Big names like Serena Williams have been getting prime time on centre court. Picture: AFP
Big names like Serena Williams have been getting prime time on centre court. Picture: AFP

The key to ending Wimbledon’s sexism furore

AS certain as death, taxes and Roger Federer contending in Wimbledon's second week, "Middle Monday's" scheduling is guaranteed to flush out gender alarmists.

And so it is again this year.

With only three women's matches on the three main show courts - centre, No 1 and No 2 - there will be six men's clashes on the same courts.

The rest will be scattered to outside courts, along with some of the "less marketable" men's matches.

Feminists are outraged. To them, it is sexism at its worst.

Conveniently overlooked is the fact the first three days of the tournament featured 13 women's matches on centre and No 1 compared to eight involving men.

Last Wednesday saw three women's fixtures on centre court with only Federer and Lukas Lacko for balance on the same court.

While Wimbledon insists there has been no official change of scheduling policy, there has been a significant shift.

But is not enough for some.

For as long as anybody can remember the show courts featured a "mix" of two men's matches and one women's clash.

With nine of the top 10 women's seeds already gone, and Wmbledon winners Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all still in contention, it was inevitable officials would place the biggest names on the largest courts.

And there are more big names among the men based on grand slam titles won. Serena Williams is the obvious headline performer on the women's side.

"Purists Day" always throws up scheduling controversy.

Sunday's rest day means all 16 fourth round matches have to be decided before the tournament reverts to traditional format for the rest of the event.

The order of play committee has copped it over the past 24 hours.

But it does not act in isolation, instead taking into account broadcaster requests.

Wimbledon's emblem is tradition, including the time it starts matches.

A minor tweak to programming on "Middle Monday" would bury accusations the sport's grandest tournament is a misogynistic beast.

Matches on centre and No 1 are always started at 1pm, while play on all other courts kicks off 90 minutes earlier.

If all courts were standardised to an 11.30am start, there would be enough time to play two men's and two women's contests on the big courts.

End of argument …