Inverdale ‘faces Wimbledon axe’ after controversial comments


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BBC presenter John Inverdale is reportedly set to face the axe from next year's coverage of Wimbledon.

Inverdale was roundly criticised for his controversial comments about Wimbledon women's champion Marion Bartoli on Radio Five Live in the build-up to the final in the summer.

The BBC broadcaster said: "Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little 'You’re never going to be a looker’?"

"'You’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight,'" he added.

At the time, the presenter attempted to make amends for his comments after Bartoli’s victory by saying: "We poked fun, in a nice way, about how she looks... but Marion Bartoli is an incredible role model."

Such was the fallout following the furore that Inverdale apologised for his remarks about the French player, who has now retired.

But according to a report in the Daily Mail, that is unlikely to have been sufficient for the presenter to keep his job for BBC's coverage of Wimbledon next year.

Recently, culture secretary Maria Miller wrote to BBC director general Lord Hall to request an update on potential action taken against Inverdale, and pressure has mounted on top bosses.

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Hall described the broadcaster's comments "totally unacceptable" and said they "fell well below the standards we expect of presenters".

While a BBC spokesperson said, "Our final plans for 2014 will be announced in due course", speculation has continued as to Inverdale's position in the Wimbledon ranks.

At the time, Bartoli’s father, Walter, said: "I am not angry. She is my beautiful daughter.

"The relationship between Marion and me has always been unbelievable so I don’t know what this reporter is talking about."

When Bartoli herself was finally asked about the comments she said: "It doesn't matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact.

"Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I'm sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes."

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