Women Tennis Five Sets Debate

Part
01
of one
Part
01

Women's Tennis Advocates

Advocates that have spoken out against the current arrangement where female tennis players only play three sets while male players play five in major tennis tournaments include former tennis players James Blake, Pat Cash, and Billie Jean King as well as Dr. Lisa Edwards, a senior lecturer in sociology and philosophy in the Cardiff School of Sport.

1. JAMES BLAKE

  • James Blake is a former top-five tennis player and current tournament director of the Miami Open, who is charged with among other responsibilities: tournament improvements and innovations.
  • He argues that male players should play three sets in major tennis tournaments instead of the current five sets. His rationale is that it is difficult for the fans to sit through a five-hour match, especially when it is very hot as witnessed, for instance, during the Australian Open. He further argues that even for a fan watching from the sofa, it is a lot to sit through. He also points out that such lengthy matches also makes it difficult for broadcasters to sell sponsorships.

2. PAT CASH

  • Pat Cash is an Australian and a former tennis player whose greatest tennis achievement was winning the men’s singles at Wimbledon in 1987.
  • He argues that female tennis players should play five sets, just like their male counterparts in major tennis tournaments. His rationale is that tennis matches should be a battle not just of skills in backhand, forehand, and serve, but of physical endurance and mental resilience; and that there is no better way to test this than in a best-of-five match.

3. BILLIE JEAN KING

  • Ms. Billie Jean King is the founder of the Women's Tennis Association and the WTA Tour. She is a well-decorated international tennis champion with a record 20 Wimbledon titles. She also serves as Fed Cup captain for the United States Tennis Association.
  • She has called for an end to five-set matches for men at major tennis tournaments. Her rationale being that men's matches could last too long, which then compromises the quality of the tennis matches at the behest of quantity. She further argues that in the entertainment business, usually one doesn't get paid by how long one plays but rather the quality of the match a player is able to exhibit in the tournament.

4. DR. LISA EDWARDS

  • Dr. Lisa Edwards is a senior lecturer in sociology and philosophy in the Cardiff School of Sport.
  • She argues that women should also play five sets in major tennis tournaments. Her rationale being that when women tennis players play three sets while male players play five sets in major tennis tournaments, it only serves to reinforce the false belief that women are physically incapable and lacking in stamina and endurance.

Sources
Sources

Quotes
  • "The biggest factor is the fan. A fan sitting through a five-hour match - it just doesn't happen anymore. Look at the Australian Open or U.S. Open, where it can be really hot. That's a lot to ask for fans. Even watching from the sofa, that's a lot to sit through. And it's difficult for broadcasters to sell sponsorships."
Quotes
  • "This should be a battle not just of backhand, forehand and serve, but of physical endurance and mental resilience. There is no better way to test this than in a best-of-five match"
Quotes
  • "Ms. Billie Jean King founded the Women's Tennis Association in 1973. Ms. King also Founded WTA Tour. She is an international tennis champion with a record 20 Wimbledon titles. In 1974, she founded the Women’s Sports Foundation and Women’s Sports magazine. Ms. King serves as Fed Cup Captain for the United States Tennis Association. She co-founded World Teamtennis, Inc. and serves as its Director"
Quotes
  • "Former world number one Billie Jean King has called for an end to five-set matches for men at Grand Slams. King, who won 12 Grand Slam titles including six at Wimbledon, said men's matches could last too long."
  • "The 74-year-old suggested women were willing to play five sets too but people wanted quality over quantity. You do not get paid in the entertainment business by how long you play for," said King at the launch of the WTA Finals in Singapore"
Quotes
  • "She argues that the practice reinforces false beliefs about women’s physical capabilites"