Venus Williams looks on during the Ladies Singles Quarter Finals match against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan on day eight of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2016 in London, England.
Photograph by Julian Finney—Getty Images
By Rachaell Davis and ESSENCE
July 5, 2016

This story originally appeared on Essence.com.

Tennis champion Venus Williams has been vocal about the glaring inequalities in the way men and women are regarded in the professional sports industry for much of her career and she recently spoke out about an issue relating to the topic yet again.

Venus took part in the first week of 2016 Wimbledon matchups held during the last week of June. When rainy weather conditions forced organizers to schedule a massive number of competitors with a limited number of courts available, Venus was displeased to learn that she’d been scheduled to play on a court much smaller than normal. “I wasn’t unhappy to play on Court 18,” she told reporters following Thursday’s win over Greece’s Maria Sakkari. “I just want equality for men’s and women’s matches. That’s what I’m unhappy about. I have no problem where I play. I’ll play on the practice courts if I need to. I have no problem with that.”

The Wimbledon organization has reportedly admitted in the past that the “attractiveness” of female players is taken into consideration when preparing the schedule and faced much scrutiny as a result.

The five-time Wimbledon champion being scheduled to play on court 18 came as shock to many fans and other competitors, but Venus says it’s the Wimbledon powers-that-be who will ultimately determine whether or not ensuring equal treatment of male and female WTA athletes is given priority at their competition. “I’m sure that the WTA supervisors have done their best to try to make the schedule equal. But also the All England Club has to have a culture where they want to have equality, as well,” Williams said. “They need to want to pursue that. I would love to see where we don’t have to talk about this anymore in the press conference.”

 

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