Offseason Newsreel: Time to burn our bras, ladies.


In a good news week, I power through every report by every major news outlet, though they say much the same thing. In a bad news week, news come to find me and I run away screaming my denial.

In slow news week, I start quoting trashy Melbournian tabloids and caring about whether Stella McCartney is one of Maria Sharapova’s favourite designers. (FYI: she is, according to Harpers Bazaar Australia, who did a recent interview with her.)

But when worse comes to worst and slow comes to a halt?

We start the bra-burning, ladies.   

 

 

1. Serena Williams has ‘reached boiling point’. She tends to do that. 

Writing a blog for global.grind.com, Serena argued that John McEnroe and Jeff Tarango had got off lightly for their outbursts, while she was fined a record $92K.

McEnroe told supervisor Ken Farrar at the 1991 Australian Open to: “Go f— your mother.” Tarango walked off court at Wimbledon in 1995 and then criticised umpire Bruno Rebeuh, twice committing aggravated offences and earning a two-tournament grand slam ban.

 

Answer this: Why is it another player who also lost HIS cool not to a line judge – like I did – but to the main officiating judge- using the same “f word” why was HE only fined 10 thousand dollars.  Was what I did 10 times worse than what he did?!

There is another HE who was fined less than half of what I was fined after someone in his camp actually physically ATTACKED an official!!!!

What about the famous HE who made arguing with officials “cool”. Cool for “MEN” I guess.

Is it because they are all HE’s and not a SHE like me?

 

Well well well … I was wondering when this was coming. One would not expect Serena Williams to take a fine like that lying down, and clearly, her PR team doesn’t have to the sense or guts to shut her up either.

Don’t even get me started on her reference to the first amendment. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom to tell someone which part of their body you’d like to shove a ball into. 

 

 

As much as I’d like to invite you to my bra-burning party Serena, this is not a case of sexism. Sure, Tarango was fined less, but he was banned from 2 slams. How much money does Serena Williams make per slam?

As for John McEnroe, he wasn’t defaulted from a high-profile grand slam semifinal but rather a 4th round match. He wasn’t the No 2 player in the world, nor did he threaten to shove anything down anyone’s throat. Johnny Mac did not live in the age of youtube, twitter and social media that made the incident front page news of every paper in the West.

The key here is impact, and there is no question that Serena’s outburst reflected poorly on herself and the sport, causing negative media coverage worldwide. I’m not for scapegoating, but her actions and their global impact did warrant a hefty fine. 

When I look at Serena, I see a woman who has rarely been given the benefit of the doubt by tennis officials. That is not a coincidence. But the fine itself had nothing to do with race or gender. This wasn’t what the 1960s feminists had in mind when they burnt their bras in search of liberation. 

I also see an emotional girl who has come through a tough life, yearning for acceptance. But acceptance is precisely the reason why she needs more than anything to take the high road here and show some humility.

This rant wasn’t about meritorious argument, sexism and what-not. This was her way of getting a long history of controversy off her chest. But tactically, it was a wrong move to go on this rant. Very few people noticed her attempt to retrace the injustices of her past, but everyone noticed that she accused the ITF of sexism and unequal treatment. 

And you want feminism? Here’s a quote for ya, “women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” You can do better Serena. Not worse. 

 

2. While Serena was ranting away about the ITF’s ‘sexist’ fines, the WTA has asked fans on their website to err … vote for Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic on the “Top 99 Most Desirable Women of 2010” list of AskMen.com.

 

 

 

ASK-MEN-DOT-COM?!

Oh the irony of it all.

Tell me, when was the last time the ATP asked us to vote for Roger or Rafa on People Magazine’s ‘sexiest men’ list? Is the WTA the governing body of a group of professional athletes or a group of B-grade pin-up girls? Maria and Ana are both invited to my bra-burning party. 

You want to promote women’s tennis and professional female athletes? Then get real. Start acting like their employer, not their pimps. 

 

3. Congratulations to Alicia Molik on her recent engagement to mystery Perth man. Here’s to hoping her flourishing personal life inspires a decent comeback from her. We (or I) have missed her smile. 

She’ll be playing the Australian Open wildcard tournament next week. (clickey

 

4. Dinara Safina seems to have inherited the misery train from her brother. Girl has pulled out of the Brisbane tournament, citing a back injury. (clickey) You don’t just descend from the lofty No 1 spot, you come crashing down like a burning meteor. 

 

 

 

5. The IOC has approved plans for mixed doubles at the 2012 Olympics.

Dream teams: Federer/Mirka. Federer/Hingis. Safin/Kuznetsova.

Teams of horror: Federer/Bacinsky? No. Just no. I’d rather take up Swiss citizenship myself. Tsonga/Bartoli? Poor Jo. 

Any bets that Fed no-shows for mixed dubs instead? 

 

6. In news unrelated to bra-burning, but likely to induce knickers-tossing, Roger Federer is the most googled tennis player of the year. (clickey)

Shocker, heh? He is also the latest inductee in Britain’s Who’s Who. Along with Brad Pitt. I felt the need to provide you all with that piece of information.

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19 responses to “Offseason Newsreel: Time to burn our bras, ladies.”

  1. lauren says :

    “Start acting like their employer, not their pimps.”
    Just found your site, and I think I’m going to love you forever for that quote.

  2. braggaditis says :

    “When I look at Serena, I see a woman who has rarely been given the benefit of the doubt by tennis officials….. But the fine itself had nothing to do with race or gender. This wasn’t what the 1960s feminists had in mind when they burnt their bras in search of liberation. ”

    Well said.

  3. Wilson Farrar says :

    Disclosure: Ken Farrar is my father.

    After McEnroe made his remark, my father immediately defaulted him from the Australian Open. As for the fine, I believe that $10K was the maximum possible fine at the time.

    Thanks for the great article!

  4. Jack says :

    Was she talking about Federer when she talked about the player losing his cool to the main officiating judge?! Because if she was and doesn’t realise that what she did was much worse than what he did, then she really hasn’t learnt from this situation.

    Plus, Vera Zonareva got fined the same amount as Federer, as she used the f-word 4 times as opposed to his 1. So isn’t there an argument there as to why he got fined the same amount as her?

  5. Jodi says :

    Further to Maria, Ana and askmen.com – that is one of the most notoriously sexist and misogynist ‘mainstream’ websites on the Internet. Among their more recent articles was one that suggested you tell your girlfriend she was fat by strategically rigging her chair so it broke when she sat on it.

    And the WTA wants to endorse something with that kind of readership? Spew.

    • dootsiez says :

      “Among their more recent articles was one that suggested you tell your girlfriend she was fat by strategically rigging her chair so it broke when she sat on it.”

      Err … wow. Sphew indeed.

  6. Liz says :

    Another thing about Serena’s complaint re the excessive fine — the other incidents happened over a decade ago. The money was less, and the tolerance for bad behavior was higher.

    She should have taken the fine and kept quiet. What does she get out of her rant except more bad publicity? I’m sympathetic to her paranoia at times — a lot of people do seem to dislike her intensely, for little real reason. But she does nothing to help her own cause.

    I find the WTA pimping very offensive. But the ATP does its own bit in pimping the men. Remember that shirtless calendar?

    • dootsiez says :

      Hee as Jodi would know, the Australian public servants have their own little “men’s calendar”.

      Still, AskMen is not a great website for the WTA to be associating itself with.

  7. flo says :

    Hey, the men had that awful “New balls” campaign a few years back so I think the WTA and ATP are both iffy. Of course WTA prolly is worse in this arena of “sex sells”. Don’t they watch Mad Men, “sex sells” is just what people who don’t understand advertising say to diminish the work of ad men. And also smoke and drink as much as possible and you’ll look as cool as Don Draper and Roger Sterling.

    Serena, the media doesn’t allow people to sit in the middle: either you show contrition by apologizing over and over OR you offer some mitigation defense. But not both.

    Mix doubles teams: well, the Agassis, but more realistically, Safin/Masha altho I think Sharapova isn’t Russian enough according to Safin (either that or he was just sticking up for Kuznetsova and his sister for the Fed team stuff), more more realistically, Roddick and Serena – if you can’t beat them, join them.

    • FortuneCookie says :

      Think the ‘New Balls Please’ thing was supposed to be humorous though,this just feels like blatant ‘sex sells’ from the WTA…
      And let’s face it,a lot of those guys weren’t lookers at the time!

      As for Serena…eurggghhh,she just has absolutely no sense of perspective.At all.

      And Olympic Mixed Doubles=woohooo! 🙂
      Poor Jo for that combo,but I can imagine a worse Swiss team,Fed and Schnyder,I mentioned somewhere else that I think Fed thinks she’s just as batshit crazy as the rest of us do,they’re both from Basel and a similar age,and he never ever mentions her talking about Swiss players or implys that they’re friends in any way…

      • dootsiez says :

        Yeah, the “New Balls Please” campaign was more tongue in cheek. AskMen.com not so much.

        Actually I quite like Patty. She’s so nutty and off-with-the-fairies half the time. I don’t think Fed’s friends with her, but he was friendly with her lil bro, who competed in the Swiss nationals but never turned pro.

        • FortuneCookie says :

          Most of my dislike of Patty comes from her psycho husband/coach and some really ugly moments on and off court (mostly related to him),didn’t know that about her brother though…
          I think the Roger/Mirka mixed dubs campaign has to start NOW,come on Mirka,you have 2 and a half years to prepare,and a nanny for Myla and Charlene! 😛
          Sadly,she looks like she has the least desire imaginable to ever return to tennis,and let’s face it,who can blame her?She gets all the perks of travelling,supporting her husband and revelling in all the glory,and y’know,other perks of being with Roger… 😉

        • dootsiez says :

          ^ *counts* diamond rings, private jets around the world, Myla, Charlene, Dubai apartment, million dollar trust funds, “and you know what else”…

          Yeah I wouldn’t come back to tennis either.

          I loved Patty’s psycho guru/coach thing. She’s such a little nutter. Also, she and Sharapova played that amazing match at Roland Garros in 2007. I’d prefer her to Bacinsky for Fed.

        • flo says :

          Point on the humorousness of campaign, doesn’t detract from the fact that people were invited to check out the front of Safin’s trunks. And then Juan Carlos’s rump. And finally back to Hewitt’s sugar lumps.

        • dootsiez says :

          Hewitt has sugar lumps? *mindboggled*

          But everyone checks players out, no? It’s one thing to slip in a few innuendos, quite another to ask people to vote on AskMen.com

          I thought the WTA crossed a line there, and didn’t find it appropriate.

  8. Footsie says :

    It’s this elitist approach that’s been keeping tennis from a much greater fan base. I’m not defending what Serena Williams did. It was wrong,period, however, this incident fades in comparison with what happens in the most popular sports of the world all the time. For some reason the tennis world acts as though somebody was murdered. Hell even Gunther Parche, the man who is responsible for the actual worst crime in tennis history didn’t even spend a single day in jail! Fair right?

    What Serena did certainly didn’t tarnish tennis in any way. If anything it made her and tennis more popular. Sorry to disappoint you but that’s how things work today. People want action. They find it in Rafa and Serena. That’s why some accuse Federer of being feminine. His hair flicks and sissy purses are not really a good example for tennis fans. This is shallow criticism at best I’m aware of that but the point is don’t expect/demand players to behave like robots. They will make mistakes. It’s human nature. I wish ITF were fair that’s all. Nothing can be done to Agassi because it’s an old case. Does that make him innocent? Your argument about other cases being decades ago is very lame.

    Tennis elitists need to get off their high horses and stop exaggerating. This isn’t the worst tragedy in tennis. It is without doubt not worse than what John McEnroe kept doing a billion times in his career. There is a lot of players who’ve been involved with an incident. This is one of them. But the consequences were way harsher. Was I surprised? No.

    Just check out a couple forums, read a few Yahoo articles and observe ITF’s stance toward Serena Williams. The amount of negativity is impossible to overlook. Racism and sexism are here to stay. You can’t ignore tham.

    • dootsiez says :

      What? Footsie you misunderstand me. And you misunderstand the system. I never said Serena’s actions were “the worst tragedy in tennis”. Nor have I deplored her actions excessively. I have always been a defender of Serena, even when there was little to defend.

      The penalties are harsh for Serena because of the sensationalist impact she had. The ITF did not want to send a signal that it tolerated this sort of behaviour. And frankly, as a governing body, they had every right to do that.

      I’m sympathetic to Serena’s cause, and anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t read this blog very often.

      As for racism and sexism in forums, tennis fandom is stupid, no? If you took half the people in there seriously, then you need to despair at mankind. But you probably do that already.

      And I find your “people prefer Rafa and Serena” to Fed example woeful. At least in this country, that couldn’t be more wrong. As a Serena fan, I can’t think of a successful female athlete less liked than Serena Williams, except for maybe Sharapova. Nor will you find a foreign athlete more popular here than Roger Federer. The views you cite on the Fed come straight out of the fanforums that you seem to be against, no?

      If you disagree with me, at least try to understand what I’ve written.

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