Brad Gilbert: 'Henin-Hardenne doesn't suck, but...'
Gilbert gender gaffe
RESPECTED coach Brad Gilbert says women's world No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne could not beat the 1000th best man.
Gilbert, former coach of Andre Agassi and current mentor to Andy Roddick, said the women didn't have the physical attributes to trouble the male players.
"There's well over 1000 guys -- more -- who could beat her," Gilbert said.
"Justine Henin is a good little player, but she's about 5ft 5in (165cm) and about 125lb (57kg). She couldn't come close to beating one guy in the draw," he said.
Asked if Henin-Hardenne could take a game off world No. 1 Roddick, Gilbert said: "It's possible. She could hold serve."
Gilbert, who worked with Agassi for eight years, said the superstar veteran would be an extremely tough proposition for Henin-Hardenne.
"Andre's a good groundstroker. Andre would smoke her into submission," Gilbert said.
Gilbert, a former top-10 player, gave his opinions on sports radio station SEN when questioned about the strength of the women's game compared with the men's.
When contacted by the Herald Sun last night, Gilbert said he was reluctant to comment further on the women.
"I'm going to stick to the men's," Gilbert said.
"I got asked straight up, 'How many guys could she beat?' and it put me in a bad position. I wasn't quite thinking.
"They asked me and I said there's probably 1000 guys who could beat her. But that's not taking anything away from her that she's not a great player.
"I don't think she could beat anybody in the draw here, but that doesn't mean anything."
For the record, the 1000th-ranked player in the world is Italian 22-year-old Matteo Galli, who has career prizemoney of $2000.
Henin-Hardenne, 21, has earned almost $10 million.
Gilbert said it was like comparing women's basketball to men's basketball.
"To me, the women tennis players are the pre-eminent athletes in the world," he said.
"Serena (Williams) is an amazing player, but that doesn't mean she can go and beat guys. That's not really an indication or not that they deserve equal prizemoney or not . . . or anything else.
"There's just physical abilities involved. I think the women are great."
Gilbert said the last thing he wanted was to say the women's game "wasn't any good".
"I think the women's game has improved more, per say, over the last 20 years than the men's game," Gilbert said.
"But women's tennis is women's tennis . . . it's hard to compare."
Last edited by Mironia; Jan 22nd, 2004 at 02:26 PM.