Joanita Wibowo

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Serena Williams responds to French Open spat with Dominic Thiem

Serena Williams responds to French Open spat with Dominic Thiem

Serena Williams has spoken up on her spat with Austria’s Dominic Thiem at the French Open 2019.

The 23-time grand slam champion found herself in a growing controversy after Thiem was told to leave in the middle of his post-match press conference and move to a smaller room to accommodate Williams, who at the time just made her earliest grand slam exit in five years after losing to Sofia Kenin.

Thiem reportedly accused Williams of having a “bad personality”. He told Eurosport German: “It is just the principle… even if a junior is in there, every player has to wait.”

Williams said in an interview ahead of the Wimbledon Championships 2019 that she did not demand Thiem to be removed from his press conference.

“I asked them to put me in the small room,” said the 37-year-old. “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 were 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.

“I 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.

“I’m really, quite frankly, too old to be in controversy. That’s why I just wanted to clear the air.”

Williams said she spoke to Thiem about the incident. “I’m like, ‘Dude, I told them that it wasn’t right what they did’. He said he didn’t say ‘bad personality’, that the media mixed up his words. It’s all good.”

She concluded, “They should have never kicked the guy out. It was not cool.”

Williams is vying to win her 24th grand slam title at the Wimbledon to equal the all-time record of Australia’s Margaret Court. “Let’s see how my knee’s going,” said Williams. “I’m finally doing good. I don’t want to, like, go back.”