Serena Williams snubbed Wimbledon centenary celebration after five courtesy car refusal

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Serena Williams snubbed Wimbledon centenary celebration over five courtesy car refusal - GETTY IMAGES
Serena Williams snubbed Wimbledon centenary celebration over five courtesy car refusal - GETTY IMAGES

Serena Williams snubbed the Centre Court centenary celebrations after Wimbledon officials allegedly refused to let her keep her five courtesy cars for the whole tournament.

Sunday’s event united the great and good of the tennis world, with Roger Federer among those to have flown in to take part in the ceremony.

But despite having played at Wimbledon that week, the seven-time women’s champion was nowhere to be seen.

Williams was allegedly disappointed by Wimbledon's decision not to allow her to use the five courtesy cars provided by the All England for the duration of the tournament.

Williams is understood to have asked for the use of five vehicles, for herself, her husband, her sister, and mother and her coach.

While ordinary players are allocated a single car, some top players are granted an additional vehicle for their coach, although Federer is among the very few believed to have the use of five cars at the championships when he is competing.

A Wimbledon source said Serena was disappointed when Wimbledon rejected her request to extend the use of the cars past the normal limit of 24 hours after a player is knocked out.

“She wanted to use the cars for the whole two weeks because that’s what happens at the other grand slams. She was told that was not possible because they had to be used by the other players. She was not happy. Maybe that’s why she refused to take part in the centenary parade.”

Journalists who asked why Williams, given her stature in the history of Centre Court, was not present were told she had “gone home”, leading to the assumption she had returned to Florida.

However, on Sunday evening she posted photographs on social media of herself and her husband, Alexis Ohanian, at the Rolling Stones concert at Hyde Park.

Meanwhile on Tuesday evening she was at Sketch restaurant in Mayfair with her husband and the couple’s daughter, and later at the premier of Thor: Love and Thunder at Leicester Square.

Williams is well known in the tennis world for making her own rules, with some accusing her of having a tendency to play the “diva”.

Sunday’s no-show followed William’s first-round defeat in the ladies singles on the first Tuesday to Harmon Tan.

Serena is well known for missing the mandatory post-match interviews with the BBC and American broadcaster ESPN while in the group Press interviews she often “moderates” who is able to ask the questions herself rather than allowing a Wimbledon official to take charge.

She also regularly demands the use of particular practice courts at the grand slam venues rather than accepting the normal random selection but will then turn up at the arranged time.

Williams’s agent has been approached for comment.

A Wimbledon spokesman said: “We have fulfilled every transport request we received.”