London, June 30 (ANI): The decision of the All England Club to take the physical appearance of women into consideration when planning their schedule for Centre Court matches at Wimbledon has left Australia's former Federation Cup captain, John Alexander, appalled.
"That is an extraordinary thing to do. It is absolutely and totally inappropriate. We are talking about Wimbledon, the holiest place there is in tennis. It is absolutely absurd and I cannot believe it is the case," Alexander told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The following women have all played on Wimbeldon's hallowed Centre Court in the past week: Gisela Dulko (unseeded), Victoria Azarenka (8th seed), Sorana Cirstea (27th), Caroline Wozniacki, (9th) and Maria Kirilenko (unseeded, ranked 59).
They are hardly household names, but have one thing in common - they're easy on the eye. Major champions Svetlana Kuznetsova, who won the French Open and is seeded No. 5, and Serena Williams, No. 2, have been pushed to the outside courts.
A spokesman from the All England Club, Johnny Perkins, was quoted in the Daily Mail newspaper in London: "Good looks are a factor. 'It's not a coincidence that those [on Centre Court] are attractive."
Perkins later denied this.
"Looks per se are not taken into account," Perkins told the Herald.
However, he acknowledged "box office appeal" was one of 28 points considered when courts were allocated.
Asked if being relegated to court two for an early round match bothered her, two-time champion Serena Williams said she was not bothered.
"It's a really nice court," said Williams.
Alexander said such things would not happen in Australia.
Australia's Pat Cash, a regular antagonist, said that "sexiness" was pretty much all the women's game had going for it with the competition overshadowed by the men.
Another Wimbledon champion, German Michael Stich, also maintained sex appeal was crucial to female players. "That's [sex] is what they sell," he said.
But the chief executive of WTA Tour, Larry Scott, denied appearance was paramount. (ANI)