Friday, June 25, 2010

Complaint central

One of my parents was British, and I developed a lifelong interest in tennis because of a Wimbledon tournament I saw when I was young, but over the years, the tournament has become my least favorite of the majors. Here is what's bothering me this year (not all of which has to do with the Wimbledon itself):

Linespeople wearing long sleeves, and linesmen having to wear ties
How dreadfully uncomfortable and hot is that?! I think putting the lineswomen in skirts is ridiculous, too, but at least there (probably) isn't a comfort factor there.

Putting twice as many men's matches as women's matches on the show courts
That could change next week, but for now, it's bothering me.

An absence of longer rallies
But without Martinez Sanchez-type flare

Announcers saying "Wim-bl-DEN" (accent theirs, not mine)

Reading and hearing analyses of the evolving relationship between Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters
Does anyone care?

The non-stop chattering of John McEnroe

The outrageous sexism of the British press, which is even worse than the press in my country

The ongoing sexism of the tournament, though--after getting caught putting the "more attractive" women (excuse me--"girls") on the better courts last year, tournament officials have, at least ostensibly, toned it down a bit (however, the honorifics are not only sexist, but ridiculously inaccurate)

The decision to not schedule Serena Williams on Centre Court the day the Queen visited
I know Serena got to  meet the Queen (and vice versa), and I know that the Queen didn't stay for the women's match, anyway, but these facts really have nothing to do with the decision made by tournament officials. And with Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal both scheduled, there is little room for misinterpretation.

Is there anything I like about Wimbledon?, you may be asking. Yes. I enjoy seeing the players in their whites one time a year (but where is the clay?!). I also very much enjoy listening to Virginia Wade and Simon Reed. And I actually like seeing the linespeople dressed up a bit, but not in clothing that is obviously not appropriate for their jobs.

What I like best about Wimbledon is seeing certain players who really shine on fast courts. Wimbledon gives them an opportunity to play at their best. The grass season, however, is undoubtedly too short.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post! Nice blog, too.

I've linked to you on mine:


Anonymous said...

first of all, i'm not British and i'm not from the US either. from an 'outsider' point of view, i dont really get why so many people were angry that serena williams was put in another court on the day the Queen arrived.

it is their country, after all. wasnt it just normal to put a player that feels much closer to the Queen (and sure Murray isn't really from England too, but at least from the isles) on the day she came?

Of course Serena Williams is the defending champion and she is a great athlete, but it just doesnt mean that she is so absolutely important that she has got to play on the centre court and nowhere else every single day she plays. the English press (american or british) has been full of reports saying how angry she was and how unfair it was to her. but i believe people should remember that it was still just one match on a special day. just ONE match. was it that if she played somewhere else on one day, people respected her less only because the grass was different?

i agree there was sexism in having so many men matches on the centre court. but on the issue of serena, i dont really think it's sexist or whatever, it's just courtesy to the Queen.

it's just a way to show the respect to an honorable guest that rarely pays visits to the event.

TennisAce said...

@Anon, Court No. 2 (whether reincarnated or not) has the name "Graveyard of Champions". It is where many upsets have taken place at Wimbledon. Pete Sampras was the most famous of those upsets. Losing to George Bastl in the first round, a move which spearheaded his retirement from the sport.

Serena Williams is a 12 time Grand Slam Champion. She is the current World's No. 1 and defending champion. She has carried the mantle well. She, more than any other player, deserved to showcase her skills on Centre court (even if the Queen was not there to see it).

But, that being said, her match was scheduled as the last match on Court 2 after 2 men's matches. That to me was the height of disrespect to the reigning champion. At the time when Serena's match was on, the organisers chose to put 2 doubles match featuring British players, on Centre Court and Court No.1. The combined titles of all 4 players does not even come close to Serena's doubles titles. Not even close.

It was a monumental slap in the face to the defending champion. Even moreso is their schedule for tomorrow. After playing doubles today at 7:30 Friday evening, she is scheduled first on Centre Court tomorrow before Nadal and Murray. Why could she not have had more rest time and placed after one of the men's matches?

Finally, that is the press reporting falsehood regarding Serena being angry. I listened to her interview on Radio Wimbledon. She was upset but not to the point of being angry and after being peppered with question she stated that she would have nothing more to say on the subject.

If she was angry, it perhaps showed in her tennis as she showed no mercy against her opponent.

Diane said...

The organizers put the men's world number 1 and the top British star on the show courts, naturally. That makes perfect sense. It was obviously not random. I have no problem with that. But the third person--if it were her day to play, and it was--would logically be the women's number 1 and defending champion. That would be Serena.

I didn't mean to imply that Serena should have been on Centre Court instead of Andy as the first player scheduled--even though most of us guessed the Queen would watch only that match. The scheduling was a formality, I realize that; but I feel that Serena was slighted by the formality, which seemed to have meaning, if only symbolic. In other words, if Nadal was scheduled, why not Serena?

I didn't know that Serena was angry; I haven't heard her say anything other than she was a bit disappointed.

Thank you, Ben!