Marion Bartoli just earned her first career major tournament title by winning Wimbledon, however she still is “not a looker” in the eyes of one BBC commentator. During the tournament, John Inverdale was perhaps a bit too fixated with her looks, and not enough with her play. If he had his mind in the right place, he would have seen one heck of a tennis performance.
This marks a fitting end to an incredibly unpredictable Wimbledon where the upset became the norm. How else would a 15 seeded Marion Bartoli who never even made it to a semi-final round in 2013 prior to winning one of the sports biggest tournaments.
In becoming the biggest underdog to win a major tournament in major memory, Bartoli not only beat her opponents, she dominated them. Evidenced by her final victory over Sabine Lisicki, which she won in straight sets 6-1, 6-4.
Bartoli did not lose a set the entire tournament, becoming just the sixth woman to accomplish such a feat. Utilizing an unorthodox style that saw her use both hands to strike the ball from both sides, she was able to keep her opponents at bay with ease.
Proof of this lies in the footage, which can be seen below from her semifinal match.
It is impossible to say whether or not she will achieve lasting success, given that she won Wimbledon without having to play against a single top ten seed.
John Inverdale missed the beauty of Bartoli’s quality play that enabled her to win one of the biggest tournaments in tennis, and instead focused on her “not being a looker.”
During her match against Sabine Lisicki, Inverdale said “Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little ‘You’re never going to be a looker’?” Inverdale said during the match.”’You’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight.’”
Incredibly inappropriate, the BBC quickly apologized for the actions their commentator took. Shortly after the comment was made, BBC released a statement saying “We accept that this remark was insensitive and for that we apologise.”
Inverdale himself appeared to see no harm in what he had said, stating after the match was over that “We poked fun, in a nice way, about how she looks … but Marion Bartoli is an incredible role model.” Hardly an apology.
Social media was in uproar over the comments, people stormed Twitter with an incredible amount of Inverdale tweets featuring the hashtag #everydaysexism.
Even her father Walter had a response to the comments, seeming confused as to where Inverdale was coming from. “The relationship between Marion and me has always been unbelievable so I don’t know what this reporter is talking about,” he said.
Inappropriate remarks such as this don’t come about every day, and hearing this I can not help but to think back to Don Imus calling female basketball players “nappy headed hoes” a few years ago.
Shocking comments made by John Inverdale should not take away from the amazing accomplishment made by Marion Bartoli today. She earned her first major tournament victory and earned the right to celebrate tonight. She proved to the world that she is a winner, even if John Inverdale thinks she’s “not a looker.”
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express