I heard what John McEnroe said recently, that Serena Williams would be ranked “like 700 in the world” if she played on the men’s tour.
This is a typical judgment comment which I don’t understand. Why are they pushing so hard to compare men’s and women’s tennis? Of course it’s two different sports because a man is a man and a woman is a woman but at the end of the day, it’s the same job, same sport, we practice probably as much as the men do, do as much running, lifting, gym, sacrifices, traveling…
This of course always leads to the topic of equal prize money. I personally don’t know all the ins and outs to this. It’s a way bigger topic that has a business side to it; it’s not just about tennis.
I understand that the men’s tour has an amazing generation at the moment, with amazing, not champions, but legends, like Rafa (Nadal), and Roger (Federer)… but at some point when those guys are going to leave… I don’t doubt that there are upcoming new stars for sure, but I heard this from a retired WTA player, she said that at some point in history, WTA was more attractive than the ATP – I’m not going to say names from the generation she was referring to – it was for sure not the same as right now with Rafa, Roger, Murray, Djokovic, Stan, all those guys.
So for the ATP, there’s a huge difference between the past 10 years for them and the period before that.
I’m not sure it’s going to happen to have another Roger Federer, or another Serena Williams. Why would you compare? There are some women’s matches between two interesting players that are more interesting than two unknown men. And people would prefer to watch that women’s match than the men’s one. And then it can be exactly the other way around.
It depends on the day, the schedule, the draws… there are so many women’s players who are unknown, they’re not very charismatic, but I would say there are as many players like that on the men’s tour too.
Without giving names, but I can easily find male players I myself would never pay a ticket to go and watch them. But on the other hand there are also many that I would love to watch, and I find the same on the women’s side.
I’m a woman and of course I will support female athletes and always say that we have to be respected. Nowadays we have equal prize money at Grand Slams but not on the tour.
I don’t know what exactly the argument is. At Slams, the argument was they are playing best-of-five and we are playing best-of-three, but the rest of the year on the tour they play the same format as we do.
I know it’s a business, I’m not trying to say yes, we deserve as much as them, because I’m not aware, business-wise, who’s bringing in more money and why. I don’t know.
If Simona Halep for example meets another great player in Bucharest, it’s going to be huge, or me at the French Open, people are going crazy for my matches, so don’t tell me that it doesn’t affect anyone or that people aren’t interested, because that’s not true.
Of course if it’s an unknown player it’s not the same proportion so I don’t know how to answer that question. But of course we will all defend women’s rights and be supportive because at the end of the day it’s the same sport, same sacrifices, same work…
It’s been quite an eventful time on tour recently and I heard about Dan Evans testing positive for cocaine. I’ve been asked if I think players who have failed tests for taking recreational drugs should be treated just as harshly as others who have taken performance-enhancing drugs.
For me, recreational drugs are forbidden for us. I never touched these things, maybe others like it, or they’re doing it for fun, but we’re professional athletes, we are public persons, our job involves lots of sacrifices, it’s not only about waking up, going to work, hitting the ball and practicing.
It’s also a lot of codes you have to respect. Whether it’s rules during a match, or rules outside of the court, what you’re allowed to do or not, or the respect you have to have towards your opponent, the umpire… those are codes you have to adhere to. You decided you want to do this job and you have to follow them. It’s as simple as that.
*This column was done via an interview with Kristina Mladenovic. It has been slightly edited for clarity.
World number five Elina Svitolina became the latest in a series of top-10 casualties when she lost to qualifier Camila Giorgi in the second round at Birmingham on Thursday.
It is only a month since the 22-year-old Ukrainian tasted the euphoria of winning the Italian Open in Rome, but while struggling with injury, she slid to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 second-round defeat to a player ranked outside the top 100.
One of the reasons for such a dramatic contrast was that the tournament is played on lush grass in the English midlands – utterly different to the high bouncing brick dust of the Foro Italico.
Combined with a sudden change from Wednesday’s fierce heat to drizzle and damp, it became hard for Svitolina, who has had issues with a foot problem, to cope.
Another was that Giorgi adapted to the slick surface very well, hitting some raging forehand drives, finding some good angles, and occasionally coming to the net effectively.
She increasingly played close to the standard that two years ago took her to 30 in the world.
With Dominika Cibulkova having already lost in the first round, the two leading seeds have now both departed early, following belated withdrawals from four other top-10 players.
Although this week’s event is only a warm-up for Wimbledon, it is a premier-level tournament with high prize money.
If it proves even the slightest indicator of events at Wimbledon, there are some shocks in store when the Grand Slam tournament gets underway on July 3.
Svitolina often played well in the second set and broke serve to lead early in the third, but her standards dropped away.
Afterwards she even suggested she would consider pulling out of Wimbledon.
“There is a question about it,” she admitted. “I will talk with my physios. The season is very long and I must look at the bigger picture.
“The heel feels painful and is very sensitive. I am disappointed I am out of the tournament but I am not disappointed with my performance, because I could not show even 50 percent. Also the court was slippery which is bad for the foot.
“I am not surprised about the way Giorgi played because she always played great on grass.”
The Italian now has an enticing opportunity to enhance that reputation, as she will have a quarter-final against another surprise survivor, Ashleigh Barty, a 21-year-old Australian making her first appearance in the main draw.
On Wednesday she overcame Barbora Strycova, the eighth-seeded Czech, who is a two-time former finalist.