Natasha Hinde   |   August 1, 2017    8:55 AM ET

Serena Williams has written a powerful open letter calling on black women to fight hard for equal pay. 

The 35-year-old tennis star said the gender pay gap “hits women of colour the hardest”, adding that for every dollar a man makes in the US, black women make 63 cents. 

In the poignant piece, published by Fortune, Williams spoke candidly of her own rise to fame and the difficulties she encountered along the way, including sexism and racism.

She finished up by asking black women to “be fearless”, “speak out for equal pay” and “know their worth”.

There’s no denying Williams is one of the most successful women ever, but it hasn’t been an easy ride for the tennis player.

She said growing up she was told she couldn’t accomplish her dreams because she was a woman, but more so, because she was black. 

“In every stage of my life, I’ve had to learn to stand up for myself and speak out,” she wrote.

“I have been treated unfairly, I’ve been disrespected by my male colleagues and—in the most painful times—I’ve been the subject of racist remarks on and off the tennis court.”

Most recently, retired tennis player John McEnroe suggested that although Williams is the “best female player ever ― no question”, she would struggle playing against men. He said: “If she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world.”

His comments prompted a major backlash which led to other tennis players - Andy Murray included - jumping to Williams’ defence. 

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Williams credited her inner drive and supportive family for her successes, but added that the “injustices still hurt”.

The 35-year-old called on women to work together “to change the story”, adding that “we deserve equal pay for our mothers, our wives, our daughters, our nieces, friends, and colleagues—but mostly, for ourselves”.

She concluded: “Black women: Be fearless. Speak out for equal pay. Every time you do, you’re making it a little easier for a woman behind you.

“Most of all, know that you’re worth it. It can take a long time to realise that. It took me a long time to realise it. But we are all worth it. I’ve long said, ‘You have to believe in yourself when no one else does’. Let’s get back those 37 cents.”

Why Roger Federer's Eighth Wimbledon Win Is His Best Yet

Grace Freeman   |   July 21, 2017    4:49 PM ET

Long before this year's Wimbledon final, Roger Federer had already made history. In a career spanning almost twenty years (he first won the junior title at the All England Club in 1998), he's repeatedly set the bar for professional tennis and continues to amaze critics, fans, and fellow competitors. Amongst his plethora of achievements over the years, the biggest is his staggering number of Grand Slams; no other male tennis player has ever won as many. His most recent Wimbledon win--an insurmountable eighth--was his nineteenth career major and it broke his own record, which was set earlier this year at the Australian Open.

Numbers aside, it goes without saying that Federer is, to this day, the most-adored player of the Open Era. He has an incredible fan base spanning across the entire globe and is revered on almost every court he steps foot on. I've been a fan for over a decade (the epic 2008 Wimbledon final against Rafael Nadal was a tremendous upset at the time) and, of all the individuals I admire, Federer is the one who most verges on something akin to idolisation. Even after years of watching him play, I'm continually astounded by his grace and his grit; I must have said it so many times, but I can never say it enough: watching his backhand is like watching unwritten poetry. He brings an artistry to the sport that, otherwise, I would never have thought possible. I enjoy tennis, I enjoy other tennis players, and whenever Federer decides to retire, I will (weep and wail) still watch tennis--but no one else will ever come as close to defining it.

Last weekend's men's final wasn't the best sporting match we could have hoped for, in terms of competition or grit or tension, but none of that should dull Federer's incomparable shine. During the course of the Championship, he played some of the best tennis that I, as a spectator, have seen him play in the last five years, he met each match with focus and sincerity, and he won the title without losing a single set to any of his opponents--no man has done that on a grass court in over four decades.

I've always had a penchant for his 2012 victory, but I think 2017 might just be my favourite yet--not only because it truly is one for the history books, in terms of facts and figures, but because for the first time in a long time, Federer dictated his own success. Up until his triumph at the Rod Laver arena earlier this year, after six months away from competing, there were very few sports journalists who believed he could and would succeed in a Grand Slam again. There's much talk of this being his comeback, but quite honestly, he never really left. Federer is glorious, living proof that you're only ever done when you say that you're done, no one else. Beyond tennis--beyond all sport--that, as a concept alone, is remarkably inspiring. As a long-time admirer, he didn't need the trophy for me to ever believe he was capable of doing it--but seeing him lift it feels so, so good.

The Value Of Greatness

James Fenn   |   July 20, 2017    7:49 PM ET

The Wimbledon Men's final was certainly not a classic. An injury effected Marin Cilic combined with Roger Federer's sheer dominance made it something of a procession. But the fact that Federer won, and was many people's favourite for the crown, shouldn't hide how extra-ordinary a result this was. It is a full 18 years since the Swiss superstar first featured at SW19 and five since he last lifted the title. He lost half of last season to injury leading many to declare that the age of Federer was over. 2 Grand Slams in a year later, how wrong they were. Federer's win, and this resurgence in form has cemented him as the greatest tennis player of all time and earned a spot in a special club, the most marketable athletes in history. So what is it that makes Roger Federer such a draw for the media and for brands?

You wouldn't say he's the most relatable athlete in the world. A Swiss man playing a sport with a distinctly middle and upper class tradition, he doesn't have the everyman (or woman) appeal of say a Michael Jordan, Andrew Flintoff, Jessica Ennis-Hill or Tiger Woods in his peak. He seems perfectly nice, but he doesn't have the infectious personality of say a Usain Bolt or a David Beckham, or even the lightening rod personality of a Muhammed Ali or Floyd Mayweather. He's won on an unprecedented scale, which is certainly a factor, but so has Serena Williams, so did Jack Nicklaus, Dan Carter, Michael Schumacher, and while at their peak these were/are all incredibly marketable athletes, Federer seems to have outstripped them. Why?

The most iconic and marketable athletes represent something - a way of life or a mentality. Choosing to follow an athlete and buy products in is a statement of belief in what they believe in because the clothes we wear and the athletes we support are outward representations of what we want to world to know about us. It's the same reason people buy Macs to appear creative, or wear clothes with Harley Davidson logos to look rebellious. The choices we make reflect who we want to be, and choosing to follow the endorsement of an athlete is no different.

Michael Jordan and his famous Jumpman logo represents that there is no limit to what you can achieve. An important message, particularly for young black American who remain his biggest fanbase. Usain Bolt represents that it's ok to have fun while being great and Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods in his prime represented that striving to be dominant and mercilessly crush the opposition can be cool.

So what of Federer then? Certainly he has that air of dominance, but he isn't particularly relatable and his doesn't have a hugely dynamic personality. What he does have though, is a sense of style, and a sense of values, that is truly irresistible. He plays the game not just well, not just effectively, but beautifully. Read a match report of Federer game and the writer probably waxed lyrical with emotive language about the quality of shots. It is truly inspiring. Compare it to his great rivals Novak Djokovic (ruthless efficiency) and Rafael Nadal (terrifying athleticism) and clearly Federer's style is the one people find most inspiring. He also just seems to play the game the right way. Gracious in victory or defeat, not petulant (something Andy Murray has found himself accused of) and not aggressive. Cooler than cool, suaver than suave. James Bond on grass.

Just as Bond is one of film's most iconic characters, and one of it's most sellable, Federer is an aspirational figure. Talented, cool, but still moral, still respectable. It is these things that have cemented him as one of sports most iconic figures, and will continue to have him representing brands for years to come.

Natasha Hinde   |   July 14, 2017    9:05 AM ET

Andy Murray won a lot of fans when he called out casual sexism at Wimbledon - and Serena Williams is one of them.

Earlier this week, Murray interrupted an American journalist who completely ignored the achievements of female tennis players in the sport. 

Williams, whose successes had been overlooked (she’s won 14 out of 23 grand slams since the start of 2009), has since praised Murray for sticking up for women’s rights. 

“I don’t think there should be a woman player, and there shouldn’t be a female athlete, who isn’t completely supportive of Andy Murray,” she told ESPN.

“He has spoken up for women’s issues and women’s rights, especially in tennis, for forever. And he does it again, you know! 

“That’s who he is and one thing we love about him.”

On Wednesday, an injured Murray left the Wimbledon tournament after being beaten by American player Sam Querrey.

In the post-match press conference, he was asked about his opponent by a reporter who seemed to have forgotten that female tennis stars existed.

“Andy, Sam is the first American player to reach the semi-final of a Slam since 2009...” the reporter began, to which Murray replied: “Male player.”

“I beg your pardon?” the journalist responded. 

“Male player,” Murray repeated.

The tennis player was widely praised on social media for calling out the error.

Serena and Venus Williams, Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Keys - all American players - have reached Grand Slam semi-finals since 2009.

Serena won Wimbledon last year - one of 12 major titles secured in the period - and Venus reached the semis on Tuesday.  

It’s not the first time Murray has called out sexism. During a post-match interview after he won the men’s singles title at last year’s Rio Olympics, the BBC’s John Inverdale remarked that Murray was the first person to win two tennis golds in the sport.

But Murray reminded him: “Venus and Serena have won about four each.”

Natasha Hinde   |   July 13, 2017    3:22 PM ET

Less than 24 hours after Andy Murray was praised for calling out a reporter for overlooking female tennis players, another sexism row has kicked off around Wimbledon.

This time the culprit is a somewhat unlikely source: the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), who asked Twitter users to vote for the ‘best dressed’ female tennis players in the tournament.  

Newsflash: they all wear pretty much the same white outfits. Oh, and it’s 2017.   

People were encouraged to ‘vote for their favourite Wimbledon whites’ by the official WTA Twitter account - and unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before it all kicked off.

“Stop asking people to objectify these incredible athletes and don’t diminish their talent to who looks best in a dress,” wrote one.

Another added: “Is there a men’s best dressed competition too?”

WTA describes itself as “the global leader in women’s professional sport”, however its latest endeavour fell well short of the mark.

The tweet linked to a voting page on the association’s website with a description of each tennis player’s outfit and who designed it. 

Some of the athletes featured in the poll include Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, Kristina Mladenovic, Carina Witthoeft, Petra Kvitova and Dominika Cibulkova.

While a handful of people took the tweet at face value and shared their thoughts on who they thought was best dressed, most were quick to call out the WTA for treating the women as “clothes horses”. 

In response to the backlash, WTA told HuffPost UK: “Tennis has a rich history linking the sport with fashion, and this is no more evident than at The Championships.

“The traditional all-white dress code at Wimbledon is one of the most famous and iconic aspects of tennis, and the recent WTA best-dressed poll was created to celebrate this unique feature of the All England Lawn Tennis Club. 

“We see nothing wrong with promoting athleticism while celebrating Wimbledon’s wonderful dress code.”

On Wednesday, Andy Murray corrected a journalist who asked a question that ignored women players in the sport.

Murray left the tournament when beaten by American player Sam Querrey, and was asked about his opponent in the post-match press conference.

“Andy, Sam is the first American player to reach the semi-final of a Slam since 2009...” the reporter began, to which Murray responded: “Male player.”

“I beg your pardon?” the journalist responded. “Male player,” Murray repeated.

The tennis player was widely praised on social media for calling out the reporter’s error.

Serena and Venus Williams, Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Keys - all American players - have reached Grand Slam semi-finals since 2009.

Serena won Wimbledon last year - one of 12 major titles secured in the period - and Venus reached the semis on Tuesday.  

HuffPost UK has reached out to the WTA and is awaiting comment.

Brogan Driscoll   |   July 13, 2017    2:15 PM ET

Andy Murray may have crashed out of Wimbledon in a shock quarter-final, but he still proved himself a hero in many people’s eyes.

In a post-match press conference, the 30-year-old corrected a journalist for ignoring the women’s game

The journalist declared Sam Querrey as “the first American player to reach the semi-final of a Slam since 2009”. 

Not missing a beat, Murray cooly interrupted: “Male player.”

His flawless takedown has been praised by many, including Serena Williams.

It isn’t the first time the tennis star has used his platform to call out sexism in sport. Here are seven other moments where Murray has worn his feminist heart on his sleeve.

When he reminded John Inverdale about Venus and Serena Williams’ career successes 

Murray was quick to correct John Inverdale last year at Rio 2016, after the BBC presenter inferred he was the first person to win two Olympic gold medals.

The tennis player said: “I think Venus and Serena have won about four each.”

When he called out sexism aimed at his coach, Amélie Mauresmo 

Writing in a blog for French publication L’Equipe, he said: “I knew that working alongside Amelie would set tongues wagging. The reason for this is that very few players before me have worked with a female coach.

“I realised it would create a feeling of suspicion, mistrust and perhaps even negativity. I didn’t realise, however, that Amelie would find herself up against such criticism and prejudice.

“The staggering thing was that she was slated every time I lost, which is something my former coaches never ever experienced. It wasn’t right.”

When he publicly defended her coaching ability

Following his semi-final win at the 2015 Australian Open, Murray used his post-match interview to give his coach the credit she deserves.

“A lot of people criticised me for working with her and I think so far this week we have showed women can be very good coaches as well,” he said.

“I would say it was a brave choice from her and hopefully I can repay her in a few days”.

When he called for more women on centre court at Wimbledon

He said earlier this week: ″[They] need to maybe find a way of allowing for an equal split of the men’s and women’s matches across the tournament rather than just looking at one day. If there’s better matches on the women’s side than the men’s side, you can flip it. If there’s better matches on the men’s side, then that has to go first, as well.”

When he showed his support to get more women in sport

“I’ve actually become very passionate about getting more women in sport, giving women more opportunities,” he said in an interview with Red Bulletin. “When I was younger, I wasn’t thinking about stuff like that. But now I’ve seen it with my own eyes, it’s quite amazing how few female coaches there are across any sport.”

When he paid thanks the women in his family

“I came to tennis thanks to my mother. I always had a very close relationship with my grandmothers. I’ve always been surrounded by women,” he said in the L’Equipe blog post. “I find it easier to talk to them. I find it easier to open up to them.”

When he declared himself a feminist

“Have I become a feminist? Well, if being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then yes, I suppose I have,” he wrote in the blog post.

Graeme Demianyk   |   July 12, 2017    5:44 PM ET

Andy Murray was quick to set the record straight when correcting a journalist who asked a question that ignored women players following his shock quarter-final defeat at Wimbledon.

The defending Wimbledon champion was dumped out of the tournament on Wednesday when beaten by American player Sam Querrey, and was asked about his opponent in the post-match press conference.

“Andy, Sam is the first American player to reach the semi-final of a Slam since 2009...,” a reporter asked.

“Male player,” Murray replied.

“I beg your pardon?,” the journalist responded, not appearing to understand what the sportsman said.

“Male player,” Murray repeated.

Americans Serena and Venus Williams, Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Keys have all reached Grand Slam semi-finals since 2009. Serena won Wimbledon last year - one of 12 major titles secured in the period - and Venus reached the semis on Tuesday. 

It’s not the first time the Brit has had to make a correction. 

During a post-match interview after Murray won the men’s singles title at last year’s Rio Olympics, the BBC’s John Inverdale remarked that Murray was the first person to win two tennis golds in the sport. But Murray reminded him: “Venus and Serena have won about four each.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led the applause for Murray. 

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Jessica Pitocchi   |   July 10, 2017   10:25 AM ET

Most Mondays can seem fairly manic but this one’s that bit more so, especially for those at Wimbledon.

That’s because today is the busiest day in the tennis calendar as the biggest stars of the sport go head-to-head on what’s come to be known as Manic Monday.

The second Monday of the tournament has acquired that nickname because it is when all 16 players from both the men’s and women’s draws are scheduled to play, meaning there’ll be impressive performances on every court.

It’s a battle between the Brits and the French today in the hope of reaching the quarter finals, with defending champ Andy Murray playing Benoit Paire and Johanna Konta taking on Caroline Garcia.

Venus Williams, the only former champion among the women, will take on Ana Konjuh of Croatia (who’s only 19 years old) while Roger Federer will play Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

So for tennis fans, today is basically Christmas come early.

The lucky folk who have tickets to watch the matches have been humble-bragging on Twitter.

And apparently spotting some weird sights.

But not everyone using the hashtag appears to have got its true meaning and are using it to tweet out Bangles lyrics or just generally moan about Monday.

Each to their own.

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Wimbledon Spikes Tennis Interest

Oliver Pickup   |   July 6, 2017   12:08 PM ET

We are just over a week in to the Wimbledon fortnight and already the tennis courts of Britain are crammed with wannabe Andy Murrays and Johanna Kontas. It was heartening to see my local park's tennis club was thriving this weekend just gone, with players - young and old, and of all standards - giving it a go. And who can blame them?

Every year there is a spike in participation numbers around The Championships, the oldest and most prestigious competition in tennis. There is something magical about watching the action on the hallowed grass turf.

It's unique, inspiring, and that the local lads and lassies reasonably fared well in the first week - by Wednesday four Britons had advanced to the third round, marking a best showing in 20 years - has further boosted interest this time around. The clement weather has helped, too; mind to for those flying ants, though.

Without question, Wimbledon encourages us Brits to dust off our rackets and consider buying some new balls - please! So often in the past, however, the impetus to play has faded, like an expert drop shot, because of a lack of knowledge about where the nearest tennis clubs are, and how much it costs to play, and so on. Access to decent courts is essential, after all, if you want to play tennis. If you fancy a game, set, or match, fear not, though; help is at hand.

Thankfully, the folk at The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) are working hard behind the net to make it much easier for would-be Roger Federers and Venus Williamses to swing your strings this time around. Understandably, they hope to sustain interest in their sport for the rest of the summer, and beyond, and so are running various initiatives to assist.

For instance, to locate your nearest court it is much simpler that it once was, thanks to the LTA's www.gohitit.com. By entering your postcode you will be inundated with options. Click on a pin that takes your fancy, and you will be served up with salient information. This includes the name of the venue, its address, how far from the postcode you entered it is, as well as the contact telephone number, so you can book a court.
 
Then, by selecting the venue, which is hotlinked, the user is sent through to Google Maps, and from there you can work the best route to your court. And with over 23,000 tennis courts in the United Kingdom there is plenty to choose from, pleasingly.

And whether you want to follow in the trainer marks of Murray, the 2013 and 2016 champion, or play at your own pace at a club or on a park court, tennis caters for all. Parents have more opportunity to introduced their little ones to the sport, too.

Indeed, two years ago, in the wake of Britain's Davis Cup triumph in 2015, the LTA launched the Tennis for Kids initiative, which has delivered free tennis courses and rackets to 35,000 children over the past two years.

Further, on the eve of The Championships, the LTA announced it is investing £250 million in to grassroots facilities to make the sport even more accessible.

The new Transforming British Tennis Together aims to increase the number of covered and floodlit courts across the country by 50 per cent, refurbish facilities and make courts easier to book online - as touched on above.

The LTA plans to invest £125m to improve existing community facilities, and it has pledged the same amount of funding to grow the game in certain areas across the land, in partnership with community networks.

All this points to the fact that there has never been a better time to take to the tennis court yourself, with your family and friends perhaps, and tease out your inner Andy Murray. It's certainly inspired me; I'm booked in for a match this coming weekend, before the women's Wimbledon final.

Next year - who knows? - I might even be gracing The Championships myself. OK, I won't be. But at least we can dream, and now have more opportunity to make our dreams reality, thanks to better access to courts and improved facilities.

Evolving A Sport

Chris Kermode   |   July 5, 2017    5:18 PM ET

Wimbledon is here again. For many, it's the highlight of the English summer. A time when tennis is the sport on everyone's lips, and courts up and down the country are filled with people recreating the action they've witnessed on Centre Court.

As a Brit in charge of the ATP - the governing body of men's professional tennis - it's a time of year I always look forward to, and this year's tournament is shaping up to be one of the most interesting in recent memory.

In fact, for more than a decade, men's professional tennis has been in a golden generation of players that have taken the game to new heights. The likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray have attracted record audiences on-site, on television and online. The so-called "Big Four" have captivated audiences worldwide with titanic clashes on some of the biggest stages in world sport. 

A supporting cast featuring the likes of Stan Wawrinka, Juan Martín del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and many more, has also played a critical role, and the depth of talent on the ATP World Tour has been phenomenal.

The sport has enjoyed tremendous growth during this time: total prize money at ATP World Tour tournaments will have more than doubled in the last 10 years, reaching US $135 million in 2018. The global television viewership for the ATP World Tour has grown by more than 100% since 2008, when a number of structural changes were made to the Tour. More than one billion viewers watched ATP World Tour tennis in 2016 - a tremendous milestone and achievement that the players have played a huge part in. 

But, as many fans and observers think ahead to life after the 'Big Four', where does the sport go from here? 

Finding an answer to this question is paramount. Roger and Rafa are two of the most iconic stars in sporting history. Their unexpected run to this year's Australian Open final produced yet another massive spike in audience reach for men's professional tennis. It's hard to quantify precisely how much of the growth in the sport we have seen in the last 15 years or so should be attributed directly to them, but their contributions have been immense, both in terms of captivating audiences worldwide on the court, as well as leading by example away from the court. 

That being said, no player is bigger than the sport, and men's tennis has an uncanny ability to consistently produce global stars that transcend the game. A look at some of the champions over the past 40 years - such as Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Becker, Agassi and Sampras - illustrates that. We're confident in the ability of our sport to continue to do that, and we believe in the strength of our global platform of tournaments to continue to showcase the world's greatest athletes. 

The reality is that the sport is not going to lose the 'Big Four' from one year to the next. It will be a gradual process that will likely span three to five years, and that's a long time in our sport. Where will the likes of Kei Nishikori, Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic, Nick Kyrgios or Alexander Zverev be in five years' time? We can't predict which players will breakthrough on the biggest stages, yet we can have confidence in the capacity of our biggest tournaments to create stars in years to come. 

As a governing body, we have a responsibility to look towards the future. That's one reason why we've set up the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan this November - a new 21-and-under season finale tournament. 

The future of men's tennis looks promising, especially with such a strong group of emerging young players who come from such a geographically diverse spread, covering key markets around the world - from North America, to Europe, Asia, Australia and more. The ATP World Tour is one of the few truly global sports properties out there, spanning 64 tournaments in 31 countries across five continents, so to have a global spread of players is critical. 

Just as importantly, the Next Gen ATP Finals will serve as a testing ground for innovation and any potential rule changes we are considering. Historically, trialling innovations or rule changes has been tough in what is a traditionally conservative sport. Yet I believe we have a responsibility to explore how we can change. We have a clean slate with this new event in Milan - a rare luxury - and we are going to make the most of it. Across everything we look at the objective will be to innovate without undermining the credibility and integrity of the competition. 

So, in the coming weeks and months, we'll be asking the fans what innovations they would like to see. As much as this event is about promoting the next generation of players, it's also about determining how to attract the next generation of fans. Kids today are consuming entertainment in a completely different way to five years ago, never mind 20 years ago. Attention spans are shorter and we need to be prepared to adapt, package, and sell our product accordingly. 

We expect this new event to provide us with some invaluable findings, not only in terms of what may work better for the product on court, but also for how we package, promote and sell the event and the players away from the court. 

Do we need shorter sets and matches? Should electronic line calling replace traditional line judges? Would countdown clocks between points add to the spectacle? Do players need such a long warm up before matches? Do we provide adequate player access at tournaments to both media and fans? Should players be wearing wearable technology and how could that data enrich the fan experience? How do we effectively integrate social media channels with more traditional linear broadcast rights holders? These are just some of the questions that only scratch the surface of what we are potentially looking to address with this event.

At the end of it all, will everything we look at be successful? Almost certainly not. We may come through it all and determine that our rules should remain exactly as they are. But at the very least we will have had a look, and we will be all the more knowledgeable for it as we develop the sport for the future. 

Chris is a contributor to SPORT - a new journal exploring the global sports industry, which has been published by The Brewery at freuds. The full publication is available online now https://tinyurl.com/yabyd6qs

Matt Bagwell   |   July 5, 2017   10:41 AM ET

Judy Murray has slammed a spectator at Wimbledon after he was caught on camera ripping a player’s towel out of the hands of a young fan.

US tennis player Jack Sock had just defeated Christian Garin in four sets to reach the second round of the championship, when he threw his official tournament towel into the crowd.

ESPN footage shows a young boy, standing in the second row, catching the towel, before a man sat in front of him snatches it out of his hands after a brief struggle.

The young fan eventually gives up and returns to his seat on court 8 empty-handed.

The incident did not go down well with tennis fans, including Judy Murray, who took to Twitter to shame the man in question.

Judy, the mother of reigning Wimbledon champ Andy Murray, shared a clip of the tug-o-war on Twitter, writing: “If you’re the bloke in the blue polo shirt and hat, you should be ashamed…”

Having been made aware of what happened, Jack Sock also took to Twitter to make a public plea to track down the young fan so he could give him another towel.

He tweeted: “If anyone knows the kid that unfortunately had the towel ripped out of his hands...tweet his name at me and I’ll be sure to get him one.”

An official Wimbledon 2017 mens towel costs £30 from the online club shop.

Rachel Moss   |   July 4, 2017   10:30 AM ET

Wimbledon is heating up and if you haven’t managed to bag yourself a ticket, there are plenty of places to get in on the action in London.

From free pop-up screenings to a restaurant with tennis-themed décor and cocktails, there’s a venue to suit all budgets.

Be sure to rock up early to the women’s final on Saturday 15 July and the men’s final on Sunday 16 July to bag yourself a prime position.

Strawberries And Screen, King’s Cross

The big screen at King’s Cross will be shifting from Granary Square to its new home of Lewis Cubitt Square this summer, but expect the same Wimbledon wonders. The venue is one of the few to show the entire tournament, with screenings running from Monday 3 July through to the men’s final on Sunday 16 July. 

At four-by-four metres, the screen is one of the biggest in central London, making this a desirable destination for dedicated fans. 

The bar will be serving up Pimm’s plus strawberries and cream. Visitors are also invited to bring along their own picnic.

Lewis Cubitt Square, Kings Cross, London, N1C 4AB kingscross.co.uk

  

Big Screen On The Green, Fulham

From Thursday 13 July to Sunday 16 July, Big Screen on the Green will show the semi-finals and finals on super-sized screens. Between sets you can enjoy acoustic music and entertainment, food stalls, a family ‘fun zone’ and pop-up shopping experiences. 

End the evening with a summer sundowner created by a top mixologist or visit the Pommery Champagne lounge. Tickets start from £7.50.

Parsons Green, Fulham, SW6 4UL bigscreenonthegreen.com.

 

One New Change, St Paul’s

With spectacular views of St Paul’s Cathedral, you may get a little distracted while watching the game from the roof terrace of One New Change.

Guests are permitted to bring their own food and drink onto the terrace (providing they leave glass bottles at home), making this a great spot for a cheap evening out with mates. The terrace has a maximum capacity of 350 people and will be showing games throughout the season, so get there early to bag yourself a beanbag.

1 New Change, St. Paul’s, EC4M 9AF onenewchange.com/roof-terrace.

 

Strawberries and Screen, Duke of York Square, Chelsea

If you’ve got kids in tow, York Square could be the Wimbledon destination for you. From Friday 14 July until Sunday 16 July you can watch all the key matches on big screens, with a professional tennis coach on hand offering complimentary lessons to youngsters.

There’s also a Pimm’s from Partridges pop-up bar for the adults and, of course, stalls selling strawberries and cream. Entry is free. 

Duke of York Square, Chelsea, SW3 4LY dukeofyorksquare.com.

 

The Refinery, Southwark

Throughout tennis season The Refinery bar will be showing screenings of all the key matches alongside Wimbledon-inspired cocktails. Grab a table with mates and try the Strawberries and Crème, featuring Tanqueray, crème de fraise, lemon juice, sugar, strawberries and egg white. 

If Southwark isn’t convenient, all Drake and Morgan restaurants and bars will be getting in the Wimbledon spirit until Sunday 16 July. Check out the website for other locations across London.

The Refinery Bankside, 110 Southwark St, SE1 0TF drakeandmorgan.co.uk.

 

Big Screen: Wimbledon, Merchant Square, Paddington

For a no frills screening that delivers exactly what you need, head to Merchant Square, where the screen is bigger and better than in previous years.

The free, simplistic venue is ideal for catching up on the scores on your lunch break or heading to after work. You can pick up strawberries from a stall or grab food to takeaway from a number of restaurants and cafes that surround the lawn. Relax in one of the deckchairs throughout the tournament, from Monday 3 July - Sunday 16 July.

The Lawn, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS merchantsquare.co.uk.

 

Big Screen On The Beach, Roundhouse, Camden 

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Enjoy Wimbledon with the the sand between your toes with Roundhouse’s screenings at Camden’s rooftop urban beach. The beach will host free screenings of the men’s and women’s finals on Saturday 15 July and Sunday 16 July, open from midday until 11pm.

Street food and drink to suit every taste is available to purchase via the beach-side stalls.

Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, NW1 8EH roundhouse.org.uk. 

The Pimm’s Wimbledon Bar, Oxford Circus

Keep an eye on the score while soaking up views on London’s skyline at Selfridges’ Wimbledon pop-up. The Roof Deck Restaurant and Bar will host a tennis-themed fortnight from 3 July, with a range of dishes or afternoon tea available.

The screens are a little smaller than most, so this is the place to go for summer vibes, without the die-hard fans. As its name suggests, they’ll be plenty of Pimm’s on offer. 

The Roof Deck Restaurant and Bar , 400 Oxford St, W1A 1AB selfridges.com.

Bluebird, Chelsea 

For a high-end evening of tennis visit Bluebird restaurant, where diners can eat alfresco in the courtyard while matches play in the background. Special cocktails on the menu include the ‘SW19’ and ‘Centre Court’ while the Eton mess, made with English strawberries, raspberry coulis and whipped jersey cream, will provide a taste of Wimbledon.

On selected dates guests can also indulge in a Wimbledon-inspired afternoon tea, see the website for details.

350 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London, SW3 5UU bluebird-restaurant.co.uk

St. Kats Big Screen, Tower Hill 

You can watch the tennis on a floating pontoon thanks to the big screen at St. Katharine Docks. The free venue is complete with deckchairs and beanbags open from Monday 3 July - Sunday 16 July. 

Pimm’s and strawberries (plus other food and drink) will be available to buy at the venue on the dates of the semi-finals and finals (13, 14, 15 and 16 July). The pontoon bar will be cash only, so remember to get money out beforehand so you’re not disappointed. At other dates visitors are welcome to bring their own food and soft drinks (but no alcohol). 

St Katharine Docks, 50 St Katharine’s Way, E1W skdocks.co.uk/whats-on/.

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Sophie Gallagher   |   July 4, 2017    9:23 AM ET

Venus Williams’ choice of bright pink bra sparked a discussion over whether it breached Wimbledon’s strict all-white rule, but the tennis champ refused to be drawn into the sartorial debate branding it ‘weird’. 

The 37-year-old, who has won the women’s singles title six times, was playing against Belgian Elise Mertens, but all eyes seem to have been on her top rather than her tennis talent. 

Williams was wearing a white tennis dress with a bright pink sports-bra underneath, which became more apparent as she moved around the court.

The bra was reportedly perceived to be a breach of Wimbledon’s all-white rule, which requires that all players wear no “solid mass of colouring”, little or no dark or bold colour and no fluorescent colours.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club’s guidelines state a preference for back of shirt to be totally white, a preference for shorts and skirts to be totally white, and all other items of clothing including hats, socks and shoes to be almost entirely white.

Introduced in 1963 as a ‘predominantly in white’ rule, this was later updated to more stringent ‘almost entirely in white’ rule in 1995, with accessories being included in 2014.

The rule applies from the point at which the player enters the court surround. Ultimately the decision on the day as to whether the players’ turnout is suitable is at the discretion of the individual referee.

Neither the club nor Williams confirmed whether she had been taken to task over her underwear choice, but she said in a post-match conference: “Yeah, so I don’t want to talk about undergarments. It’s kind of awkward for me.

“I’ll leave that to you. You can talk about it with your friends. I’m going to pass.”

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) also agreed it was “a private matter” and would not be discussed further.

Williams went on to win through in straight sets, beating Mertens 7-6 (9/7) 6-4 in an hour and 40 minutes.

This isn’t the first time female players have fallen foul of the dress code. In 2002 Anna Kournikova was asked by officials to remove her black shorts and, with nothing else available, she had to resort to wearing her male coach’s baggy sports pants for the rest of her match.

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Natasha Hinde   |   June 30, 2017    9:41 AM ET

British Wimbledon hopefuls Naomi Broady and Laura Robson have stood up for Serena Williams after retired tennis player John McEnroe said she would rank around 700th if placed against men.

Broady and Robson, both given wildcards for the upcoming tennis tournament, said comparing the men’s and women’s game in such a way was unfair.

Williams’ tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou also reacted to McEnroe’s comments, saying “men’s tennis is very different from women’s tennis” so we should stop comparing them. 

In a recent interview, McEnroe suggested that although Williams is the “best female player ever ― no question”, she would struggle playing against men.

“If she played the men’s circuit she’d be like 700 in the world,” he said.

Upon hearing the comments, the former world number one and winner of 23 Grand Slams, tweeted: “Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based.

“I’ve never played anyone ranked ‘there’ nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I’m trying to have a baby. Good day sir.”

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Addressing McEnroe’s comments, and speaking at the Women’s Tennis Association pre-Wimbledon party in central London, Naomi Broady said: “I think the men’s and women’s game is just so different now and it’s almost like comparing apples with oranges.

“It’s basically a different sport in itself. Serena’s one of the all time greatest athletes ever, regardless of men and women, and I think most men will agree with that.

“You can’t compare Serena to Federer the same as you can’t compare Ronaldo to Federer.”

Laura Robson said: “I don’t think there’s any point in comparing the two, it makes no sense to me why he (McEnroe) brought it up in the first place.”

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Patrick Mouratoglou - who has been Williams’ tennis coach since 2012 - said: “I don’t really understand why we keep on comparing men and women in everything.

“I think men’s tennis is very different from women’s tennis and we like both of them for different reasons.

“Would we compare men’s 100m runners and women’s 100m runners, like the time they take to run 100m? No.”