Sunday, 15 July 2018

Welcome back, Serbinator! And could anyone explain why women players are paid the same as men?

I was going to give Wimbledon a miss this year, but I weakened and dipped into the Federer v. Anderson quarter-final. It was so enthralling...

...I watched to the (bitter) end. Then I watched what should have been a dreary wham-bam slugfest between Federer's 6ft 8in South African  conqueror and the 6ft 10in American, John Isner. Glad I did. I definitely didn't want to see the other semi-final between Nadal and Djokovic - I find Nadal hard to watch at the best of times, and I was getting tired of Djokovic metronomic, Duracell Bunny perfection by the time his career imploded following his French Open win in 2016: I assumed Nadal would smear him off the court. I switched over half-way through the third set just to find out what was happening - and ended the evening roaring with approval and fist-pumping as Djokovic edged the tie-break. It looked like Elastiman was back near his best - which he proved the following day by somehow managing to fend off Nadal's gutbusting attempts to spoil his comeback.

I watched the whole of today's final. Given what Kevin Anderson had been through to reach it, I assumed it wouldn't take Djokovic more than 90 minutes to wrap it up -  but Anderson actually outplayed the Serbinator in the third, and deserved to win the tie-break. It was surprisingly good to see Djokovic back in form - I didn't even realise I'd missed him! I was just disappointed that not a single member of the younger generation of male players had made it through to the final stages. For God's sake, get a move on!

I didn't watch any of the women's matches, because I never do. But this morning I caught the opening of Desert Island Discs: Billie-Jean King was the guest. The programme started by discussing her lesbianism - of course, because obviously this is the most interesting and pertinent fact about her. I switched off when Elton John started warbling "Philadelphia Freedom", mainly because there was bound to be a lot of adulatory guff about BJK's role in ensuring equal prize money for women at major tennis events - which may have made some sense when she started campaigning for it and women's tennis was in a healthy state, but makes none at all right now, when the women's game is in the doldrums (where it has been for many years).

In case that sounds like blind, misogynistic prejudice, here are some facts. If you tot up the playing time and the number of games played in the men's and women's finals and semifinals, you wind up with these fascinating figures:

Total game time:         Men - 14hrs 9mins
                                   Women - 3hrs 23mins

Total games played:    Men - 187
                                   Women - 54

And yet the men's winner, runner-up and losing semi-finalists received the same prize money as the women's winner, runner-up and losing semi-finalists. In what weird, politically correct, identity politics universe would this be considered equality? Oh yes, that's right - ours!

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