Women's tennis a fair game

Publication YearIssue Date 

It's hard to believe, but women's tennis is at the forefront of social change. Martina Hingis, the Williams sisters and even Internet queen Anna Kournikova managed to do for tennis what no others ever could: they got equality and they got respect.

Two of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments now award men and women equal prize money. The U.S. Open and, more recently, the Australian Open made the switch. There's pressure on the French Open and even the almighty Wimbledon to follow suit as well. What's disturbing is the controversy it managed to create and it illustrates just how ridiculous some people can be.

Fans bring up three arguments against giving women equal pay. Some tennis fans are idiots, others are sexist, some may even be both. Can you guess which is which?

"They should never get paid the same 'cause any man in the top 100 can beat the top-ranked woman with ease."

This fan is an idiot. He seems sexist, but he's just a poor chump that doesn't understand economics. Just as many people watch women's games as watch men's. This leads to equal revenues from gate sales and TV advertising. It doesn't matter who's better. Prize money is connected to the business of sport, not pure athleticism.

"Men's games are five sets, women play only three. That's not equal pay for equal work."

Again an idiot, but quite a bit more sexist than the last.

Men's games are five sets but feature shorter rallies. With the combination of equipment and strength, the men's side of Wimbledon isn't really tennis these days. It's more of a let's-serve-the-ball-at-a-speed-that-could-kill-a-human-being competition. Men's games are usually won in a few quick hits, while women's rallies are longer and more exciting. Even though a men's game lasts a bit longer than a women's match, that's no reason to pay less. Marathon runners make less than 100m sprinters, but it's the quality of the product, not the length of play that's important.

"The same five women win all the tourneys. At least there's competition in men's games."

This is sexist, though a bit of idiocy is evident. It's called a rivalry. Williams vs. Hingis is a rivalry. Pete Sampras vs. Cedric Pioline is not. Why should great female players be punished for creating interesting story lines where their male counterparts fail? Rivalries in sport rarely get criticized when men are involved.

Tennis is a sport where women made a breakthrough. Equal pay status, especially in athletics, is difficult to achieve. It's also a sport that exposed society's ugly side--tennis fans are either sexist or stupid, and I don't know which is worse.





Ok, here's the one thing that bothers me about your statements. You say that the women's side is more exciting to watch because they have longer rallies? Well, what some people might think is exciting, others might think that it's boring. I mean, what's the problem with having serves that fast? The game of tennis has the fastest moving balls than any other sport, why not showcase it and continue to strive for better speed? What's fun about sitting around and watching a single point take more than two minutes? What's the point? Men's tennis is full of fantastic shots that just barely clip the line, their points don't force the match to go hours and hours. It's very difficult to actually get excited about a women's tennis game, the level of play may be as high as any man's game, but it just doesn't show. The fast paced serve is what makes the men's game itself seem so spectacular to most. And by the way, why don't women play as many matches as men do? Isn't that sexist? Making men play more matches then women? Or I guess the people that put on the men's tennis know that most people go to see them, not the women. I don't think that women's tennis would be televized as often as it is now if it wasn't for people like you whining and complaining. Calling everyone else an idiot for legitamite arguments. In my opinion you are the idiot, this whole argument isn't always about sexual discrimination, it might be about how people feel about watching Tennis played at a lower level? Never mind the fact that the player's are female. Why don't women and men mix up and just play together? Why the separation? You can take your comments and just post them if you want, but I doubt I'm going to waist any more of my time addressing the you, or your lame statements.