Kenin, saying "put me in another room, smaller, but now".
Thiem complained to a tournament official at the time of the incident.
"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?" he said.
The 25-year-old added on Sunday that he believed former world number one Williams had contravened the players' usual protocol.
"I wasn't angry or frustrated. Maybe for a couple of minutes or so. It is just the principle," he said. "It doesn't matter if it is me who sits in there, even if a junior is in there.
"I am 100% sure Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal would never do something like that."
Federer said he understood Thiem's frustration, adding that players who had won their match, as Thiem had just done against Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas, are usually given priority over those exiting the tournament.
"I don't know what went wrong but something went wrong for this to happen," the Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion said.
"If I would have lost today against Leonardo Mayer, I would let him go first or decide when he wants to go to press as he's got a next match. My next match is far, far away. So that's just the way you go about it.
"There must have been a misunderstanding, or maybe they should have kept Serena still in the locker room, not waiting here in the press centre."
Last edited by Grossefavourite on Jun Mon 03, 2019 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Serena told the organizers she wanted to do the press conference right away, small room, big room, it didn't matter. They could have taken her to the small room with no journalists since they were busy with Thiem. She was throwing a tantrum, so send her to the empty small room and be done with her.
There was no reason to ask Thiem to leave the big room. If Serena can't wait for her turn to face the journalists, then don't bother others who patiently waited for their time slots.
It's the organizers that decided to kick Thiem out of the the big room. Shame on them.
If the journalists are busy with Thiem and Serena doesn't want to wait, it's up to the organizers to either send her home or send her to another empty room. They dropped the ball. They have no backbone.
I keep saying this is the worst slam. Here is another reason. Organizers can't even keep a press conference schedule straight. Serena, you lost. Be graceful. Wait for your turn and do the interview... or leave and get fined.
PARIS -- Dominic Thiem isn't sure whether Serena Williams or French Open officials were to blame for their pressroom incident over the weekend, but said he is ready to move on from the episode after it "made a big round in all the social networks."
Thiem had to abruptly end his postmatch interview Saturday and was replaced by Williams, who had just been eliminated from the tournament.
"I don't know if it was her mistake or only the mistake of the officials," Thiem said Monday after beating Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the French Open quarterfinals. "I don't know if she saw me, or saw someone was in the room. If she'd seen me, it would have been nicer for her to wait.
"I had an apology [from tournament director Guy Forget]. I don't know whose fault it is exactly. It was just a very strange thing, I never had something like that before. I'm easy-going. Of course it was strange, but I've forgotten it now."
The fourth-seeded Thiem, who was back in the main room Monday, said he understood Williams' desire to get her media responsibilities done as fast as she could.
"She lost and everything," the Austrian said. "So I think it was a little bit mistake of her, mistake of the officials, but as I said, it's forgotten.
"It was a funny thing, strange thing, which made a big round in all the social networks, but now I don't put any attention on it anymore."
After beating Pablo Cuevas in four sets Saturday, Thiem was addressing the media when he was asked to leave the room by an official.
He was quickly replaced by Williams, who arrived 10 minutes early for her media obligation after losing in straight sets to Sofia Kenin.
A frustrated Thiem said: "What the hell? It's a joke really. What's the point of that, that I have to leave the room because she's coming?"
In an interview with Eurosport Germany on Sunday, Thiem said Williams showed a "bad personality" and argued the top men's players would not have done the same thing.
"I wasn't angry or frustrated, maybe for a couple of minutes or so. It's just the principle," he said. "It doesn't matter if it is me who sits in there. Even if a junior is in there, every player has to wait. It is a matter, of course. It also shows a bad personality. I am 100 percent sure [Roger] Federer or [Rafael] Nadal would never do something like that."
Billie Jean King defends Serena Williams over controversy with Thiem
Speaking to journalists in the French Open, women's tennis' icon Billie Jean King commented on the controversy involving Serena Williams and Dominic Thiem. "I understand Thiem got angry with changing room but I do not think that happened because of Serena.
I was a player and I know that after a loss you want to leave the tournament as soon as possible. I understand her sadness and I think there was a lack of communication. That's all." The commentator Ana Navarro added: “It wasn’t her fault.
She didn’t ask for him to be moved… they decided to move him to let the queen come in. Just have a little self-awareness here. Serena Williams is right now a class by her own." King also spoke about the 2018 US Open final controversy: "The coaching should be allowed in tennis.
It's not and then a player gets punished for her coach' actions. That should not happen. When a woman gets emotonal, she is crazy and she gets influenced by that. When a man does the same thing, he is honest and nothing happens.
Thanks Serena Williams for getting the attention on it." On Johanna Konta, King concluded: "She’s really concentrating well and she’s hitting so big – her serve’s big, her groundstrokes are big.
She’s totally focused right now. She just has to stay on, stay the way she is." Serena said she could take a wild card for a grass-court event prior to Wimbledon in order to get more match practice.
Serena Williams: 'I never forced Dominic Thiem to leave press room'
Serena Williams showed up publicly to the press on Saturday at Wimbledon for the first time since her controversy with Dominic Thiem in press conference at the French Open. The American player clarified that the Austrian did not leave the room because of her.
"Yeah, I asked them to put me in the small room. I begged them to put me in the small room, and they didn’t. I said, “Listen, I can come back. I’m just going to go back”. They’re like, “No, stay here”.
They pulled him out. I was like, “You guys are so rude to do that,” quote-unquote, that’s what I said. The next day I had a bad personality. Literally that’s what happened. Actually stuck up for the guy, so… I don’t understand how I got a bad personality for telling them what they did was wrong to him.
But we spoke about it. I’ve always liked him. I still like him. He’s a great, like, player. I mean, he’s unbelievable. I’m really, quite frankly, too old to be in controversy. That’s why I just wanted to clear the air.
I’m like, “Dude, I told them that it wasn’t right what they did”. He said he didn’t say “bad personality”, that you guys mixed up his words. It’s all good. That’s literally what happened", said Serena. "They should have never kicked the guy out. Like, it was not cool.’