Navratilova: It is Much Easier for Federer to be Loved than Serena Williams

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Martina Navratilova


18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova spoke out regarding sexism in tennis, stating that she believes it is still a big problem engraved in sports culture.

“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.

To further emphasize her point, Navratilova drew on an example between Roger Federer and Serena Williams. She believes that fans are more likely to accept a strong male character such as Federer prior to a strong female one such as Serena.

“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.”

Navratilova also mentioned that after “un-retiring” and returning to the WTA tour 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.”

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4 thoughts on “Navratilova: It is Much Easier for Federer to be Loved than Serena Williams

  1. Yeah ok it’s totally got nothing to do with Serena’s attitude or personality half the time…Roger is so well liked by most tennis fans because he is always the utmost gentleman on and off the court.
    Thanks again for sharing your ridiculous ideas of racism and sexism playing a role Navratilova, couldn’t you have just retired and disappeared gracefully, oh wait no you can’t because you’re a bitter miserable lesbian!

  2. @Ttsonly a bitter miserable individual would use a homophobic slur because they don’t agree with someone’s argument.  
    As for Federer he has been fined for unsportsmanlike behavior, including using obscenities against a line judge.

  3. Roger has been fined for uttering obscenities at a line
    judge and in one case for violating the best effort rule.. i.e. he
    played so badly the ref concluded he essentially threw the game.  
    There have also been allegations of his arrogance “No, the point is that Federer was being arrogant – and not for the first
    time. After Andy Murray gave him a thrashing in Cincinnati, he
    responded, “There’s no reason to be [disappointed] because I’m on an
    incredible run. You always expect a loss once in a while. So when it
    happens, why be disappointed if I win over 90 per cent of my matches?” from the article Roger Federer hero or villan.
    There are also a number of articles that discuss his ‘arrogance’ (see quotes below).   So yes I agree there is a double standard as none of this is ever held against him. 

      “I have a great record against anybody right
    now, so it doesn’t really matter who I play in the final. I’ll be in
    there as the big favorite. But I play my best in the finals, in the
    important matches. That’s why I’m number one. There’s no secret…I’m
    not overconfident, but very confident.”
    — Roger Federer after winning the first semifinal in Cincinnati.
    “I know I can beat him on any surface.”
    — Roger Federer, eating some of his ego after losing to Rafael Nadal in the French Open semifinals.

  4. maccain Please list the number of black players that have been number one in the world, have won more than one grand slam, and are “well loved”?  I can think of only one and that is her sister who is in some cases better liked.  As for arrogance, see my reply above regarding Roger.

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