Friday, June 29, 2012

Wimbledon--what they said

When she's winning, she tends to be passive and she backs up on her shots.
Chris Evert, describing Christina McHale

What super tennis--flowing and nerveless.
Jo Durie describing Camila Giorgi

What is it like to coach against four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams on center court at the championships? Well, it’s like experiencing a beautiful dream and a horrifying nightmare all at the same time.
Craig O'Shannessy

I have a lot of confidence right now, and I'm very pleased that I am in the second week.
Angelique Kerber

[She] took the scenic route, but she played good tennis when she needed to.
Commentator describing Sabine Lisicki

The conditions were hard, it was very windy, but I adjusted well, I think, and just calmed down and went for my shots and made them.
Sabine Lisicki

When I'm not moving and not active physically, it's better. Moving and running is just impossible right now; it's impossible to play at this level. But I hope I will get better soon.
Vera Zvonareva

...the guy played incredible. I'm curious to see how he's going to play [against Philipp Kohlschreiber] because a lot of times he looked a little bit arrogant out there. So I wonder how he'll react in his next match, if he can stay grounded, keep his feet on the ground, and try to keep that result going. Nobody cares too much. You can beat Nadal, but if you lose the next round ... I'm going a definitely watch him tomorrow and see how he will play.
Kim Clijsters, on Lukas Rosol's upset of Rafael Nadal

I think everyone wants a certain amount of respect regardless of what you've achieved. It's about having self respect and people respecting who you are as human being and everyone getting equal from the same organization. I don't think that I did get equal treatment, but I said what I said and I don't want to keep harping on it during Wimbledon, which is very important to me.
Sania Mirza

She's number 3 in the world for a reason. She didn't miss. I think I tried to do too much and then I tried to do too little. I just wasn't getting it right today.
Heather Watson, on going up against The Radwanska


Rauf Arshad said...

one of the best events of tennis i have every seen
Tennis Blog

Eric said...

ok so Gilles Simon backed up his comments by saying that it's not about 3 sets to 5 sets; he just thinks women's tennis is less interesting and thus should be valued accordingly.

so ignore what i said before on todd's blog.

he's totally missing the bigger picture...and that's not totally his fault. he needs to be educated or sensitized to the real and sometimes hopeless uphill dilemmas that any group of disadvantaged people face. being that that is not his background or his personal truth, maybe he can't see it. and maybe he is aware of these issues and he thinks that women already have it pretty good -- which is true, times are certainly better -- but things can always be better (i.e. tennis players fighting for better working conditions when they already have it pretty good)

equal pay is not only the right thing to do (as Beyond the Baseline states), it's an investment.

part of the reason why there's so much more parity in the women's game today is because there is more money in the game. thus, players are able to hire top coaches, nutritionists, physios, etc. etc. to help boost their games. People aren't at the top just because they're talented. To be competitive at the highest echelons, you have to have the best everything. And as more players are able to make enough money to invest in themselves, the quality will continue to rise. And to address Gilles Simon's point, that means that women's tennis will become even more interesting than it already is.

More money also draws more people to the sport; thus, the gene pool will literally also become better and better.

I mean it's already happening. Prodigies from all countries who could have been insta-champions in another time are having so much trouble breaking through the professional ranks.

And another point, which I don't think is highlighted enough is that women's tennis is a beacon of women's rights/roles for countries which are less enlightened. Not having equal pay would be a serious blow to "the cause".

So, I started the comment by referencing Beyond the Baseline...but I think I just convinced myself of her point. Equal pay is the right thing to do. She said it a lot more eloquently and succinctly than me.

And to Gilles Simon...I am also a capitalist (I'm in Finance) so I understand where he's coming from and how things have an inherent the market values things...but sometimes you have to make investments in things for them to grow and prosper and improve. And equal pay is an investment. Some might say that deeming equal pay an investment minimizes its importance...and that it stands for even more...

But either way, as an investment, I think it's working because women's tennis is flourishing. The skill level threshold improves every year. There are so many great personalities. And the players are working on building tantalizing rivalries. It's just hard when you have the shadow of legends hanging over you.

Eric said...

oh people have mentioned that the women's game is a staple at the grand slams. i agree whole-heartedly that part of the draw of the event are stars like serena and maria.

but i would like to see the attendance numbers for regular tour events because sometimes the crowd does seem a bit sparse. i'm not just talking about tickets bought -- like how many views on TV per match; spectators in the stands per match. These things are hard to measure (especially with all the different broadcast channels per geographic region; and depending on the country, the popularity of women's sports in general)...but I mean if we were to say amuse Gilles Simon and totally redo the player compensation scheme and base things off of the popularity of players (as gilles simon calls it "interest"), then I think he'd happily keep the existing system when he sees where he falls. He benefits from the popularity of others so he shouldn't be casting any stones.

Also, people watch tennis for many reasons...not just the quality of play. I'm sure there's a group of guys who would pay to see Maria Kirilenko's mug over Gilles Simon.

I do think that the men would rank higher in total on that list than women. (Like there would be more men than women on the list.) But that goes back to equal pay being an investment. The average person doesn't know as many of the female players as the male players. It takes money to generate interest. And it's a process. Familiarity isn't bred over night.

Diane said...

You just spoke extremely eloquently about the subject, Eric, and I thank you for that. Women's sports of any kind are not considered "real" sports because people have been socialized to believe that only the strongest, I.e., men, are "real" athletes.

Unfortunately, those who market women's sports have caved to this cultural belief, so female athletes are " worth it" according to how "sexy" they are. A truly great athlete like Schiavone, for example, was considered a "bad" French Open champion because she does not conform to the cultural norms of "feminine" and "sexy." (And, as bad as the WTA is, at least it doesn't pimp players out to all-male pro-ams, the way the LPGA does.)

I agree totally with your assessment of what a valuable investment is. Thank you again for stating it so well on this blog.

Eric said...

Thanks for the compliment Diane.

I'm just surprised that no one from the wta or atp has addressed what he has said. Yes serena and maria and sloane have kind of jokingly responded but they haven't come up with a coherent response that cuts him off.

Diane said...

The WTA is busy withdrawing funds to pay for the grunt-o-meter and probably can't handle the multi-tasking ;)