VIENNA (AFP) – Austrian tennis ace Dominic Thiem on Tuesday (June 12) offered Serena Williams a mixed doubles jaunt in an attempt to put their French Open press room dispute behind them.
He had reacted with disbelief when officials had asked him, mid-post match interview, to leave the main interview room at Roland Garros so that the American superstar, who had just been knocked out, would not be kept waiting.
He then accused the 23-time Grand Slam winner, who had just suffered her earliest exit at a major tournament in almost five years, of having a “bad personality” and said he would have waited even for a junior player to finish.
There was a backlash on social media over the incident.
But on Tuesday, the Austrian was more conciliatory, saying he had already forgotten about the incident before half-heartedly suggesting a match-up.
“As a way of putting it behind us, I could play mixed doubles with Serena at Wimbledon or New York,” he said.
However, French sports daily L’Equipe claimed that Williams had no preference over where she carried out her press conference that day.
“Put me in another room, a smaller one, but now,” she was reported to have said.
With Williams reportedly becoming increasingly impatient, officials looked to rescue the situation by moving Thiem to another room.
“That’s really impolite,” she was heard to say.
Thiem was beaten by Nadal in straight sets in last year’s French Open final, but pushed his illustrious Spanish opponent all the way in the first two sets this year before running out of steam and losing 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
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