Navratilova: Sexism still in tennis; easier for Federer to be loved than Serena

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email

TENNIS.com

Martina Navratilova says there still is inequality between men and women in tennis and in other sports.

“Men still have more opportunities, more corporations are run by men, therefore they’re more ready to sponsor male athletes,” the 18-time Grand Slam winner told BT Sport. “Here’s a double standard, there’s no doubt about it in my mind. It’s still hard for some to accept strong women. With men, we’re so much quicker to accept their greatness. With women we doubt their greatness. I’ve seen it time and time again.

“It’s much easier for Roger Federer to be loved by everybody than for Serena Williams to be loved by everybody, just by the fact that he’s a guy. I don’t know how much of it has to do with Serena herself, how much of it has to do with the fact she’s African American and how much of it is that she’s a woman. In some ways people are willing to give people the mantle of the greatest of all time and at the same time they’re still not getting the respect they should be getting.”

Now a commentator for Tennis Channel and BT Sport, Navratilova said that after “un-retiring” and returning to the WTA in 2000, the reaction she received was not as kind of that given to NBA superstar Michael Jordan, who also made a comeback around the same time.

“When Michael Jordan came back and played again it was ‘he’s unbelievable, he’s the best ever’ and when I came back and played some matches and won it was ‘there’s no depth in women’s tennis.’ With Serena it’s ‘she doesn’t have much competition.’ Well, Roger (Federer) didn’t have much competition for a while either but they weren’t bemoaning that fact, they were never saying there’s no depth in men’s tennis. They’re quick to say it about women.”

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email

More Stories

Men's Draw Review: All eyes on Novak Djokovic, and potential pitfalls

Nadal's campaign kicks off against a tricky floater, a situation many of the seeds face.

Women's Draw Review: Serena's landing spot; danger spots for top seeds

The American faces Kristyna Pliskova; Garbine Muguruza opens against a past champion.

Racquet Bracket: Make your picks for the 2018 French Open tournament

Compete to win prizes from Tennis Express and HEAD.