Nick Nelson – Alexandria, VA
When you think of American tennis these days, who do you think of? The Williams sisters, right? Women’s tennis is precisely what got me into the sport in the first place. Serena, Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki – watching the women’s games are just more fun. There’s more parity in the women’s game, and I’m not watching Federer/Nadal for the millionth time whenever I sit down for the Aussie Open or Wimbledon.
Unfortunately, there are some folks who don’t think this is good enough. They think the women’s game owes its success to men, that they’re boring and they don’t bring in money and no one cares about rise in dominance Venus and Serena have pulled off. Even more unfortunately, two of these people include the former head of a the Indian Wells tournament, Raymond Moore, and award winning men’s player Novak Djokovic.
They said some pretty stupid things earlier this month that should have no place in a 2016 society.
Moore: “In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA, because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky. If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank god that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have.”
Djokovic: “I applaud them for that, I honestly do. They fought for what they deserve and they got it. On the other hand I think that our men’s tennis world…should fight for more because the stats are showing that we have much more spectators on the men’s tennis matches. I think that’s one of the reasons why maybe we should get awarded more. Women should fight for what they think they deserve and we should fight for what we think we deserve.”
Public quotes like these need to be addressed so people stop pretending women have the same chances as men in sports. We need to stop pretending female athletes aren’t treated like second-class citizens, and we need to stop pretending sexism isn’t alive and well in the sports world.
Where to start? “Get down on their knees and thank God” is perhaps the single most deplorable thing you could tell players who have trained and worked incredibly hard to be as successful and groundbreaking as they are. Comments like these don’t just minimize what women have come to mean to tennis, but reduce them purely to sexual objects, only useful for tits, ass and blowjobs.
Moore has since apologized for these comments and resigned his position as CEO. But Djokovic has continued to compete and act as a role model. It’s time for society to come to terms with the idea that playing ball like a girl is no longer an insult. It’s something to strive for.