Re: Navratilova: Sexism still in tennis; easier for Federer to be loved than Serena
I think Martina makes a good point - whenever women's tennis has a 'great', it is always accused of not having any depth, but when men's tennis is dominated, then the champion gets credit. There is still so much sexism, women's tennis is not accorded the respect it deserves, this happens every year with the BBC Wimbledon coverage for instance (see John Inverdale, passim). You could definitely argue that beyond Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and del Potro, there is not much depth in the men's game at the moment.
However, I would say that Roger Federer is also popular because of his style of tennis and his personality - reasons why he would always be more popular than Serena Williams...or the yawnfest that was Pete Sampras, for instance. Federer is more like a Borg, polite, loveable style of champion - a better comparator for Serena is Super Brat John McEnroe. You have to wonder why McEnroe was more popular than Serena, rather than Federer. His behaviour was far worse than hers, yet for some reason people loved him for it (though I hated him with a passion)! That must be sexism..
Federer has also benefited enormously from his rivalry with Nadal and Djokovic, which recalls the great rivalry of Borg, McEnroe and Connors or Navratilova/Evert, Graf/Seles etc. Serena's only worthy rival after her initial period was Justine Henin and this did not last unfortunately, due to Justine's retirements. I think if Justine had lasted in the game and still competed with Serena up to now and won some more slams, maybe Serena would have been given more credit for her wins than she does in an era where she seems to have no rivals.
Last edited by StephenUK; Nov 27th, 2013 at 11:40 AM.
Reason: add paragraph