Why Women’s Tennis Needs to Bring in Five Sets
Unfortunately, while feminism has made significant gains in the world today for bettering the lives of women on the road to equality, one area in which still needs a lot of work is sport. Women’s sport is often looked down upon and is often dismissed by some as inferior, when quite the opposite is true – those who choose to watch women’s sport for the first time are frequently surprised by the sheer entertainment it provides after being told for years that it’s a ‘pointless exercise’.
Women’s tennis in particular is one sport that absolutely does not deserve this defeatist attitude. Previous Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is constantly caught rolling his eyes and correcting journalists at press conferences when journalists seem to altogether forget that women players exist. It’s a truly frustrating exercise, especially when you consider the wealth of women’s players that are prevalent in the sport: Serena Williams and Steffi Graf are two of the most decorated players in tennis of all time – regardless of gender.
So why does women’s tennis still suffer from inequality? Sexism probably has a part to play, of course, but this is too vague an objective to combat. Instead, why not look at changes we can make that will make a real difference in how we perceive the sport. What we are told time and time again is that men’s tennis is more popular because they play five sets, compared to the three women play, and therefore it is better value for money.
I’m not sure to what extent I agree with this logic, but it does make a very valid point. If women are perceived to be weaker than men, and therefore cannot last the whole five sets, then inequality is already rife at the very core. It is through the three-set games that women are forced to play, that people find a way to justify women earning less in the sport. The idea that women are weaker is objectively idiotic, if anyone has seen Serena Williams rocket a serve over the net will know that this argument is beyond stupid.
Frequent counterarguments whenever equal pay is brought up are almost uniform in their similarity ‘Of course women shouldn’t be paid as much as men,’ they pontificate ‘they play less games for a start. There’s nothing fair about that.’ While this logic annoys the hell out of a lot of people, it is unfortunately a valid point and something we need to change. It seems to me that we need to give these people exactly what they claim holds the profile of women back, they’ll no doubt drum up a new excuse afterwards, though.
While it is true that quality is always a better measure for success than quantity, we cannot let such inequality thrive if something as simple as the number of games played is allowed to stay at the number it is – tradition be damned. Once they are brought to the same number of sets, surely there won’t be anywhere for these sexism apologists to hide?