A few weeks ago I attended the US Open for the first time, checking off a bucket list activity I’ve always wanted to experience. I’ve always been a fan of the sport & grew up playing tennis every summer. By the time I was 13, my riding career had taken priority & all other sports in my life took a back seat – including tennis.
Thankfully, I’ve been able to get back into the swing of it this summer by joining the tennis club in my NJ hometown & taking as many lessons as I could manage each weekend I spent home. My love for it has grown tremendously & I’m very thankful for all those summer tennis boot camps, which I hated as a kid. Those days & hours on the court built the foundation of learning to play that I’m heavily reliant on today.
And as much as I hate to admit it, my mom once again was right when she said I’d learn to love it as an adult.
This year’s US Open Tournament sparked several controversial situations regarding ‘sexism’ in tennis. Sadly, in my opinion, tennis has always been a gender-segregated sport which expected players of each sex to abide by polar opposite rules & regulations; ranging from the rules of play for males vs females to more serious matters of the degree of violation degree for males vs females.
There’s a serious double standard issue at hand.
For example, why is it ok for Novak Djokovic to take his shirt off, exposing his naked chest, to cool off between sets but Alize Cornet gets handed a code violation for discretely changing her shirt from backwards to front at the back of court?
There’s no doubt these have been ongoing issues for years but aside from Billie Jean King, discrimination against female tennis players wasn’t headline worthy. But today is a different time, one that has brought back the voices of many silences that need to be heard & demand justice.
I want to say the ‘Me Too Movement’ helped to trigger a resurface of these very serious matters, and I’m thankful Serena Williams is standing representative to face the situation at hand. I’m hoping the strength that she’s chosen to publicly show, to negate tolerance for sexism in tennis, will bring much needed change to the tolerance and expectations of both player genders.
It’s deserved equality & it’s long overdue.