“What the hell?”: Roger Federer dragged into Serena Williams controversy at French Open
Dominic Thiem has continued his feud with Serena Williams, saying the tennis champion has a “bad personality” after he was booted from a press conference room at the French Open to accommodate for Williams.
After a four-set win over Pablo Cuevas in Paris, Thiem was addressing reporters in the main press room before Williams, who had lost to Sofia Kenin, cut his interview short.
The Austrian was asked to give the star priority, and he was not happy about it.
“I don’t really get it, seriously. I mean, what the hell? No, but it’s a joke, really … I have to leave the room because she’s coming?” said Thiem.
“What’s my point of that? I have to leave the room because she’s coming. Well I’ll leave also then. I can also do whatever I want.”
During an interview with EuroSport afterwards, the player accused Williams of having a “bad personality”.
“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. I still made a wrong statement. I said that I am not a junior anymore. But even if a junior is in there, every player has to wait.
“It also shows a bad personality in my opinion. I am 100 per cent sure (Roger) Federer or (Rafa) Nadal would never do something like that.”
But Federer found the entire incident amusing, as he spoke to journalists after his stunning win against Leonardo Mayer.
“I just think it was an unfortunate situation that I thought was funny and we joked about it just before,” he said. “That’s why I’m very much aware of what happened, and that’s why we are laughing in the locker room about it now.
“But in the moment, I’m sure I understand his, like, ‘What is going on? It’s a joke’. How he (Thiem) said it, it was great. I love his accent. In German too, by the way, not just in English. And he knows that.”
But despite him taking the situation lightly, he does believe that Thiem should have been given priority, especially because he was the player who had won the match.
“You know, I don’t know what went wrong, but something went wrong for this to happen,” said Federer. “I think there is, with all the players, always a way to go that, you know, the one who is still in the tournament gets priority. Anyway, that’s how I see it.
“Now, there must have sure been a misunderstanding or maybe they should have kept Serena still in the locker room, not waiting here in the press centre. I don’t know exactly what happened. I understand Dominic’s frustration.”
Williams has yet to address the issue but took to Instagram after losing to Kenin.
“Yesterday was not my day, but it’s about getting up time and time again after you fall. Here’s to a multitude of tomorrows,” she wrote.