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Sport
Kit Bag

Williams adds to long and short of game debate

The National staff   |  September 30, 2013

Former world No 1 Venus Williams says she would be happy to play five-set matches. Kiyoshi Ota / EPA
KIYOSHI OTA STR
Former world No 1 Venus Williams says she would be happy to play five-set matches. Kiyoshi Ota / EPA

Former women’s world No 1 Venus Williams has said she would have no issues with playing five sets at grand slam tournaments after Andy Murray’s recent call for equal match lengths in men’s and women’s tennis.

“Sure, not a problem,” said the American, 33. “If we have to play best-of-three, we play best-of-three. If it’s best-of-five, that’s fine too. Either way, it’s not a problem.”

German Angelique Kerber echoed the seven-time grand slam singles champion’s sentiments, saying: “I think we are fit and strong enough to play five sets.”

However, Czech Petra Kvitova appeared less than thrilled at the prospect.

“I don’t know if I’m prepared for best-of-five matches,” said the 2011 Wimbledon champion, who won in Tokyo on Saturday.

“The top 50 are getting so much better and that’s why matches are so close now,” she said after a tour-high 32nd three-set match of the season.

“I’d need to work more on stamina and do more running to be able to play best-of-five.”

Murray suggested last month that the men should drop to three sets or women should play over five in order to justify equal pay.

WTA tour chief Stacey Allaster responded by claiming her players were “ready and willing” to play five sets at the four major tournaments.

Debate over equal playing time has increased now that women are paid the same as men at the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

But the WTA pointed out that the grand slams would first have to request that the women play longer matches before any move in that direction happens.

– Agence France-Presse