LONDON - Magdalena Rybarikova reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final on Monday then fuelled a Wimbledon scheduling sexism row by admitting she prefers to see men monopolise Centre Court.
The 28-year-old Slovak carved out a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win over Croatian qualifier Petra Martic as the world number 87 set-up a last-eight duel against Coco Vandeweghe of the United States.
But Rybarikova broke ranks with fellow quarter-finalists Venus Williams and Jelena Ostapenko, as well as former three-time winner Chris Evert, by insisting she was happy to get shunted off to the outside courts if it meant the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafal Nadal and Novak Djokovic got the showpiece arenas.
"I enjoy watching men's tennis more. I think also for the spectators it's more enjoyable to watch because it's such a name like Federer, Murray, huge names, and I think they deserve obviously to be on Centre Court and Court One," said Rybarikova.
"I'm happy to be on any court because I'm right now in Wimbledon so I really don't care which court I play."
She added: "Sometimes girls they win like 6-1, 6-2, and sometimes it's boring."
Rybarikova has made her first Grand Slam quarter-final in her 36th appearance at the majors.
In the second round, she knocked out world number three Karolina Pliskova - who could nonetheless finish Wimbledon as number one if Simona Halep fails to reach the semi-finals.
Rybarikova now has a 17-1 record on grass this season after winning second-tier titles at Surbiton and Ilkley as well as making the semi-finals at Nottingham.
It's all a far cry from earlier this year when her ranking, which once stood as high as 31, slumped to 453 in April.
That was the legacy of wrist and knee surgeries which sidelined her from the second half of 2016.
Rybarikova played only on the lower ITF tour in 2017, where she won back-to-back titles in Japan, before she returned to the main tour at the French Open where she made the second round.
"The wrist was supposed to be four months and it was four months, but the knee I had a struggle with because the doctor told me it's going to be good in one month but it was good in four months," said the wiry Slovak.
"Now I don't feel at all my wrist or my knee. I was playing a lot of matches with the pain last year. It was so difficult to be on the court like that, and I didn't enjoy it at all."
Despite her injury woes, Rybarikova said she never lost confidence that she could make a deep run at Wimbledon.
"I didn't play for seven months, so this is amazing, a fairy tale, " said Rybarikova, who won the first of her four WTA titles on grass at Birmingham in 2009.