Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wimbledon Women

A report yesterday in the Daily Male says Wimbledon officials actually admit they put more attractive female players on centre court and leave the most talented, less attractive female players on outer courts.

Today I was watching the tennis from the sofa largely because I'm something of a fan of the Williams sisters who are much more likely to use the phrase "I'll play any bloke who's brave enough"* than "I'm hoping to move into glamour modeling" and at one point Serena Williams graciously pointed out to the umpire that her opponent had won the point. The (male) BBC commentator (whose name I do not know) commented "One thing that Richard's done - he's made them very good on court. There's no bitching about line calls".

Argh! Excuse me while I bang my head against this handy wall. Firstly Richard Williams did not build his daughters in some sort of lab. Their successes and their graciousness is their own - no one sees Murray win a point and congratulates his coach or his Mum. Secondly if Murray complains about a line call would a commentator say "Oh dear, Murray's bitching about the line call"? One standard for men and a totally different one for women.

*They did this once and lost to a guy ranked about 200th, but not without winning some games on the way there.


Jim Jepps said...

The sexism around tennis seems to be a lot more high profile than in some other sports - possibly because sports like cricket and football the women's game struggles to get any attention at all.

It's lose lose right now - they either ignore or patronise women sportsmen... tell me things are getting better!

Anna said...

I was seething with rage about this story; for one thing that the Wimbledon organisers and the BBC happily admitted that in the women's game this was a consideration in assigning courts, rather than having any shame whatsoever and fudging the question.

If they are content to patronise their audience and underestimate their discernment of good tennis, then why not consider who appeals to all the heterosexual women who watch tennis? But of course, that would be insulting to the dignity and godlikeness of The Men's Game.

Plus, because I am a shallow person, who appreciates beauty, in faces, physiques and shotmaking, I think it is worth a mention that in no way can Serena can be called anything other than beautiful, rather than a champion like her be relegated to the Daily Mail's thinly disguised 'examples of ugly women players' gallery. She may not be white middle class, middle-aged men's idea of beautiful, either because she's a)much stronger than they are and b) black. Sadly, I think that b) is the predominate reason.

Benjamin Solah said...

Ah, the sexism in tennis never ends.

I've always wondered why women only play three sets. Do people really think these women can't do it? I mean, they're not delicate little flowers. They're athletes.

Ellen Weissbuch said...

I just read an article about this in The Nation and when I went to share it with you, I saw you had crafted your own fine commentary on the subject.
He's the link to Dave Zirin's article