Wimbledon 2012: Selected quotes from day four

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Williams on equal pay and flowers

WIMBLEDON

Venue:
All England Club, London
Date:
25 June - 8 July
Coverage:
Live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC HD Channel, red button, BBC Radio 5 live, mobiles, tablet and the BBC Sport website

Four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams jests that Maria Sharapova is "way hotter" than French men's player Gilles Simon as the debate over whether women should be rewarded with equal prize money rumbles on. Simon defends his comments while Britain's Laura Robson reveals Heather Watson's choice of breakfast is "disgusting".

Sharapova and Williams on equal prize money

In response to Gilles Simon's comments that equal prize money does not work in sport, French Open champion Maria Sharapova, who beat Tsvetana Pironkova 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (3-7) 6-0, said: "We women have fought so long to get equal prize money. It was a big challenge and nobody really supported us. It's been a few years since we've gotten that. We're all really proud of it, and we continue to build the sport and make it bigger.

"No matter what anyone says, or the criticisms that we get, I'm sure there are a few more people that watch my matches than his."

Four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams, who beat Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-1 6-4 in the second round: "Oh, my gosh... You know I can't bite my tongue. Definitely a lot more people are watching Maria than Simon. She's way hotter than he is.

"Women's tennis is really awesome. I worked just as hard as he did. I'm sure he continues to work hard as I work hard, as well as everyone that's on a professional level. With that being said, everybody is entitled to his opinion. If that's his opinion, he's allowed to have one."

Simon adds fuel to the fire

Gilles Simon defends the comments he made on Wednesday: "My point was that I have the feeling that men's tennis is actually more interesting than women's tennis. As in any business or anything, you just have to be paid just about that. It's not because we play five sets and they are playing three.

"It's not about me, one player, or another one. Maria is more famous than me. I know it. She deserves to win more money than me. That is not the problem. Just check the price of the ticket from the men's final and the woman's final for example. It's not about me anymore, it's about the tennis. That's the way it works in life and everything."

Robson disgusted by Watson's eating habits

Laura Robson reveals what doubles partner Heather Watson has for breakfast: "She has disgusting stuff for breakfast. At Fed Cup she was having anchovies, or herring. Herring and salmon and all these things. I was just focusing on my cereal. Anne [Keothavong] and Heather, they're in a world of their own at breakfast."

Ward touched by Arsenal gift

Arsenal fan James Ward received a bag, a shirt and a letter from the Gunners before his second-round match with Mardy Fish. Briton Ward, who eventually lost to the American in five sets, said: "Just before I played, I asked to get it because I knew it was on its way. It was nice to get the new shirt with your name on it. They'd actually gone to a lot of effort to see who I've been playing. It wasn't just 'good luck in your next match', it was against Mardy Fish. I appreciate it. Small details make a difference."

Warm weather makes Watson uncomfortable

Heather Watson admits she is still having problems sleeping: "I keep waking up early. I think it's because it's so hot and I'm on the top floor in the house. [On Thursday I plan to] drink some milk, eat lots of chicken, and open the windows."

Britons reflect on their displays

Anne Keothavong after her 6-1 6-1 second-round defeat by Sara Errani: "I know I can play better. I didn't challenge her as much as I would have liked. To lose in that fashion, it's not particularly pleasing. I just forced it a bit too much. I managed to kind of just hit myself off the court, I guess."

Watson, who along with Robson lost 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to Su-Wei Hsieh and Sabine Lisicki in the ladies' doubles: "That definitely wasn't an easy first round. We've been working on a lot of things. I think as a team we've come a long way already in just this short season that we've been playing together. If we keep playing, I think we're going to start doing really well."

Sharapova wades into grunting debate

Following the news women tennis players could be forced to curb their grunting under new rules, Sharapova was asked if she could do something to her technique to reduce the noise she makes.

The Russian replied: "Certainly not now, not since I've been doing it since I was four years old. It's definitely tough and impossible to do when you've played this sport for over 20 years."

"I'm really happy with the system that she put forth. Going to the juniors, going to the academies that are producing the young players, and putting a system in place, I think it's extremely smart."

And finally...

Asked whether young Americans Christina McHale and Sloane Stephens ask for advice on tennis or life, Serena Williams retorts: "Well, hopefully for tennis advice. My life is a shambles outside the tennis court, a real shambles. I doubt they look up to me life wise."

The former world number one also said that she wouldn't mind receiving some flowers from a secret admirer. "I haven't gotten any flowers in a really long time from someone of the opposite sex that doesn't have to do with business. When I did get flowers I didn't appreciate 'em, so...

"I love roses. I love red roses. I love white roses. I love pink roses. Pink is my favourite colour. Anything with a rose."

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