Serena Williams skipped a big Wimbledon event and speculation has started to leak out for the potential reason why.
On Monday morning (AEST) Wimbledon held a Centenary celebration, commemorating 100 years of the Centre Court location. Roger Federer, who missed the whole tournament with a knee injury, flew in for the occasion and was one of more than two dozen former champions in attendance, The New York Post reports.
Ash Barty and Aussie idol Evonne Goolagong missed the event.Williams, who was upset by Harmony Tan in the first round, snubbed it completely.
The Telegraph in the UK reports that this decision might be linked to Williams being “disappointed” that she was unable to keep use of five courtesy cars provided by the All England Club for the whole tournament.The rules stipulate that players must return their courtesy cars within 24 hours of getting knocked out. Williams reportedly sought to keep the cars, which she was using for herself plus her husband, sister, mother, and coach, after Wimbledon concluded.
However, the paper said her request was denied. The courtesy cars, which feature distinctive Wimbledon branding, are provided by the tournament sponsor, Jaguar Land Rover, according to The Times of London.
“She wanted to use the cars for the whole two weeks because that’s what happens at the other grand slams,” an unnamed source told the Telegraph. “She was told that was not possible because they had to be used by the other players. She was not happy. Maybe that’s why she refused to take part in the centenary parade.”
Williams had not yet returned to America; she attended a Rolling Stones concert with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, in London on the same day as the Centenary celebration. The 40-year-old Williams is a seven-time Wimbledon singles champion.