(Picture: Getty)

Sports presenter John Inverdale has blamed hay fever for leading him to make a remark about a female tennis player’s appearance which sparked outrage last summer.

The 56-year-old said tennis champion Marion Bartoli was “never going to be a looker”.

Now, in an interview with Radio Times, he says the pollen count was to blame for his lapse.

“I was feeling so ill that day, I had terrible hay fever and all I could think of was that I wanted to go home to bed,” he said.

“I had Andy Murray in the final the next day and I knew I had to be on form.

“Your mind is going all over the place, we’re on air from noon till 7pm with not a single word written and you have to fill the time.”

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