Marion Bartoli, a French tennis veteran with the IQ of a genius and recently crowned Wimbledon women’s champion, had little to say in the wake of a sexist remark about her looks by way of comparison to Maria Sharapova, a lanky blond from Russia.
BBC radio commentator John Inverdale remarked after Bartoli’s 6-1, 6-4 victory over Germany’s Sabine Lisicki, “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’?”
Bartoli, a first-time winner of a Grand Slam tournament at 28, played it off in a classy way.
“It doesn’t matter, honestly,” Bartolia said. “I am not blond, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I’m sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes.”
Inverdale later apologized, saying it was all in fun.
“We poked fun, in a nice way, about how she looks,” he said, “but Marion Bartoli is an incredible role model.”
That was not lost on Bartoli’s father, who helped develop her game as a coach.
“I am not angry,” Walter Bartoli said. “She is my beautiful daughter.”
Wire service and Internet reports contributed to this story.