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Sexism: Wimbledon’s Biggest Battle

Wimbledon’s second week definitely brought us great tennis, but the co-star who stole the show was less than desirable. From Tomas Berdych’s upsetting press conference to Nick Kyrgios’ alleged “tanking,” Wimbledon had more drama than a season of America’s Next Top Model. Unsurprisingly, this meant that the worst kind of drama reared its ugly head. Journalists asked players sexist questions about grunting and exes; however, tennis players were also able to shed light on gender inequality in the sport and shut down these sexist remarks.

For example, Victoria Azarenka might have lost to Serena Williams Tuesday in a three-set quarter showdown, but she did win against the haters during her post-match press conference. Asked about her grunting, Azarenka exposed the double standard that exists between the men and women’s game by introducing Rafa into the mix.

Maria Sharapova was also asked about her grunting after her quarterfinal match, and her response can be summed up as, “Really?” Azarenka’s remarks on grunting even made their way to Serena Williams’ press conference, where she stated she was “done with controversy.”

It seems as if everyone is tired of hearing about grunting — from players to the fans. Nowadays, when the majority of those who complain about grunting are not the opposing players, it shows that grunting is certainly not a major issue on the court. Perhaps, it destroys the sexist dainty, feminine image that many men have of female tennis players. If that’s the case, then in my opinion, maybe some players should grunt a little louder just to make them even more mad.

A little grunting never hurt anybody, and it can even make for some great entertainment sometimes! (Read: all the time.)

Caroline Wozniacki also made headlines this week demanding gender equality in appearances on big show courts, as there are more men’s matches than women’s matches on Centre Court and Court No. 1. Her bestie Serena also backed her up and echoed her sentiments. Equality in scheduling is an issue that should have been solved years ago, but with more players speaking up, Wimbledon might respond accordingly.

Moreover, despite victories for equality with issues like prize money, Wimbledon still has a long way to go. Players need to be listened to, and the WTA shouldn’t stay silent either. WTA should be the first to support players when they fight sexism.

Unfortunately, the media — particularly “certain” media at Wimbledon, as Novak Djokovic so eloquently described them — is always a huge instigator of sexism in tennis. One reporter apparently thought it would be a good idea to ask Wozniacki about her ex-fiance Rory McIlroy, but Wozniacki’s silence was deafening. However, times are changing, and in a few years, maybe horrid questions like that won’t be posed to world-class athletes.

In the age of social media, support for tennis stars fighting inequality at the hands of the press is widespread. With support from fans, other players, and the general public, the battle against sexism hopefully won’t feel like a David vs. Goliath situation any longer.

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2 Comments on Sexism: Wimbledon’s Biggest Battle

  1. I agree that Wimbledon tends to schedule more men’s matches than women’s matches in the Centre Court (is it just a silly tradition?), and they should realistically re-evaluate and put the best match ups there when they can, regardless of gender.

    Though I want to say, looking at the Australian Open Week 1 dates, there seems to be more women’s matches on the main courts than men (2:1 in the day, 1:1 at night). I was curious if this was done because there are more entertaining women’s matches, or for the sake of time. (Out of Days 1-6, only one day, Day 2, had more men than women on Rod Laver in the morning session.)

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  2. Would help if you had Centre and Number 1 court starting at 11.30 as well. That would mean you could schedule four matches two of each sex. You can’t have equal scheduling with an odd number of matches.
    As for the press only tennis correspondents who cover the sport all year round should be given accreditation. I know at least one UK newspaper that has a football(soccer) correspondent there. Why? What does he know about tennis? Or women for that matter as football in the UK means men’s football. These people should not be allowed there. I suspect this is unique to the UK which might explain why there seems to be more sexism at Wimbledon than the other Slams.

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