x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli dismisses 'looker' remark

Frenchwoman says she dreamed of winning at All England club, not being a model in retort to BBC presenter's remark 'she will never be a Sharapova'.

Marion Bartoli concedes she is not blonde but says she never dreamed to have a model contract anyway.
Marion Bartoli concedes she is not blonde but says she never dreamed to have a model contract anyway.

Marion Bartoli, the Wimbledon champion, on Saturday night said she would not let comments about her appearance from a senior BBC presenter spoil the greatest day of her life.

The BBC was forced to apologise on Saturday after John Inverdale suggested the French player was "never going to be a looker".

Inverdale made the disparaging remark on BBC Radio 5 Live, shortly after French player Marion Bartoli defeated Germany's Sabine Lisicki on Centre Court.

Bartoli, 28, sank to her knees after she clinched the title and then made a beeline for the player's box where she embraced her father and former coach, Walter.

Inverdale reportedly told listeners: "Do you think Bartoli's dad told her when she was little, 'You're never going to be a looker, you'll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight'?

The BBC later apologised for the comments, with a spokesman saying: "We accept that this remark was insensitive and for that we apologise."

"It doesn't matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact," Bartoli said in a briefing. "Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I'm sorry.

"But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes.

"And to share this moment with my dad was absolutely amazing and I am so proud of it.

"I am sure I will be able to watch the DVD of the match over and over again and look at the picture of me when I am holding it [the trophy] in my arms. That is the most important thing to me and not what I can do outside of the court."

Earlier Inverdale told his listeners that he poked fun at the player's looks "in a nice way".

"She is an incredible role model for people who aren't born with all the attributes of natural athletes," he added.


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