I really should listen to my good friend and work colleague who tells me not to watch Sunrise because it makes me angry. But as I was watching the tennis last night, that was the program on this morning when I flicked on the TV to see how long it had taken Nadal to defeat Cilic. It didn’t take long before my angryness came to the fore. I can’t remember which came first, but I think it was the suggestion that hospitals are right to ban Dads from filming the birth of their children, because in Kochie’s eyes “you just shouldn’t have cameras down there.” “Down there” is obviously code for vagina with your choice of demeaning adjective. Now I can think of a number of reasons for having a camera filming your vagina none of which include pr0n although that may also be a legitimate reason for filming your vagina, depending on your opinions of pr0n.
But it didn’t stop there. Then we got to the report on the tennis. A bit of a chat was had about the Nadal/Cilic match which was over in three sets and the Clijsters/Makarova match which was over in two. Then it was mentioned that the overall prize pool for the Australian Open was $25 million with $20K for getting through the first round and then so on until the winners both receive $2.2 million and the runners up $1.1 million. That was when Kochie made his second remark about women getting paid the same as men and asked who plays more sets. Mel shushed him and said “Not this again” or something along those lines and the sports reporter said “I’ll get you out of this Mel” and started talking about tennis again. Quite how this was Mel’s problem I’m not sure. Now I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I actually agree with Kochie this time. Men and women tennis players shouldn’t get paid the same. Women should be earning more.
Here’s why. Women have to win in three sets. There is no second chance in the women’s game. If they lose two sets it’s all over. Lleyton Hewitt is known for coming back and winning in a tough fifth set despite going two sets to love, two sets to one, down. How many Grand Slams would he have won if they didn’t go best of five? [In non G/Ss everyone is best of three]. Therefore you can’t let your concentration slip in the women’s game. Have a bad set and lose and you have to come back in the next two or your are out. Men have the luxury of two bad sets before they have to get their act together.
Women are judged not only on their tennis skills but also on their appearance. Sometimes solely on their appearance despite their tennis skills. One male commentator texted fellow commentator Rennae Stubbs to say that he thought Kim Clijsters was pregnant because she was grumpy and her boobs looked bigger. So a woman can’t even have a bad day and wear a supportive bra without someone making a comment about her that has absolutely nothing to do with tennis. The fact that some women can play top level tennis while in the early stages of pregnancy means that they are worth more. [ftr Kim has said she is not pregnant]
Women can still play really long matches over three sets. Kuznetsova and Schiavone played for over four hours to complete three sets. I didn’t get to see all of the match but when it became apparent that the third set was going to go on for a while the Channel 7 coverage switched from the Sharapova/Petkovic match it had been televising to the Kuznetsova/Schiavone match for the duration. It was very entertaining tennis and worth every cent that those players are paid. Some men’s games go for five hours, but even that is pretty rare.
Women’s tennis has changed a lot in the past few years that I have been watching and I think in a large part due to the Williams sisters. I am not an expert on the history of women’s tennis, but as a reasonably avid watcher of tennis I think that the Williams sisters changed the game with their hard hitting and athleticism. The Women’s no.1s at the time – Martina Hingis and Lindsey Davenport were both masters of the well placed shot and Martina Hingis was very quick around the court and Lindsay had a great reach which allowed her to reach shots that other players may have missed. Then came Venus and Serena who hit the ball as hard as the men and quite simply overpowered some of their opponents. Venus was also extremely quick (at the time) for the women’s circuit. So the players had to change their game to keep up. Which they did. Which IMHO made womens tennis more interesting, faster paced and well worth equal footing with the men’s game. Which I have just realised I think of as the default for measuring these things. Hmmm.
Maybe it is time for Kochie to go the way of the other dinosaurs?
[SotBO: some of this was written firmly tongue in check, some not]