Shortly before Marion Bartoli defeated Sabine Lisicki in the women’s Wimbledon draw Saturday, BBC commentator John Inverdale wondered aloud on-air about Bartoli’s looks. Inverdale asked, “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?'”
Viewers and other outraged fans took to Twitter voicing their concerns and demanding BBC remove Inverdale from coverage of the men’s final and take some action against the longtime BBC presenter. However, when BBC’s Sunday coverage of the men’s final opened, Inverdale was there.
Inverdale opened with an apology, calling his comments “ham-fisted” and “clumsy.” He told viewers he had apologized by letter to Bartoli and hoped that the audience could leave the matter there.
The BBC said in a release they accepted Inverdale’s remark was insensitive and for that they apologized.
The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, have combined to win 10 of the past 14 women’s Wimbledon titles. The Williams sisters have dominated women’s tennis for more than a decade, while also gracing the front of both mainstream and sports magazines and running a personality empire that includes tennis, clothing lines, and other businesses.
Sharapova, specifically mentioned by Inverdale, won the 2004 Wimbledon title and is a holder of the coveted career Grand Slam, having won all four Grand Slam events in her career. She has been featured as a model and commercial actress.