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WILLIAMS' ACTIONS ANGERS DU MAURIER TOURNAMENT OFFICIALS
Published August 19, 1999
Serena Williams' withdrawal yesterday from the du Maurier Canadian Open 20 minutes prior to her scheduled match due to a shoulder injury and her "bailing out" of a function on Tuesday with tournament sponsor BMW 10 minutes prior to her appearance, has "infuriated" Canadian Open Tournament Dir Jane Wynne, according to Mary Ormsby of the TORONTO STAR. Wynne: "I'm very upset the way everything was handled. ... From an organizational point of view, a few hours warning would have been nice." Williams: "I really feel for the fans and the tournament director. I definitely think I let some people down (but) I really wish I was able to play." Wynne: "The girls (Serena and Venus) are smart and they behave in a very nice manner but (this behaviour) is not acceptable to the sponsors, it's not acceptable to the tournament and it's not acceptable to the fans" (TORONTO STAR, 8/19). In Toronto, Robert MacLeod writes that tournament organizers "are seething" as Williams' "last- minute withdrawal left" officials "scrambling to shift another third-round match to Centre Court to appease fans." The Williams-Talaja match was to be the featured event in front of more than 9,000 fans and TSN was set to broadcast it live. Williams' father Richard said that Serena "had never agreed" to make the BMW appearance, but MacLeod's sources say the whole arrangement was settled the week before. Officials managed to "persuade" Jana Novotna to make an appearance in Williams' place (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/19).