LONDON (Reuters) – British youngster Harriet Dart was left frustrated after she was dumped by her Wimbledon mixed doubles partner Jay Clarke for American teenager Cori Gauff.
Dart received a text from Clarke, saying he was switching partners ahead of the mixed doubles opening round on Thursday.
“Essentially due to the timing I wasn’t able to find another partner in the time period available,” Dart, who plays singles on Thursday against Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, told the Daily Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-7211103/Jay-Clarke-brutally-dumps-mixed-doubles-partner-Harriet-Dart-text-team-Cori-Gauff.html.
“I did ask a number of people but a lot of them were set up and that’s it. I think you should ask Jay about his reasons, that’s all I want to say.”
The 15-year-old Gauff has made waves at Wimbledon after becoming the youngest player in the professional era to qualify for the main draw before beating Venus Williams and 2017 semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova to reach the third round.
Clarke said Gauff, known as Coco, had contacted him and asked him if he could partner her.
“I’ve known Cori for a few years now, we got in contact and she asked me to play,” Clarke said. “That was tough, I had to let her know because I saw the pairs that had signed in, and I was (thinking) ‘am I even going to get in?’”
“I think it’s the worst decision I have had to make especially mid tournament. I didn’t sleep too well the night before I played Noah (Rubin in a first-round singles match) but hopefully she understands why I did it. I’m sorry for her it happened.”
Clarke plays Roger Federer in a second-round singles match later on Thursday before teaming up with Gauff to face Robert Lindstedt and Jelena Ostapenko in the mixed doubles first round on Friday.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)