The Williams Sisters: Two Middle Fingers to Men’s Tennis
How can I begin to describe for you my love for all things Venus and Serena Williams? It’s not a creepy thing … Okay, it’s slightly creepy, I’ll give you that, but I cannot help that I’m attracted to beautiful, athletic women. And so when I hear others insulting the Williams sisters or denigrating their talent by claiming that they do not deserve as much prize money as men for their tournament wins, I get a little upset.
Because the debate over whether women tennis players should receive equal prize money is still, strangely, an ongoing debate, and it is one with which I was totally unfamiliar until recently because I’m not exactly a tremendous sports fan. In fact, I grew up hating sports and while I now watch American football pretty regularly, I still don’t know the names of all the positions. My friend has tried to teach me, but it hasn’t yet taken. Partly because I don’t care and partly because I’m a fucking idiot.
So why, then, do I consider myself a Williams sisters fan? Because I think they’re hot—that’s mostly it. But my shallowness doesn’t preclude me from understanding that the Williams sisters, along with every other woman tennis player, deserve the same amount of prize money as the men if only because men’s tennis players seem to me to be, on the whole, conceited fucking douchebags.
Consider, for example, that most men’s tennis players refuse to say anything on the topic of equal pay, and few if any actually come out in support of it. Because oh, by the way, even Roger Federer has yet to come out in support of equal prize money for women. Consider further that French player Gilles Simon has said of women’s tennis, “Tennis is the only sport today where we have parity even though men’s tennis remains more attractive than women’s at this time.”
More attractive? I’m sorry, but regardless of your sexual persuasion, you’ll have to admit that there is something a little more aesthetically appealing about women’s tennis outfits when compared with the frat-boy date-rape stylings of your average men’s tennis player.
Consider further Janko Tipsarevic, who said of women tennis players, “a woman who wins a Slam should only earn enough money to pay for her airplane ticket home … The way women think on court cannot be compared to men. Their only strategy is ‘hit the ball where your opponent isn’t.’ Nothing more!” Tipsarevic goes on to compare Serena Williams to a “truck on steroids,” and I’m willing to bet that Tipsarevic would shrink from the opportunity to say this to Serena Williams in person because she’d undoubtedly react by laying out her response across his face. She’s just not someone I’d be eager to upset, is all.
I know that this isn’t exactly breaking down the barriers of inequality, considering that this only applies to the top handful of professional women’s tennis players earning millions of dollars in prize money. Professional tennis isn’t exactly a career to which the average person can ever begin to aspire, and so it sort of leaves this debate removed from the greater social concerns addressed in other blogs on this site that speak to wealth inequality in this country. However, there is an interesting aside that should be noted with regard to Venus and Serena and the majority of their male counterparts, and that is this: When taking a look at the backgrounds of so many professional men’s tennis players, you more often than not will find that they come from comparatively privileged backgrounds than that of the Williams sisters.
For example, you might discover that the leading men’s tennis players’ parents worked in insurance or as doctors and that they grew up in suburban Paris or some other such comfortable setting, which is fine, until you start claiming that two women who grew up in Compton shouldn’t be entitled to equal prize money for playing a game of fucking tennis. That is what earns such men’s tennis players the moniker of silver-spoon-fed bitch-made pussies. The fact that the Williams sisters come straight outta Compton surely makes them deserving of equal, if not more prize money than some sweater vest-wearing date-raping minority-exploiting Hamptons prick.
That is why there is something incredibly satisfying in watching Venus stick a proverbial middle finger into the face of the asinine world of professional men’s tennis. And of course, while Venus’s is a proverbial middle finger, Serena’s is more often an actual one. Serena did, after all, famously threaten a line judge by saying “I swear to God. I’ll fucking take this ball and shove it down your fucking throat!”, which is something that you just won’t get from tennis’s male players, who prefer to berate their women counterparts from a distance and through the press. Apparently for good reason, too, because while Serena may just threaten a line judge, she’d likely be far more apt to follow through when accosted in person by the likes of Simon and Tipsarevic.
And let us not forget that Venus Williams, 34, won four Wimbledon titles while suffering from Sjogren’s Syndrome, a painful and incurable autoimmune disease, not to mention that she also won a couple of Olympic gold medals and a host of other championship titles along the way as well. So just in case you weren’t feeling bad enough already about the relative paucity of your life’s accomplishments, you can add that to the list of reasons why your life is shamefully underwhelming by comparison.
Of course, the most common reason given as to why women shouldn’t earn equal prize money is because they play the best of three sets versus the men’s best of five. However, the men play best of five sets a grand total of only four times each year, at the majors. The rest of the year, they play the same best of three set matches that the women do, which sort of weakens that argument. In fact, that women play best of three versus best of five matches is further proof as to why they should receive equal and perhaps even a little more prize money than men because tennis is fucking boring, and women are the only ones who make it interesting because 1) they’re better people (I’m sorry, guys, but this is true. Most guys are just vapid, self-absorbed douchebags with very little to say and even less personality than an accountant in a coma) and 2) they understand a fundamental principle of entertainment: leave your audience wanting more. Men’s tennis matches, by comparison, are like a season of Cougar Town—it’s not quite clear for how long it’s been going and there seems no discernible end in sight, but somehow, somewhere, some slack-jawed audience manages to keep Courtney Cox employed.
Lastly, let’s be honest: if you are unfortunate enough to be watching tennis, women are far more fun to watch. And I don’t mean this in the way of a chauvinistic pig (which I admittedly am) but in the way that you go to an art museum to see images of beauty. These women tennis players (many or most of them) are real-life Galateas engaged in impressive feats of physical prowess, making them far greater audience draws than some hairy pug-nosed men like Nadal and Federer and whatever other male tennis players who do not come to mind because, let’s face it, I have better things to do with my life than to piss away six hours of it watching a tennis match with a point system more difficult to decipher than Stevie Wonder’s cursive handwriting.
The point for all the men who believe that women tennis players deserve less prize money simply because they play the best of three matches as opposed to the best of five is this: perhaps we should hear from the women who believe that your bedroom performance is equally finished a little too quickly and see whether they are as impressed by a few extra rounds of tennis as they might be from a few extra rounds of foreplay and a little more attention to their clitoris. All I’m saying is that women put up with a little too much in the way of abbreviated performance to be insulted with the idea that their truncated tennis rounds are somehow deserving of less reward.
And so there you have it, my rebuttal. And please share this with Venus Williams because that’s what this blog has been all about: my desire to one day meet and marry Venus Williams. That’s not too creepy, is it? Maybe it is, but really, it’s not like she’s ever going to read this anyway. She’s just a little too busy being awesome to be distracted with reading this kind of bullshit.