Before this summer, at Wimbledon, the umpire usually called “game Miss…” or “game Mrs…” while announcing the results throughout each set, rather than just saying their last name compared to men who were being called for example, “game, Federer.” Highly sexist? Of course, it was!
This year Wimbledon fans noticed an important change to how female tennis players are referred to by umpires. Since more women are keeping their last name after marriage, they preferred and referred as Ms instead of broadcasting their marital status.
The issue was highlighted last year after Serena Williams married the entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian. She did not change her last name (because why would she want to stop being a Williams? duh!!). When she was referred to as “Mrs Williams” on the court, things turned awkward and the issue was brought to the notice, the Telegraph reported.
Pic credit: Sporting Life
Wimbledon ended on July 14 — when a promising player Simona Halep faced the dominating Serena Williams in the Wimbledon Final and demolished her. However, Williams helped the organisers realise the degree of sexism on court having left out from making marital status a feature during the game.
Other competition like the French Open also dropped "Madam and Madamoiselle" when addressing female players this year.
This means for the first time Wimbledon women's players were free of their absurd marital status announcements, noted by the New York Times, all thanks to Serena Williams.
Williams told the Associated Press that she was completely unaware of the marriage record for female players.
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According to the New York Times, the official Wimbledon Compendium “logs the marriage history — husband, wedding date and location — of any woman who has reached the semifinals or final,” while nothing that, “No such record is kept for the men who have graced the tournament’s final four.”
"when... Serena has won a game, it's, "game, Mrs Williams".— Jaz Dawson (@jazdawson_) July 5, 2018
For her sister Venus, it's, "game, Miss Williams".
And for Roger Federer, it's simply: "game, Federer.""
Eyes roll into the back of my head where the patriarchy isn't running the show.https://t.co/2c8fpQrRxJ
Announcing the change, Alexandra Willis from the All England Club said, “Some of the traditions — white clothing, playing on grass — they are our greatest strengths and the things that we do. Others absolutely have to move with the times. You have to respect the wishes of the players. I suppose the challenge for us is: how much do you rewrite history?”
The British player Heather Watson said she welcomed the change, saying “equality is always good.” But Novak Djokovic, who ranks number one in men’s singles, said he thought the tradition was “very unique and very special.” “I thought it was nice, it’s definitely not easy to alter or change any traditions here that have been present for many years,” he told Reuters.
Feature Image Credit: Yahoo! Sports