UK
07/07/2013 10:20 BST | Updated 07/07/2013 10:27 BST

John Inverdale Sorry For 'Ham-Fisted' Marion Bartoli Comments

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BBC presenter John Inverdale yawns as he waits to broadcast

BBC presenter John Inverdale has apologised to Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli after he suggested the French player was "never going to be a looker".

Inverdale made the disparaging remark on Radio 5 live shortly after the French player defeated Germany's Sabine Lisicki on Centre Court.

He attempted to clarify the "ham-fisted" comment today and said he had written to Bartoli to apologise for using a "clumsy phrase".

Yesterday listeners reacted in horror as he said: "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?"

The BBC later apologised for the comments while Inverdale addressed the issue as the station opened its coverage of the men's final today.

"Before we start, I'd like to return to yesterday and a clumsy phrase that I used about Marion Bartoli which has understandably caused something of a furore," he said.

"The point I was trying to make in a rather ham-fisted kind of way is that the public perception of tennis players is that they're all 6 feet-tall Amazonian athletes.

"Marion, who is the Wimbledon champion, bucks that trend, and she is a fantastic example to all young people that it's attitude, and will and determination together obviously with talent that in the end gets you to the top.

"I've apologised to Marion by letter if any offence was caused and I do hope that we can leave the matter there."

Last night Bartoli tonight said she would not let the comments detract from her grand slam success.

"It doesn't matter," she said.

"I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I'm sorry.

"But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes.

"And to share this moment with my dad was absolutely amazing and I am so proud of it.

"I am sure I will be able to watch the DVD of the match over and over again and look at the picture of me when I am holding it (the trophy) in my arms.

"That is the most important thing to me and not what I can do outside of the court."