Bartoli, Inverdale to share commentary booth after Wimbledon controversy

by: Kamakshi Tandon | May 21, 2014

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AP

British television presenter John Inverdale and Marion Bartoli will both commentate on the French Open for ITV, which is televising the tournament in Britain.

The combination has attracted attention following the Wimbledon controversy involving the two last year. Speaking on BBC Radio 5, Inverdale speculated Bartoli might have been told when younger that she was "never going to be a looker."

In an interview with the Radio Times, Inverdale said he had not been able to find the right words to express his thought.

"I was so ill that day, I had terrible hay fever and all I could think of was that I wanted to go home to bed," he said. ''I had Andy Murray in the final the next day, I knew I had to be on form."

Inverdale added he "was going to say that in your early years, you're dealt a set of cards. And actually I was going to use the phrase 'physical attributes' and then—and remember, you're thinking all this in a split second—I thought, 'No, don't say that'. And then I said something far worse."

Bartoli told the publication, "I'd known John a long time, and I knew what he was trying to say. At the end of the day I am a tennis player, I know I'm not 6-feet tall, I'm not the same long, lean shape as Maria Sharapova, but the beauty of tennis is that anyone can win..."

Speaking before the Wimbledon final, Inverdale had said, "I just wonder if her dad, because he has obviously been the most influential person in her life, did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14 maybe, 'listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker. You are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you're never going to be 5'11", you're never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that. You are going to have to be the most dogged, determined fighter that anyone has ever seen on the tennis court..."

Bartoli had given a measured response when told of Inverdale's comments after the match.

"It doesn't matter, honestly," she said. "Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I'm sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes."

The two will provide commentary and analysis during the tournament, and appear together with others on the commentary team during studio programming.

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