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juki
Jun 19th, 2010, 03:04 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/jun/19/wimbledon-womens-tennis-emma-brockes

Tennis: The Game
Emma Brockes, The Guardian

It's Wimbledon time – so get ready for racy outfits, gruntometers and behind-the-scenes bitching – as the major players spill all about what's really happened to women's tennis

Venus Williams, 6ft 1in in stocking feet, incalculable in heels, stands up to address the small private dining room. It's a chilly spring day in Manhattan, and Williams is one of three world champions in the room, making everyone else – shorter, weedier, untroubled by world ranking – feel like inferior branches of evolution. We are here to talk about what Stacey Allaster, head of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), calls the drive for "strong women, on the court and off" – most pressingly in terms of parity of earnings with the men, but also solidarity, sexist coverage of the women's game and, as Ana Ivanovic, the 22-year-old Serb who won the French Open in 2008, tells me, the biggest problem on the women's tour: unfriendliness.

"Who's the prettiest?" she says, buttering a roll, her slim wrist holding up a Rolex the size of a child's fist. "Who's the most popular, the most fashionable, who's getting the most coverage?" She smiles sorrowfully to acknowledge that, when it comes to these contests, she tends to do quite well. "In the men's game, they're all friends. But we're not friends. You can be on the tour for 10 years and still not be friends. It's sad."

Everyone is being friendly today – Kim Clijsters in a spangly wool top at the end of the table and Williams, smiling at guests with the noblesse of a queen. Those present aren't sports journalists, but the ladies of the New York fashion press, convened by the WTA to meet the top players and consider them for coverage. Any ironies in the room are smoothed away by how good we all feel about the strong-woman narrative.

Williams, naturally, is the one to make a speech. In a quiet voice, she recounts her negotiations for equal prize money at Wimbledon ("I was ready for the rejection stamp, and then they gave way") and at the French Open ("I had the placards ready, and they gave way, too") and outlines her general philosophy which, Allaster says, anoints her as the heir to Billie Jean King, moral leader of the women's game: "We all have the same heart beating inside us," she says. "We should be equal."

Afterwards, I ask Williams about an incident that got far more coverage recently than anything she has talked about. At the Australian Open, she lunged for a ball and briefly exposed her skin-tone pants. Did it annoy her when the photo went round the world? "No." She laughs. "I designed that skirt with the slits so it would do that." When lesser players talk in awe about the Williams sisters, it's not just the tennis they mean but this, the leisurewear range, and how it profits from coverage officially frowned on. It's either brilliant exploitation of a sexist media or a complete sellout, but in any case is considered, by most players, to be the site of real empowerment in the women's game. "Next time," Williams says, "I'm going to put some lace in there, and maybe some light whalebone."

But Venus, people thought you weren't wearing any knickers. She looks puzzled. "Yeah, weird, right? I mean, who would do that?"

Spend any time backstage at a major tennis tournament and you will see the first-class players glide around like royalty while everyone else fights for space.

At the Crandon Park tennis centre in Florida, crowds gather for the first week of the Sony Ericsson Open, one of the glitziest tournaments outside the grand slams. It is on Key Biscayne, a palm-fringed spit off the coast of Miami, co-sponsored this year by Bombay Sapphire and with $700,000 in prize money for the women's champion. Outside, it is 90F. In the warren of changing rooms beneath the stadium, it is cool and dank, there is no phone reception and flocks of tennis players fly by like the corps de ballet, wet-haired from the shower and en route to five minutes of interviews with journalists from their home countries. Over the course of three days, I will hear a former Czech champion complain of lack of respect from younger players, Australia's No1 disapprove of Venus's pants stunt, almost everyone bemoan the "Kournikova effect" on coverage of the women's game and the English No1, Elena Baltacha, suspect someone of stealing her lunch voucher. Above ground, the tournament progresses and the car park fills up with Porsches.

Any discussion of hardship on the WTA tour comes with a necessary eye-roll – the plight of women legally resident in Switzerland or Dubai for tax purposes is not the most pressing in feminism today. Still, if the symbolism of what happens to women at the top of a profession trickles down to the culture at large, there remain a few anomalies to address: the nature of the coverage, the earning opportunities within the women's game and the argument that won't quite die, that male players should be paid more because a) their matches get more viewers and b) they play five sets. Can we settle this once and for all? The women's final at Wimbledon is routinely watched on TV by more people than the men's. And what has the length of matches got to do with it? As Baltacha says, "You go to the cinema and you watch a film for three hours and it's crap. Or you watch a film for an hour and a half and it's unbelievable. You can't say that in a five-setter the men are doing a better job. We do the same job, so we should get the same money."

It's the TV commentary, however, where the discrepancies are most obvious. At Wimbledon last year, after years of incremental slippage, focus from the commentary box on women players' clothes, style and grunting was so blatant, so incessant, that almost everyone I spoke to at the time noticed it. There was a fuss over court placement – pretty lower seeds being bumped to the show courts over plainer high ones – and while it was part of the general razzification of the tournament, it seemed to fall most heavily on women players. When veterans get misty-eyed about the good old days, they tend to mean Steffi Graf, who drew crowds by virtue of skill and not showbiz, and made no concessions to the changing nature of the game. For viewers, nostalgia goes back further, perhaps to the Wimbledon of selective memory, a place of bald grass, endless summer and the prewar vowels of Dan Maskell who, the joke in the commentary box goes, might say two words over the course of a match: "Well played." If modern commentary is filled with trivia, says Budd Collins, 80-year-old veteran of US tennis coverage, it is a function of there being too much airtime and not enough to fill it. He blames John McEnroe. "He never shuts up!"

"And so," Maskell said, introducing the 1973 women's final with the gravity of a Dimbleby on VE Day, "the traditional scene, here. In a very rapidly changing world, this one doesn't change." Of course, that it did change was by and large a good thing, not least in the quality of the tennis. To see Venus Williams play for the first time is like watching a parallel game, regular tennis but with less gravity. Arms gangling, elbows hooked, toes turned slightly inward, she has the shambling grace of the pool shark, the virtuoso who appears not to be trying until she swoops, suddenly, for the kill. If she wears a red corset while doing it, who cares?

Justine Henin is holding a press conference in French after beating Elena Dementieva 6-3, 6-2. Outside the press bunker, photographers lounge, s******ing at the fortunes of an American player who has had to apologise after tweeting "Florida sucks" and discussing the scene that morning when a plague of umpires asset-stripped the hotel breakfast buffet. "Did you see that?" one veteran sports photographer says. "It was like locusts. I mean…" He pauses. "They even took the butter."

In the corridor, an abandoned walkie-talkie crackles into life. "Razzano says she can go to the autograph session, but can she wear her tennis gear?" Virginie Razzano, the French No3, is prime fodder for the kind of publicity events that Venus Williams, dining tonight with her family, is too grand for. ("Bless her, she's not Puff Daddy," a press aide says afterwards.)

Most players are grateful to the WTA for so aggressively marketing them, although to whom isn't always clear. After each match, players are required to hold a press conference, even when there is no demand for one, and I see journalists from low-ranked players' home nations deciding, loyally, to put in an appearance. "We've nothing to ask her," an English sports writer says, "but we feel bad if she turns up and there's no one there."

The rumour of locker-room bitchiness in women's tennis plays into all the usual dreary stereotypes, but Baltacha – who was born in Kiev and moved to Britain as a child when her father, a professional footballer, was sold to Ipswich Town – says it is more or less true. There is a natural barrier to being friends with someone whom you may, shortly, be called on to destroy in public, but the men seem to manage it better. "I was chatting to one girl the other day, and she's going through a stage where's she's like, you know, this is so tough to be among these girls and I'm struggling a bit. I said, oh, come on, you've got a good ranking. And she said: you need a medal just to be in this environment. To actually survive."

What does she mean? Baltacha smiles. "I have had a couple of experiences, and I now keep myself to myself. I wouldn't go out of my way to start [a fight], but if I feel someone has done or said something on purpose, then I will react. I wouldn't just take it. I would defend myself."

Hang on – what are we talking about here? "I've heard stories where one girl's strings got cut. Even really stupid things, like we get given lunch vouchers and the other day I went to the players' restaurant and said, 'Baltacha' and they said, oh, someone's taken it for you. And I was like, have they? And I said to my trainer, did you take it? He said, no. Someone had even signed for it. Honestly, I was laughing. These things go on all the time. I think it's hilarious. Because everyone is trying to get an edge over you. You've got to react in such a way that it doesn't bother you. If you get into that – what did that person say about me in the locker room? – it would drive you mad. Totally destroy you. I'm here to do business; I'm not going to get close to any of you. I'm not a pushover."

For now, the better players (Baltacha is currently ranked 62 in the world) want to be her friend. "Yeah. And you think, are they saying hi because they're worried, or why? Because one week they say hi and the next they walk straight past me." She shrugs. "That's the game."

The seasoned player's anxiety dream is of the unseeded 16-year-old who swans on to court, no history, no fear, and takes them down in front of a capacity crowd. That was Monica Seles in 1989, Jennifer Capriati in 1990, Martina Hingis in 1995 and Caroline Wozniacki in 2005. The 19-year-old Dane and world No3 now herself feels under pressure. "Women's tennis," she says, "has improved so much that if you're top 10, you don't beat everyone else so easily. Even yesterday, I played a girl who was ranked 100 in the world and still I had problems. It's very competitive."

To older players, the girls coming up behind are a frightening bunch: bigger, stronger, mouthier, more ambitious and better attuned to getting sponsorship. There is some resentment, too, that they have so little appreciation for how bad things were for women players until relatively recently. In 1970, Billie Jean King led a revolt against the male-dominated circuit, accepting a $1 contract from tennis promoter Gladys Heldman and establishing a rival tour, which led to the formation of the WTA. In 1971, King became the first female athlete to win prize money of $100,000, but no one mentions that now. Amnesia is the privilege of progress.

"We would look up more to the top players," says Kveta Peschke, the Czech doubles player. "We'd be like, wow! You know? I remember the first time I played Steffi Graf – the only time I played her – I was so excited. I went on the court thinking, don't worry about the score, just enjoy the game. Now they have the attitude of whoever I play, I'll beat you. They are very, very aggressive. Sometimes you feel as if you are in a boxing arena. Oh my goodness, they are so much stronger and taller."

"There's been a lot of progression from 10 years ago," Razzano says. "Now anyone can beat anyone."

Not Serena Williams, surely. "Yes," she says. "If you have strong balls from Serena Williams, you can beat her easy. Not easy. But when I have a good ball, I can be aggressive with my opponent. The difficulty is with someone like Henin, where it's more touch and spin. Or Wozniacki, when you don't have enough punch, not such high-pressure balls. You need to find solutions for beating her; you need more patience. More tactic, je pense."

The newest player causing sleepless nights among the top 20 is 18-year-old Melanie Oudin, an American who last year got into the quarter-finals at the US Open by defeating an astounded fourth seed, Elena Dementieva, and then smartly dispatching former world No1 Maria Sharapova. The fate of teenage tennis sensations is a notoriously grim one, and Oudin is trying to stay level-headed while adapting to her new status. "It's a lot more pressure than I used to have," she says. "You step outside and everyone wants your autograph. You're like, really? You want my picture and autograph? You feel you want to please your fans, you want to please everyone who is supporting you, but the real thing is to play for yourself. That's what I'm learning." Her idols are "Clijsters, because she's so nice. And Henin, because I'm as small as she is."

The sponsorship potential for the likes of Oudin – young, pretty, American, top 15, who describes herself, winningly, as "just like a normal teenager" – is huge. If she stays in the game, she will be competing for the most lucrative and glamorous deals with immediate seniors such as Wozniacki, who is dressed on court by Stella McCartney ("She's very nice," Wozniacki says) and Jelena Jankovic, who comes off court, slumps in a chair and examines her well-painted fingernails like a truculent teen. There is a large, diamantι crucifix around her neck. "We are entertainers, as well, on court, in our own sporty way," Jankovic says. "We entertain the fans, they pay money to watch us play. It's nice to see girls who are feminine, who dress nice. Maybe in the past there were only a couple of players like that, but now players pay more attention to it. I was one of those painting my nails different colours and matching them to my dress. If you are in a nice dress you can play better, feel better. More comfortable and confident."

Sam Stosur, the Australian No1 and world No7, who this month lost in the French Open final, snorts and rolls her eyes at this logic. "I think it'd be nice if women's tennis was recognised for how well we all play, rather than for what we're wearing this week. All the players would agree that, at the end of the day, they'd rather be winning matches in tournaments than being at parties and showing off their latest fashion lines. Sometimes I think it gets forgotten that's what we do."

What did she think about the fuss around Venus's pants? "It's silly. Who knows what she was thinking when she was designing that skirt."

"Helen Jacobs," says Budd Collins, "in the 1930s wore shorts at Wimbledon and people were aghast, although the Duke of Windsor applauded it. He said he liked seeing female legs." Then there was the American champion Gussie Moran. "Back in 1949, she scandalised Wimbledon by wearing lace-trim pants. And the photographers were on their stomachs trying to get the shot. Ted Tinling, who was master of ceremonies, lost his job because of that. She never tried it again. And then in 1985 Anne White wore a total white jumpsuit and looked quite nice, good figure. The committee of management was shocked. She played against Pam Shriver and they had to quit for darkness at one set apiece and White was told not to wear that costume again. And in 1972, Rosie Casals came out to play a final in a dress with purple squiggles on it and they made her go back and change. But the real precursor was Suzanne Lenglen. She was French, came to Wimbledon in 1919, never lost a match there, but shocked the hell out of them because you could see her calves. She was wonderfully dressed by some French designer, so stylish. The first final she played was against Dolly Chambers, an Englishwoman who wore a skirt down to her ankles and a whalebone corset. Casals is the reason we have the new Wimbledon, because so many people wanted to see her. Everybody said, oh, it's awful! Let's go watch!"

Natalie Grandin, the South African No1, and Abigail Spears, her American doubles partner, are discussing the social aspect of life on tour. Wozniacki, they agree, is one of the nicest of the top 10, as is Clijsters. As for the Williams sisters, "They have a little bit of an aura around them," Grandin says.

"I will occasionally get a hello," Spears says.

"But they kind of stick to themselves."

Venus and Serena are regarded with awe and caution by the rest of the circuit. I hear them referred to repeatedly by lesser players as "aloof" and "cliquey", and by one major commentator as "entitled". There was resentment last year when Serena got off with an $80,000 fine for verbally abusing a line judge at the US Open (as far as one could lip-read: "I swear to God I will take this ball and shove it down your fucking throat").

"The Americans are generally bad," Spears says.

"The Spanish keep to themselves," Grandin says, "and the Russians. The South Africans, we mingle, because there's only two of us. Then you have someone like Sharapova, who's a little bit more quiet. She'll say hello, but you're not going to get an in-depth conversation with her."

And the men? "They have a drink after matches. They'll have dinner with each other the night before they play." Don't the women do this? Both players laugh, as if this is the best joke ever.

Grandin and Spears were both born in 1981, making them, in tennis player years, about 150. They are amused by the suggestion that there is parity of earnings with their male counterparts, a common assumption given that all the grand slams now have equal prize money.

"Ha!" Grandin says. "Well, in grand slams everything's fine. But in terms of overall? The men earn way more. If you look at the top 100 of men and women, it's like the women earn half."

"They have bigger events," Spears says, "higher prize money tournaments during the year. They have more options than we do."

Paternalism in the women's game, in which they are restricted to fewer tournaments than the men, is frustrating to the lower-ranked players, who must constantly move around the world to keep up their fitness and earnings. A player outside the top 50 will play around 28 tournaments a year, while a top 20 seed will play around 15. "There is a sort of protection that we have on our tour that the men don't," Spears says.

Cara Black, the Zimbabwean No1, says, "We average two tournaments a week, the guys four. Our goal is to get more jobs every week. It's a long year, and if you don't do well in a tournament, you've got to look for somewhere else to play – a $25k or $50k challenge – just to get the matches in, to be prepared for the next big tournament."

Ivanovic tells me top players are so tied to their training schedules that if she takes more than a few days off, it can take her three weeks of concentrated effort to get back her fitness level.

"It depends," Baltacha says. "Some girls need to practise six hours a day; some don't play for a week, then turn up to a tournament and are absolutely fine. I used to find that if I didn't play for three days, I'd be shanking balls everywhere."

This morning, Baltacha lost in the second round to the 12th seed, Yanina Wickmayer, and is flying home to Ipswich. "You've got to be careful," she says. "A few girls have got up in the rankings and all of a sudden got this deal, and they're doing so much modelling, they've suddenly dropped."

Ivanovic is reading Paulo Coelho. "It's a bit spiritual," she says, "but, you know." Her manager is trying to get her to tweet, but she's resisting. "It's good to be a bit private." This morning, while Venus Williams was photographed with Alicia Keys and Clijsters, Ivanovic prepared for a photoshoot with the CEO of Sony. There were higher seeds available, including Svetlana Kuznetsova, former winner of the French and US Opens and built like a model for a Soviet work poster. "Kuznetsova has won many more grand slams," a veteran photographer in the press room said. He smiled. "But, of course, Kuznetsova won't do."

Outside in the swelter, the tournament goes on.

KournikovaFan91
Jun 19th, 2010, 03:30 PM
I agree with Cara's point about the amount of tourneys in a week.

Peschke :rolleyes: Maybe that is why she couldn't beat Graf, too much respect.

The newer players like Woz, Azarenka, and Radwanska seem much friendlier with one an other than the older girls.

Slutiana
Jun 19th, 2010, 03:34 PM
Thanks for that, it was a good read.


However, as has become customary with most of these UK Tabloid articles on the WTA, there are about 9054830809543809538093 different inconsistencies and mistakes in this.

My favourite: "The newest player causing sleepless nights among the top 20 is 18-year-old Melanie Oudin"
:bigcry:

-Sonic-
Jun 19th, 2010, 03:39 PM
I can't believe some bitch stole Bally's lunch :( :( :( :(

Hugh.
Jun 19th, 2010, 03:47 PM
However, as has become customary with most of these UK Tabloid articles on the WTA, there are about 9054830809543809538093 different inconsistencies and mistakes in this.

The Guardian - a tabloid...I think not :lol:

cellophane
Jun 19th, 2010, 03:48 PM
Another article written in rather pretentious style...

treufreund
Jun 19th, 2010, 03:50 PM
Wow... Jankovic, Ivanovic and the Willies getting slammed basically. Good on ya, Venus for standing up for the women but I wish you and Serena would not be so aloof. OTOH, I think Sharapova and Justine also kind of keep to themselves because of the immaturity of the other players. Serena, Venus, Justine, Maria are women NOT GIRLS. Sam Stosur really seems to have her head on right when commenting on Jankovic's and Venus's attire. I think Sam is old school (like Justine and even Kim) and just wants her tennis to do the talking.

Hurley
Jun 19th, 2010, 03:51 PM
"The sponsorship potential for the likes of Oudin – young, pretty, American, top 15[...]"

Oh dear..

InsideOut.
Jun 19th, 2010, 03:52 PM
Good article - but then I thought bitchiness was a major attraction for many posters here? :lol:

Miss Atomic Bomb
Jun 19th, 2010, 03:52 PM
"Yes," Razzano says. "If you have strong balls from Serena Williams, you can beat her easy

Beating Serena is easy? Stop talking out of your ass Virginie, you have never even played Serena.

crazillo
Jun 19th, 2010, 03:53 PM
I felt it was more like a bit of everything, describing life on tour. Wish it had more of a conclusion or a personal statement how he liked it by the author.

50Sense
Jun 19th, 2010, 04:13 PM
This was a really good read. But it almost lost its credibility when it said that Oudin is causing people sleepless nights. Say what??

Kworb
Jun 19th, 2010, 04:14 PM
The seasoned player's anxiety dream is of the unseeded 16-year-old who swans on to court, no history, no fear, and takes them down in front of a capacity crowd. That was Monica Seles in 1989, Jennifer Capriati in 1990, Martina Hingis in 1995 and Caroline Wozniacki in 2005. The 19-year-old Dane and world No3 now herself feels under pressure. "Women's tennis," she says, "has improved so much that if you're top 10, you don't beat everyone else so easily. Even yesterday, I played a girl who was ranked 100 in the world and still I had problems. It's very competitive."

:haha: Oh boy. She did not make waves on WTA until 2008, she has only a couple of wins over top 10 players, and her pushing game style makes her vulnerable to any top 300 ranked ballbasher on a good day. :lol:

Gallofa
Jun 19th, 2010, 04:18 PM
:lol:

Great read! Loved the bit about someone stealing Baltacha's lunch money ;). (Not literally, but nearly.)

Sounds like a lot of bitchiness going on. Everyone is keeping score, it seems.

дalex
Jun 19th, 2010, 04:29 PM
Sam Stosur really seems to have her head on right when commenting on Jankovic's and Venus's attire. I think Sam is old school (like Justine and even Kim) and just wants her tennis to do the talking.

It's not like she has a choice really. I mean, imagine Sam painting her nails and wearing one of Venus' recent outfits. :lol:

tennnisfannn
Jun 19th, 2010, 04:36 PM
Nice to get some insight into what happens behind the scens. it must be difficult for the lower ranked players! The men by the way HAVE TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER. Women don't. Men need each other for training/practise, women don't coz they can hit against a much lower ranked male and get some tough competition.

The Witch-king
Jun 19th, 2010, 09:44 PM
Thanks for that, it was a good read.


However, as has become customary with most of these UK Tabloid articles on the WTA, there are about 9054830809543809538093 different inconsistencies and mistakes in this.


I know. it's actually really confusing at times.

Larrybidd
Jun 19th, 2010, 10:13 PM
Nice read. Its always good to hear different player's take on the tour. But my take on the friendliness or lack of same on the WTA tour is this: If you want friends, join a ladies club. This is a job, and these girls are your competition. It may very well be true that the guys handle the job and personal relationship with the competitors better, but then boys handled that stuff better than girls in high School too. Its a girl thing, apperently...deal with and don't whine about it. I learned long ago that everybody doesn't need to be your friend, and isn't a bad person because just they don't choose to be.

joγo.
Jun 19th, 2010, 10:32 PM
I think this is a bit ridiculous, this article basically says the fact that womens tennis sucks right now is because of all the drama/feuds/controversy that happens on and off the court and I think that's a factor that makes it more interesting than mens tennis atm :lol:
I also think they're competitors and because of that they can't be friends with everyone, and maybe that's because most of the top players are like that, at the end of the day they want to win tournaments and etc like some say, so you can't expect them to be always cool and chill out with the other player that's on the other side of the net at the end of the day, it's not even natural imo. :confused:

Leo_DFP
Jun 19th, 2010, 10:54 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/jun/19/wimbledon-womens-tennis-emma-brockes
Can we settle this once and for all? The women's final at Wimbledon is routinely watched on TV by more people than the men's.

:help: :tape:

The seasoned player's anxiety dream is of the unseeded 16-year-old who swans on to court, no history, no fear, and takes them down in front of a capacity crowd. That was Monica Seles in 1989, Jennifer Capriati in 1990, Martina Hingis in 1995 and Caroline Wozniacki in 2005.

:help: :help: :help:

Sam Stosur, the Australian No1 and world No7, who this month lost in the French Open final, snorts and rolls her eyes at this logic. "I think it'd be nice if women's tennis was recognised for how well we all play, rather than for what we're wearing this week. All the players would agree that, at the end of the day, they'd rather be winning matches in tournaments than being at parties and showing off their latest fashion lines. Sometimes I think it gets forgotten that's what we do."

Sam = voice of reason. She has really been refreshing in 2010.

There were higher seeds available, including Svetlana Kuznetsova, former winner of the French and US Opens and built like a model for a Soviet work poster. "Kuznetsova has won many more grand slams," a veteran photographer in the press room said. He smiled. "But, of course, Kuznetsova won't do."

:lol: :tape: Ouch.

KournikovaFan91
Jun 19th, 2010, 11:06 PM
I remember at last year's Wimbledon Virgina Wade said she thought the tour was friendlier now than say ten years ago.

I think this "bitchiness" is being built up into something bigger than it is.

edificio
Jun 19th, 2010, 11:33 PM
Another article written in rather pretentious style...

Exceedingly pretentious. Oh my god.

Anyway, it was the same old BS. In the working world, you are not always friends with the people you work with. That is the way it goes. As for "all the men drink together after a match," some do, some do. Not all.

I remember at last year's Wimbledon Virgina Wade said she thought the tour was friendlier now than say ten years ago.

I think this "bitchiness" is being built up into something bigger than it is.

I agree with you.

Anyway, I'm a bit sorry I wasted my time getting through that slog.

"The Americans are generally bad," Spears says.

Nice lady. I'd want to be friends with her.:confused:

KournikovaFan91
Jun 19th, 2010, 11:49 PM
I didn't really get what Spears meant by that, did she mean they are bitches or just that they are cliquey.

goldenlox
Jun 19th, 2010, 11:56 PM
The players are not all alike. Wozniacki and Radwanska can be friends before and after playing each other in matches like the IW SF.
Other players dont want close friends on the tour.

Interesting article, but a lot of errors and not much new

Wiggly
Jun 19th, 2010, 11:59 PM
The newer players like Woz, Azarenka, and Radwanska seem much friendlier with one an other than the older girls.

I want to want to be goldenloxish but the main reason seems to be the prize money.

They have a good rank, they get a lot of $$ to show up in ramdom tournaments and with a good showing, add even more $$.

So who cares if that bitch beats you? You're leaving town with about 50K or more in any respectable tournament.

Sammm
Jun 20th, 2010, 12:02 AM
Sveta has won many more grand slams than Ana, has she? I didn't realise 2 was "many more" than 1 :lol: Stupid quote to include.
Badly written article in general; I think half of this board could do better.

goldenlox
Jun 20th, 2010, 12:05 AM
Badly written article in general; I think half of this board could do better.
:lol: Lets not go crazy :p

Sammm
Jun 20th, 2010, 12:10 AM
:lol: Lets not go crazy :p
:lol: Yeah, you're right, some exaggeration on my part there.

But it would be nice to read a tennis article without factual errors. This piece needs some more structure too. Also, what is the Razzano quote about? :confused:

Can anyone explain this to me:
"Paternalism in the women's game, in which they are restricted to fewer tournaments than the men, is frustrating to the lower-ranked players, who must constantly move around the world to keep up their fitness and earnings. A player outside the top 50 will play around 28 tournaments a year, while a top 20 seed will play around 15. "There is a sort of protection that we have on our tour that the men don't," Spears says."

What are the restrictions??

KournikovaFan91
Jun 20th, 2010, 12:15 AM
Sveta has won many more grand slams than Ana, has she? I didn't realise 2 was "many more" than 1 :lol: Stupid quote to include.

:lol: Didn't notice that actually. But so true.

debopero
Jun 20th, 2010, 12:38 AM
i hate when women bash women's tennis

xan
Jun 20th, 2010, 02:01 AM
Generally good article, despite a few inaccuracies.
It's the TV commentary, however, where the discrepancies are most obvious. At Wimbledon last year, after years of incremental slippage, focus from the commentary box on women players' clothes, style and grunting was so blatant, so incessant, that almost everyone I spoke to at the time noticed it.
It's good that people are noticing the trivialisation of the Women's game by many media - particularly people like Inverdale and Cash at the BBC - who can never discuss women's matches with relation to the TENNIS - only trivia.
"They have bigger events," Spears says, "higher prize money tournaments during the year. They have more options than we do."

Paternalism in the women's game, in which they are restricted to fewer tournaments than the men, is frustrating to the lower-ranked players, who must constantly move around the world to keep up their fitness and earnings. A player outside the top 50 will play around 28 tournaments a year, while a top 20 seed will play around 15. "There is a sort of protection that we have on our tour that the men don't," Spears says.
Cara Black, the Zimbabwean No1, says, "We average two tournaments a week, the guys four. Our goal is to get more jobs every week. It's a long year, and if you don't do well in a tournament, you've got to look for somewhere else to play – a $25k or $50k challenge – just to get the matches in, to be prepared for the next big tournament."
Some good comments presenting the other view to those (generally high ranked players) wanting a shorter season and fewer events. The WTA needs to promote a greater range of events.
"You've got to be careful," Baltacha says. "A few girls have got up in the rankings and all of a sudden got this deal, and they're doing so much modelling, they've suddenly dropped."
Yep. Another under-discussed problem within the WTA.

Now they have the attitude of whoever I play, I'll beat you. They are very, very aggressive. Sometimes you feel as if you are in a boxing arena. Oh my goodness, they are so much stronger and taller."
That's an improvement though over the wet matches that used to take place outside the top 5-10

omoruyi
Jun 20th, 2010, 02:33 AM
1. Bud Collins is awesome! more awesome than your favorite tennis historian to be sure!

2. what is "whalebone" ~ :mad:

3. i wanted to hear more from Ivanovic, but then the article just ended ~ :sad:

4. JJ is also awesome, never boring ~ :hearts:

5. Venus the charlatan??? ~ /jk, but it was a nice read.../

Slutiana
Jun 20th, 2010, 02:53 AM
:help: :tape:
That assertion would have actually been correct up until about '07. :lol:

Dave.
Jun 20th, 2010, 03:00 AM
Interesting article, if only for all the comments from the players. Particularly Stosur. :worship:

I don't really get the point of it all though. :confused: What has "happened" to women's tennis then? Sponsorships/favouritsm of pretty girls existed 10 years ago, the tour wasn't necessarily friendlier 10 years ago, men have always had more tournaments... :shrug:

Just seems this journalist acquired some sort of media pass in Miami this year and just put everything she heard together in one article and tried to give it some meaning. :shrug:

mckyle.
Jun 20th, 2010, 04:12 AM
LOL @ Bud Collins saying the other commentators talk too much.

This man is incredibly annoying :lol:

Julian.
Jun 20th, 2010, 09:21 AM
Interesting read. Thanks for posting. :yeah:

Some of the comments there made me LOL though. :rolls:

Slutiana
Jun 20th, 2010, 10:14 AM
Interesting article, if only for all the comments from the players. Particularly Stosur. :worship:

I don't really get the point of it all though. :confused: What has "happened" to women's tennis then? Sponsorships/favouritsm of pretty girls existed 10 years ago, the tour wasn't necessarily friendlier 10 years ago, men have always had more tournaments... :shrug:

Just seems this journalist acquired some sort of media pass in Miami this year and just put everything she heard together in one article and tried to give it some meaning. :shrug:
Pretty much. :lol:

AnomyBC
Jun 20th, 2010, 10:48 AM
Oudin is a Top 15 player who's giving the other players sleepless nights? :confused:
Caro was taking down seasoned players in 2005? :confused:
Kuznetsova has won many more slams than Ivanovic? :confused:

tanman
Jun 20th, 2010, 10:59 AM
[QUOTE=Sammm;18005439]:lol: Yeah, you're right, some exaggeration on my part there.

But it would be nice to read a tennis article without factual errors. This piece needs some more structure too. Also, what is the Razzano quote about? :confused:

Can anyone explain this to me:
"Paternalism in the women's game, in which they are restricted to fewer tournaments than the men, is frustrating to the lower-ranked players, who must constantly move around the world to keep up their fitness and earnings. A player outside the top 50 will play around 28 tournaments a year, while a top 20 seed will play around 15. "There is a sort of protection that we have on our tour that the men don't," Spears says."

What are the restrictions??[/QUOTE
The womens tour is set up to protect the top 30. They will be the ones to get into the main draw of the premier tournaments which there is usually only one a week and not every week. The men have two and three ATP events every week with more money, more chances for them to earn points and money. If you are ouside the top 50 then you are stuck in the grind of having to play lesser tournaments to make up the differnce and it is getting worse because each year there is less and less tournaments for the women each week. This year along there are way more $10,000 and $25,000 added to the schedule than $100,000 $75,000 and $50,000. That is a big gap between money and points from a WTA Premier event and $25,000. I hope this help or just look at this years calender.

sammy01
Jun 20th, 2010, 11:05 AM
we all know that with the increases in money ect womens tennis has become a dog eat dog sport, which sometimes is a good thing (we all love that justine, serena and maria hate each other and it shows on court), but it also does the players a diservice when they jump over each other for any advantage and don't support each other.

"You and me we're cut from the same cloth
It seems to some we famously get along
But you and me are strangers to each other
Cuz you and me: competitive to the bone
Such tragedy to trample on each other with how much we've endured
With the state this land is in
You and me feel joined only by gender
We are not all for one and one for all
Sister blister we fight to please the brothers
We think their acceptance is how we win
They're happy we're climbing over each other
To beg the club of boys to let us in"

Gregorio87
Jun 20th, 2010, 11:23 AM
Typical WTA, just whining about everything. Everybody is injured because there is too much tournaments. Then there is just few tournaments, and lower ranked players can't play enough bigger events.
My favourite is Ivanovic. Her game is weaker then ever, but she can talk just about the lack of friendship on the tour... Grow up girl and find friends outside the tour. With this attitude the Wlliamses wouldn't be multiple slam champions.

Szavay #1
Jun 20th, 2010, 12:19 PM
Oudin is a Top 15 player who's giving the other players sleepless nights? :confused:
Caro was taking down seasoned players in 2005? :confused:
Kuznetsova has won many more slams than Ivanovic? :confused:

yeah all inaccurate but that didn't prevent me from enjoying the article. it may totally be a hard pill for some of us to swallow but imo this article reps the reality of the wta (can we say high school? :angel: ).


our fav's are human. :)

-Sonic-
Jun 20th, 2010, 12:45 PM
Can anyone explain this to me:
"Paternalism in the women's game, in which they are restricted to fewer tournaments than the men, is frustrating to the lower-ranked players, who must constantly move around the world to keep up their fitness and earnings. A player outside the top 50 will play around 28 tournaments a year, while a top 20 seed will play around 15. "There is a sort of protection that we have on our tour that the men don't," Spears says."

What are the restrictions??

The restriction he means is that there are fewer decent tournaments per year for women than there are for men.

If you have a choice of 2 events as opposed to a choice of 4 each week, you are restricted.

He is saying that people are stuck playing lots of small tournaments for little money, instead of playing fewer larger tournaments for more money. You have to play twice as much and you don't even get the same amount of money.

Spears' quote I don't understand tho, someone will need to explain that to me!

-Sonic-
Jun 20th, 2010, 12:45 PM
PS The Guardian is a great newspaper.

oddkayla
Jun 20th, 2010, 12:47 PM
This article reminds me of a girl on my team who decided as soon as she joined that she would not do anything I asked her. Well being that I am a very patient person, I waited to see how far she thought she would go with that mentality, until she was in trouble and she thought I'd be the only person who could get her off (she was right). Well, at that point I did remind her of the past and asked her to sort out her problems, come to me when she was ready to work in my team. And what does she go do: Walk around and moan that i dont like her! Booohooo!!!! After burning herself AGAIN, she has decided to come to the party!
My point is that very few professionals in any career, go to work to be liked. They go there to do the best that they can. It is so much more pleasurable if you all get along but that is not your purpose.
On matters related to Serena and Venus, it is understandable. It is not as though they were warmly received when they joined the tour! Thank God they had each other!
On Maria Sharapova and maybe even Anna Kournikova, stop resenting that they get deals because of the way they look. There is a word for it and it is not pretty: JEALOUS!
Get over yourselves people, you are there to compete in an individual sport! Men would be different because they are generally very collegiate!

oddkayla
Jun 20th, 2010, 12:53 PM
On another note, maybe a majority of these girls who have never been to high school and or a normal school have not been socialised to know that the world does not turn around you, that it is the way of the world and you would find it in any work or school setting that has cliques, etc? Just a thought.

Szavay #1
Jun 20th, 2010, 12:56 PM
Spears' quote I don't understand tho, someone will need to explain that to me!

abby was telling the truth when she compared the wta to the atp, no?

"They have bigger events," Spears says, "higher prize money tournaments during the year. They have more options than we do."

This article reminds me of a girl on my team who decided as soon as she joined that she would not do anything I asked her. Well being that I am a very patient person, I waited to see how far she thought she would go with that mentality, until she was in trouble and she thought I'd be the only person who could get her off (she was right). Well, at that point I did remind her of the past and asked her to sort out her problems, come to me when she was ready to work in my team. And what does she go do: Walk around and moan that i dont like her! Booohooo!!!! After burning herself AGAIN, she has decided to come to the party!
My point is that very few professionals in any career, go to work to be liked. They go there to do the best that they can. It is so much more pleasurable if you all get along but that is not your purpose.
On matters related to Serena and Venus, it is understandable. It is not as though they were warmly received when they joined the tour! Thank God they had each other!
On Maria Sharapova and maybe even Anna Kournikova, stop resenting that they get deals because of the way they look. There is a word for it and it is not pretty: JEALOUS!
Get over yourselves people, you are there to compete in an individual sport! Men would be different because they are generally very collegiate!

i think they are over it. they just shared with a reporter their reality on the tour. imo they accept things the way they are. they just like to laugh and vent about the lame drama on the tour. :lol:

-Sonic-
Jun 20th, 2010, 01:04 PM
abby was telling the truth when she compared the wta to the atp, no?

i dunno what she means about the protection.

Declan
Jun 20th, 2010, 01:22 PM
Oudin is a Top 15 player who's giving the other players sleepless nights? :confused:
Caro was taking down seasoned players in 2005? :confused:
Kuznetsova has won many more slams than Ivanovic? :confused:



Yeah... and Elena Baltacha, English number one????? She's Scottish, although the Britsh number one!

Sammm
Jun 20th, 2010, 01:35 PM
The womens tour is set up to protect the top 30. They will be the ones to get into the main draw of the premier tournaments which there is usually only one a week and not every week. The men have two and three ATP events every week with more money, more chances for them to earn points and money. If you are ouside the top 50 then you are stuck in the grind of having to play lesser tournaments to make up the differnce and it is getting worse because each year there is less and less tournaments for the women each week. This year along there are way more $10,000 and $25,000 added to the schedule than $100,000 $75,000 and $50,000. That is a big gap between money and points from a WTA Premier event and $25,000. I hope this help or just look at this years calender.

The restriction he means is that there are fewer decent tournaments per year for women than there are for men.

If you have a choice of 2 events as opposed to a choice of 4 each week, you are restricted.

He is saying that people are stuck playing lots of small tournaments for little money, instead of playing fewer larger tournaments for more money. You have to play twice as much and you don't even get the same amount of money.

Spears' quote I don't understand tho, someone will need to explain that to me!

Sonic and Tanman :wavey: The way the article is written is kind of confusing: to me it sounded like there were restrictions on the number of tournaments a player could enter (per year). In fact, as you've both stated, the restriction is the actual number of tournaments available per week in from which a player can choose to play and the limited prize money these challengers have.

PS The Guardian is a great newspaper.

The Guardian is a good newspaper. This article isn't the best ever though.

Corswandt
Jun 20th, 2010, 01:55 PM
Interesting article in that it shows the perspective of an outsider (from the media, but not the sports media apparently) trying to get an inside look into the Tour (and failing miserably at it, but that's another matter). And above all it shows the kind of stuff that an outsider is fed when he/she asks around for general info about the tour.

Re: the bitchyness, it's not rocket science. Men have a natural instinct for kameraderie, women don't.

wayitis
Jun 20th, 2010, 02:27 PM
Men have a natural instinct for kameraderie, women don't.

This is kind of a sexist generalization, not necessarily true...

Can we settle this once and for all? The women's final at Wimbledon is routinely watched on TV by more people than the men's.

and this is brown journalism, fudging with the truth to make your point valid...

Reptilia
Jun 20th, 2010, 02:32 PM
LOL at Razzano

Jakarta
Jun 20th, 2010, 05:28 PM
Bud Collins (Budd, as written in the article, is wrong) seems to be getting his facts wrong regarding the Rosie Casals thing. I've seen a photo of the incident; her standing discussing it with the referee at the time. And either she had a Pepsi or a Virginia Slims logo (much more likely, it being 1972) that was too prominent, not just a few purple squigglies.

KournikovaFan91
Jun 20th, 2010, 10:44 PM
http://www.kitemath.com/web_portfolio/kncgolf/images/celebrities/Rosie-Casals.jpg

Is that the dress because those are more than a few squiggles, clear dress code violation if that is the dress in question.

dynamoRockstarr
Jun 20th, 2010, 11:12 PM
that article is very interesting.


as far as the contents...well

miffedmax
Jun 21st, 2010, 02:07 AM
Rosie Casals was freakin' awesome.

lynxy
Jun 21st, 2010, 06:13 AM
Obviously the author didn't read Becker's autobiography. Boris stated he couldn't have real friends in men's tennis either. Depressing read...

Albireo
Jun 21st, 2010, 02:39 PM
To all those complaining about the writing quality in this article, never underestimate the power of shitty editing. That's more than half the problem here.

edificio
Jun 21st, 2010, 02:42 PM
...
Re: the bitchyness, it's not rocket science. Men have a natural instinct for kameraderie, women don't.

B.S.

tonybotz
Jun 21st, 2010, 04:26 PM
all this just weeds out the weak. if you're willing to sacrifice your time and energy for photo shoots and ego fulfillment, then you will never and should never be a top player.