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June 30, 2009

Wimbledon 2009: Only "Babes" Allowed On Centre Court, Plus Williams/Williams On A Roll

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During a Wimbledon where the biggest story on the women's side is the Williams sisters making mincemeat of anyone in their path and the smallest story is the women players' grunting, a new story has emerged.

Something most tennis fans have assumed for years was finally confirmed by a rep of the All England Club: if you're what's considered a "babe" by the Wimby powers that be, you're more likely to get your match on centre court.  Whereas if you're built more like a jock, are not Vanity Fair-ready, or you're black, you end up on courts 1 or 2.

As Jon Wertheim said in his weekly question and answer column for CNNSI:

Far as I'm concerned, here's the shocker of the day: both Wimbledon and BBC officials confirming looks matter when making scheduling decisions. Wow. Eagerly awaiting WTA outrage.

Yeah, who knows, we may have to wait awhile for that outrage to materialize.  The Daily Mail of London has a pictorial of who got what courts this fortnight, based on looks.

Kate Norcera of the New York Daily News put it this way:

Wimbledon promoters called it "The Battle of the Babes" when Victoria Azarenka, seeded 8th in the tournament, took on Cristea, seeded 28th, at Centre Court on Friday. The same day, second seed Serena Williams, undoubtedly one of the great players the sport has ever seen, was relegated to play her match on the No. 2 court.

Many of the seats on Centre Court for the "Babe" match remained empty. Die-hard tennis fans who came to the event seemed to know better - which indicated the move had more to do with television ratings.

Sunday night, the All England Club admitted that good looks were a factor when considering the play schedule. Spokesman Johnny Perkins told the Daily Mail that "good looks are a factor."  

"It's not a coincidence that those (on Centre Court) are attractive," he said.

This is wrong it so many ways, where do I start?

First of all, that definition of attractiveness is the white, male All England Club's definition.  Venus and Serena Williams are some of the most gorgeous ladies out on the court. 

But see, this is about being blonde and leggy.  If you're not blonde and leggy, you're not attractive.  Never have been, never will be. It's about being the reincarnation of the "never won a tournament on tour" Anna Kournikova or "for the longest time all I had was one Wimbledon title," Maria Sharapova. 

Of course, Sharapova has a whole lot more talent than Kournikova and she's won two more Grand Slams since that lone Wimby.  But for awhile there, you would have thought Sharapova invented the game of tennis the way the tennis Gods promoted her.

Wimby's big problem this year, besides an expensive new rain roof and no rain, their usual go to glamour girl, Sharapova flamed out in the early rounds.So who are they left with?Two of the greatest women tennis players ever.  The very attractive, Serena and Venus Williams.

Go Williams!

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