This Wimbledon has been rife with women telling the men’s tour what they need to do.
Judy Murray, the British Fed Cup captain and mum of Andy Murray, says the men need to adopt the WTA’s heat rule which allows 10 additional minutes between sets when the “heat stress index” tops out.
“I think the men should adopt it as well, especially because they have to play five sets,” said Mrs. Murray. “And a slam is such a tough thing to play in, I know you get a day in between matches but if you’re going to win a slam you need to play seven matches in 13 days. And for the men working across the best of five sets it’s incredibly physically and mentally draining, so I think the men should take advantage of it as well.”
Thanks for your concern. But this is where the men’s tour differs from the women’s. Two men enter the court, one man leaves. No heat breaks, no (almost always) male coaches coming on court because you can’t win on your own. It’s brutal, and sometimes it gets very hot, sometimes it goes very long, sometimes players retire during. Those who aren’t in shape ask for breaks or succumb to heat illness and retire.
It’s a battle on the men’s side. And it’s not going to change to taking spa breaks in the middle of matches. It’s not going to change to having your coach run on to court to help you because you can’t figure out how to change strategy or take advantage of weaknesses or formulate a plan.
Next year look for the WTA to implement a rule where each player gets a banana-feeder to run on court during changeovers so players will get enough bananas. Because god forbid they might not be able to figure out when and how much of a banana to eat during a match.
British men’s player British star Kyle Edmund said, “For me personally, I think it’s sport. Especially tennis, it can be physically testing and demanding. That’s why we put a lot of hours in on court and in the gym.”
It is a sport, a physical test. But let’s turn it into a game instead, like golf. Take out the physical aspect, and the mental aspect by allowing male coaches to run on the court and save the day for the women. The WTA says, ‘Don’t strain that lady brain, we’ll let the male coach solve problems during a match.’
Commentator Mary Carillo has gone on record saying it’s pretty pathetic, as have a few others, but to no avail.
“Apart from going against the principle that tennis is a one-on-one sport in which you have to work things out for yourself, it gives off a terrible impression,” said Mark Dickson of the Daily Mail this week. “Usually it involves middle-aged men bounding on to the court to give instructions, sometimes quite aggressively, to often befuddled and stressed young women. It does not look empowering.”
TENNIS magazine’s Nina Pantic has some more advice for the men’s tour. Her article is currently on the tennis.com website. She argues that Novak Djokovic’s coach Boris Becker admits that he cheats and coaches Novak from the player’s box, as does Rafael Nadal’s uncle Toni. Hence, let’s just allow coaches to coach from the stands, and while we’re at it, the ATP needs to adopt the WTA rule and let coaches visit players on court. Coach from everywhere!
More great advice, seemingly, but no. The ATP voted against on-court coaching. The organization internally, and a lot of the players, think it is a demeaning joke. The suggestion also completely disregards the wealth gap — top players have top coaches, while lower players frequently don’t even have a coach to come on the court. Do the top players need another advantage against the lower ranks?
‘Coaches cheat, so let’s just allow it.’ When you let cheating coaches drive the tour rules, you know we’re really in trouble.
Pantic also endeared herself to readers last month by insinuating that Timea Bacsinszky’s abusive parents, and the long string of abusive parents on the tennis timeline, are validated because they get their kids to the tennis stardom level.
“Yet all of these players have had stellar careers despite their struggles — in part, of course, because of the influences of their pushy parents,” she wrote. “Bacsinszky’s father was the driving force behind her game from a very young age. He went way too far, but she may not be where she is right now without some kind of motivation.”
Not-so solid logic.
So to review:
1. Men need breaks between sets when it’s hot, like the women.
2. Men need their coaches to come on court during matches to help them, like the women.
3. Men (and women) pros benefit from pushy and abusive parents when younger.
I’m probably long past the point of being sexist, but those suggestions or points suck. Let’s throw all of them out and accept the differences between the tours and let the men be the men and the ladies be the ladies.
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