Entertainment & Arts

674 complaints over John Inverdale's Bartoli comments

Marion Bartoli
Image caption The Wimbledon win was Bartoli's first grand slam trophy

The BBC has received 674 complaints over John Inverdale's comments about Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli's personal appearance.

Speaking on Radio 5 live ahead of Saturday's final, he said Bartoli was "never going to be a looker".

A statement from the BBC said: "John is one of our most experienced presenters.

"The BBC has apologised for the comment made before Saturday's final, as has John himself. John has also written a personal apology to Marion Bartoli."

While chatting on air about Bartoli's technique as a player, Inverdale 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 5ft 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 if you are going to make it', and she kind of is."

Media captionListen to an extract of John Inverdale's remarks before the women's singles final

'Fantastic example'

The BBC presenter made an apology at the beginning of Sunday's coverage of the men's final for his "clumsy" and "ham-fisted" comments, which he said had "understandably caused something of a furore".

He said the point he was trying to make was "the public perception of tennis players is that they're all six 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," he said.

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

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