Dominic Thiem said Serena Williams has a “bad personality” following a clash at the French Open regarding press conferences.
Thiem was speaking to the media after his win over Pablo Cuevas on Saturday, although his presser was interrupted to accommodate Williams, who was beaten by Sofia Kenin on the same day. It meant Thiem was shifted to a smaller room.
It was a move that clearly left the men’s fourth seed unhappy:
Biola Solace-Chukwu @Beeorlicious
Dominic Thiem was midway through the German-speaking section of his press conference when he was told he had to leave the main interview room and switch to a smaller one in order to accommodate Serena Williams after her loss to Sofia Kenin. He was furious. Understandably. #RG19 https://t.co/KyzOAuh8mm
Speaking to Eurosport Germany , the Austrian said he was surprised by the decision and was critical of the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion:
“Actually, I wasn’t angry or frustrated. Maybe for a couple of minutes or so. It is just the principle.
“It doesn’t matter, if it is me who sits in there. I still made a wrong statement. I said that I am not a junior anymore. But even if a junior is in there, every player has to wait. It is a matter of course. It also shows a bad personality in my opinion. I am 100 per cent sure [Roger] Federer or [Rafael] Nadal would never do something like that.”
Per Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times, Roger Federer was asked about the situation and took a light-hearted view:
Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg
“‘It’s a joke’-how he said it was great. I love his accent.” -Roger Federer enjoyed the video of Dominic Thiem seething yesterday as much as anyone. #RG19
Per Reuters, Federer, who is in the quarter-finals after a comfortable win over Leonardo Mayer on Sunday, also said he understood why Thiem was so frustrated.
“I think there is, with all the players, always a way to go that the one who is still in the tournament gets priority,” he said, per . “If I would have lost today against Mayer, I would let Mayer go first or decide when he wants to go to press as he’s got a next match.”
Thiem is one of the favourites for the French Open title, having made it to the final a year ago. He was defeated by Rafael Nadal, who clinched his 11th title at Roland Garros.
In the buildup to the event Thiem won the Barcelona Open, having beaten Nadal on the way to final. However, he’s not been at his fluid best so far in the French capital and has a tough match against home favourite Gael Monfils on Monday.
Williams’ elimination in Round 3 continued what has been a frustrating year for her in regards to form and fitness. She last won one of the four Grand Slam events in 2017 at the Australian Open.