Tennis Prose



Rafael Nadal vs Billie Jean King?

Rafael Nadal made a very provocative comment last week comparing the value of men’s and women’s tennis.

Question: “In tennis, should women earn as much as men?”

Rafael Nadal: “It’s a comparison we shouldn’t even make. Female models earn more than male models and nobody says anything. Why? Because they have a larger following. In tennis too, who gathers a larger audience earns more.”

It will be very interesting to see if the media plays nice on Nadal regarding these comments compared to if someone like an ogre like Jack Kramer, Ray Moore or Novak Djokovic said the same thing.

Will Billie Jean King and the media go after Nadal’s scalp for this?



  • Duke Carnoustie · June 14, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Scoop, you are right that real champions don’t want to goof off at practice and waste time. Nick is a bad influence – he has already helped tank Sock so let’s hope Shapo doesn’t fall for his spell. That scrub he lost to got thumped by Pella.

    No guys commenting on my Maria v. Serena ideas? No one ever had jungle fever?

    Mack Mack is into the QFs and faces Jim Chardy. Credit Milos for dispatching Fucsovics when I called an upset. Milos may be a factor again on grass.

  • Duke Carnoustie · June 14, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    It has not gone unnoticed that Fed had today off while Pella had to play. These are the kind of advantages given to the top guys that make their life easier. It’s a smart move by organizers who want to protect the players they pay appearance fees to.

    Of course, no protection when you pay Jack Sock to show up, like in Auckland! Sock is coming with the tank.

  • Duke Carnoustie · June 14, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Gilles Muller has lost 8 of his last 9 matches with defeats to Gulbis and Ebden in his last two. He is quietly falling apart like Sock and has QF points at SW19 to defend.

  • Chazz · June 14, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    You know who else is falling apart – Mannarino. He has had 5 first round exits in a row and has won only 2 matches since February.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 14, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Duke, the question is which player initiated this clown/lazy practice habits into pro tennis. It is such a serious business. It may have been Rios, who had a rep of trick shots in practice, I remember him and Arazi were putting on a show on on outer practice court at US Open one year, about court 13, two geniuses trying to outdo each other with touch and angles. Rios also had a rep for tanking practice after he got into an argument with his coach, then the other player would be pissed off because he had no one to hit with. Before Nick and Sock I really don’t remember seeing any clown type players. Young Djokovic did some things after practice like a contest of rolling a ball to see who gets it closest to the net with his team. It’s surprising Nick is still clowning like this when he’s not in a good place in his career right now, he’s done nothing this year. Should be training like an animal.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 14, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Duke, I’d rate Maria and Serena just outside the top 50 as far as appealing qualities. Both have lost touch with their feminine side, but for some, that’s what it takes to be great in women’s tennis.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 14, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Gilles Muller had his highest career ranking last summer. But he’s about 35 now. Mannarino had a really good year last year.

  • catherine · June 14, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Scoop/Duke – you’re stuck in a time-warp. ‘Lost touch with their feminine side’ ???? Haven’t heard that for a very long time. Like, decades.

    You’re lucky Hartt and I are the only women who comment here. Neither Serena nor Maria by the way seem to have any trouble attracting men, either as boyfriends or husbands, so I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make.

    The WTA isn’t a beauty contest and you’d be the first to complain if women just drifted around being sexy and feminine, earning prize money (shock!) and playing awful boring tennis.

    So I’m not taking this stuff seriously.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 14, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Not talking beauty, both are very pretty women. But the screaming and cold attitudes and how they compete probably turns some people off. But that’s what it takes to win in tennis, it’s hard to get to the top without summoning the inner beast. Remember Serena said she saw pictures of her on court when she won one of her Aus Open titles and she said she didn’t even know that person. Tennis is just too physical today for nice players like Graf, Henin, Hingis, Clijsters to get to the top and stay there. But then again Halep has done it which is amazing. Let’s see how long she stays there.

  • Duke Carnoustie · June 14, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Simona is embrioled in a weird political controversy with an opera singer and the mayor of Bucharest…

  • Hartt · June 14, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    I think Halep will stay at the top for some time. She has learned a lot about how to compete through her struggles, and she must be feeling confident these days.

    Although she has been too inconsistent to be at the very top, another nice player who has been successful is Kvitova. She can be fierce on the court, but she only lets out an occasional scream (although that can be quite intimidating). And of course Petra is exceptionally nice off the court, as her popularity among the other players indicates.

  • Duke Carnoustie · June 14, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Yeah Scoop, I understand exactly what you are saying in that I wouldn’t want to date either. The cold attitudes contrast to that of an Ana Ivanovic or as you said, Halep.

    They may need that coldness to become a champion like Martina, Chrissie, Maria, Serena, Graf, Venus, etc. It is fierce competition and these women are all about winning trophies.

    It’s true that men prefer women who are more down to earth and not maniacally in pursuit of a goal. That is what Scoop is saying.

    Correct, a guy like Nick should have a chip on his shoulder and instead it’s always a clown show.

  • Hartt · June 14, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    As a Milos fan, I was excited at how well he played. He beat Fucsovics in SS in 50 minutes. I wasn’t sure how he would do in Stuttgart, after being off for a few weeks, but he did not face a break point in either of his matches.

    Today his serve was on. He hit 19 aces, which is a huge number for him, Milos usually averages 5-6 aces per set – he isn’t an Isner-type ace machine. His first serve % was 65%, and when it is at least 60% he normally has good results. He won 80% of second serve points, pretty impressive.

    And he used serve and volley a lot, which must have pleased Goran. I hope he can keep up this level, he plays Berdych next.

  • catherine · June 14, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Scoop – Steffi had her hard side. She didn’t scream and yell because players didn’t in those days, but she had the inner steel and she kept her distance from the competition, on the whole. That was how she became a champion.

    Same with Maria, Serena etc. It’s important not to confuse the public person competing on court, needing those attributes you mention, which aren’t traditionally ‘feminine’, with the human being. A lot of fans, and non-fans, seem to do that.

    As you say, Simona’s a ‘nice’ player who reached No 1 so let’s see who’s going to challenge her.

    Doubtless the WTA would prefer a top 10 of ‘nice’ girls in touch with their feminine sides but high level sport doesn’t really work that way. As we know.

  • catherine · June 14, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Duke – that link turned my screen black 🙂

    But I wouldn’t be surprised at anything which comes out of Roumanian politics. A volatile country.

  • Duke Carnoustie · June 14, 2018 at 3:16 pm

  • Duke Carnoustie · June 14, 2018 at 3:23 pm

  • Duke Carnoustie · June 14, 2018 at 3:25 pm

  • Hartt · June 14, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t think we need to worry about Shapo starting to goof off in practice, he is way too driven for that. And of course the video just showed a couple minutes. Anyway, since then Denis practiced with Federer and, although Roger may enjoy a lighter moment during practice you can be sure that a lot of serious work is accomplished.

  • Chazz · June 14, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Duke, that shot by Kyrgios was incredible. I love it. He’s an entertainer and yes, a waste of talent to some degree. You never know what he’s going to do, which puts him near the top of my list for players to watch.

    I think he and Sock are hooked on sports like NBA and NFL (they reference them a lot) and probably want to make highlight reels in tennis like they see with monster dunks and amazing catches. It’s frustrating that neither of them will ever reach their potential, but most of the time they are fun to watch.

  • Hartt · June 14, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Further to the discussion about reporters’ questions, there is a YouTube video of what they call the 5 worst questions. Sometimes the players get to strike back.

    One was a reporter saying something to the effect that Roddick hadn’t been doing well, and who did he think would retire first – him or Federer? Roddick paused, then said “I think you should retire,” and left.

  • Bobby Hurley · June 14, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    That’s a cool story Scoop about Rios and Arazi in practice. The media never talks about Serena losing to some man 500 in the world. Or Margaret court losing the early battle of the sexes. Or Jimmy Connors beating Navratilova where the she had the doubles alleys he had the singles court. He even had a million dollar bet that he would come under a certain amount of games and was sweating it out after winning a close 7-5 set. Won 6-1 I think in the second. This culture has a hard time with truth. The women’s game is great for what it is. It is different and offers something else. But Nadal says it best “It is a comparison that shouldn’t be made.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 14, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Kvitova is seldom fired up to the hilt but when she’s into it 100% she is as fierce as they come, if not fiercer. Her screams after winning big points are as crazy intense as anyone. She only does it rarely so it’s under the radar but if she was like that every match, there would be complaints.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 14, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    Catherine, Steffi was dominant but I think she was overwhelmed by Seles intensity. Seles was always feminine but she played like an animal, it was always interesting how she managed that. Very pretty sweet girl but on the court she was a stone cold killing machine, baring her teeth like a wolf on every ball. It was clear she was going to take over Graf but Graf’s maniac fanatic took matters into his own hands to save his heroine from her imminent destruction. Was always a big fan of Seles, found her more attractive than Sabatini and Kournikova. She was always nice, and thanked ball kids when they gave her the ball to serve. I sat front row at the Mahwah exhibition which she played in the early 90s. Such a superstar but also a normal person at the same time. Her essence was best captured by John Feinstein in his 90s book Hard Courts, specifically the Ted Tinling chapter “Ted.” Ted adored Seles. Must read book.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 14, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Chazz, Sock is still in a downward spiral and it is now given that he will revive his A game and his aura. With all his bad losses this year he’s lost a lot of respect from the other players, nobody fears him like they used to. They see him as vulnerable and beatable and short on confidence. Let’s see if he can change that with a big summer. That is what he needs because he’s ranked outside the top 100 in the Race for this year. Kyrgios could suffer the same demise with his sloppy practice work ethic. I can see him going into a Sock tailspin too. Then when he becomes desperate, he may not be able to right the ship, as Sock is failing to do this year. These two enigmas continue to intrigue.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 14, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Bobby, and the media doesn’t try to provoke Maria or Serena to do a new edition of the Battle of the Sexes, which would be a huge boon for tennis as look at how much people still talk about Riggs vs BJK. Imagine the media frenzy if McEnroe plays Maria or Serena in a big charity match. The media seems to be protecting the womens players from having to face McEnroe who has expressed interest to do that match many times.

  • catherine · June 15, 2018 at 3:45 am

    Oh please – never seems long on this site before we’re back to the men/women thing. The subject should have been banned in Scoop’s manifesto along with politics and religion 🙂

    End the argument: men and women do not play each other. And that’s it.

    Graf/Seles ? No answer to that. Steffi retired early because her body gave out. She was a very great player. My view – she might have had a good rivalry with Seles but Graf would probably have come out ahead because she had a more varied game and mental strength. But’s something we’ll never know.

    Bobby – it’s not that ‘this culture has a hard time with truth’. Women want and deserve respect for what they do. You’re out of date with that Navratilova/Connors stuff. Martina didn’t want to do it then (I remember the match)and was smart enough never to be tempted again. She recognised misogyny when she saw it, on court and off.

    And Scoop, as for your obsession with Serena/McEnroe, haven’t you noticed Serena is struggling to play on the women’s circuit ? Give the woman a rest. And I guess Maria would have the sense to say no.

    You also seem overwhelmed by Monica Seles – maybe because you see her as ‘feminine’ (and Steffi wasn’t ?). Feinstein’s book is ok, but he gets too close to players and I don’t think Hard Courts is as truthful as Mewshaw’s one on the WTA tour,and not as well written. Better natured no doubt.

    In England we were always a bit puzzled by Teddy Tinling’s popularity in the US. To us he was always a bit of a music hall character. He loved flamboyant women and, ok, ‘femininity’. He liked BJK in her Riggs days but wasn’t keen on Martina. He had his favourites. My old editor knew Teddy very well and used to play tennis with him. (I interviewed Ted myself just before he went to the US to live.)

    Ted called himself an eternal optimist, but his personal life was a bit distraught.

    However, no characters around these days like Ted. Which is a pity.

  • catherine · June 15, 2018 at 3:55 am

  • Dan Markowitz · June 15, 2018 at 8:40 am


    You’re wrong, the fascination of a Serena/Mac match goes beyond the male/female dynamic. For one, I don’t care to see a Mac/Maria match, but Mac/Serena is interesting on so many levels and would draw far more interest, in my opinion, than the first two women or men’s slams finals this year already. And here’s why, Mac and Serena are both such personalities.

    I know you hate that word, Catherine, and all it implies, but it’s true. Mac and Serena know how to pout, shout, cry and scold, especially Mac back in the day. That’s why Mac v Connors was always in my eyes, the more intriguing matchup than Mac v Borg. And maybe it’s because I’m in my 50’s, but I’m interested in seeing just how good a guy 59 can be? Can he beat the top woman in the game, in the history of the game?

    Even though we have Fed, Nadal and Serena still playing, they’re at the ends of their lines and popularities. Tennis needs a big spectacle match the way it needed it in 1977 to get international recognition and excitement and Mac v Serena would be it.

    That being said, It’ll never happen. If Serena was scared of playing Maria at the French, she’d never play Mac say in July at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

  • Hartt · June 15, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Raonic just won a tight match in Stuttgart against Berdych. It went 7-6, 7-6, although Milos won the 2nd set TB 7-1. What was striking was that Milos had 24 aces and a first serve % of 73%. Those are John Isner-type numbers. And of course Milos has a more rounded game than John. If Milos continues to serve like this (he had many aces in his 2nd match as well), he will be incredibly tough to beat.

  • catherine · June 15, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Dan, really, Serena is, as I said, struggling to stay in the women’s game, we don’t even know if she can come back consistently to the level she had before so I can’t imagine she’d be interested in playing John McEnroe. I think she’d prefer to be at home with her baby.

    And who said she was scared of playing Maria in Paris ? I don’t believe Serena’s ever been scared of playing anyone.

    You must be trying to wind me up – I’ve never said, or implied, that I don’t like ‘personalities’ – rather the reverse. I suppose you and I just have differences about who we consider ‘personalities’.

    And if you’re interested in how good a guy of 59 can be, why doesn’t he play other guys ? Then we’d really know. The truth is, Mac still wishes he was a player. He wishes he could go out there and be who he used to be. He wants to stop time.

    By the way, do you mean the King/Riggs match was played in 1977 ? I’m pretty sure it was 1973. And the 70s is over. A strange time, defeatist, creative and violent, but it’s over.

  • Joe Blow · June 15, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Can’t imagine that the WTA would have the power to stop a Serena/JMac match, but I would think they’d be crapping in their knickers,the chance Serena loses. Their “ product” would take a huge hit.
    Personally, I wouldn’t even watch it..Mac would be contractually obligated to say “ you cannot be serious” 5 times..

  • catherine · June 15, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Hartt – I’m pleased to see you’re following actual tennis being played- and Milos sounds as if he’s been working on his serve – is it a new coach ? For a guy his height a good serve is a natural you’d think.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 15, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Berd has been subpar lately but this kind of win could spark Raonic. This could be Raonic’s last chance to win Wimbledon.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 15, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Like Agassi said after he beat Blake in US Open five setter, tennis won. Tennis would win by staging a Mac and Serena event. Publicity, hype, buzz, drama, clash of characters, clash of eras, clash of egos…tennis would win if such an event took place and a new audience would become interested in tennis. Hey, it worked once, why not again? Kyrgios vs Lopez should be a good one today.

  • catherine · June 15, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Scoop – this match will never happen. The world’s changed. Let’s move with the real world as it is. This topic has worn itself out.

    At present the world’s eyes are on the football WC. Tennis is taking a back seat for the next few weeks.

  • Hartt · June 15, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Milos has always had a great serve, he has power, accuracy and variety. Generally, he is considered one of the best servers on the tour. But he was never an ace-machine like Isner (despite what some people seem to think), and he did not have the crazy first serve % that John often manages.

    I have to think that Goran Ivanisvic, who started coaching Milos a few months ago, has improved Milos’ serve even more. He had a big impact on Cilic’s serve when he was his coach.

    The other difference I noticed is that Milos is using serve and volley more. That will make some of the pundits, especially John McEnroe, very happy.

    I think one of the big issues for Milos is that in order to win, he must be very aggressive. But I don’t think that comes as naturally to him as it does, say Shapovalov. If Goran has been able to get him to be more aggressive when appropriate, Milos will be a dangerous player indeed.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 15, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Catherine, you may be right but it’s healthy and wise to talk about ideas and not always people and events that happen, it’s healthy to discuss ideas. And Mac vs Serena is a good, intriguing and fascinating idea. Fed edged Pella again, both of their matches have been on grass. Tomic wins again and is into the semis. Tsitsipas vs Gasquet on now.

  • Duke Carnoustie · June 15, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    No question Mac v. Serena would be a top, top sell and give the sport a tremendous boost – especially in America. This is where Mac excels – playing the heel and the villain. Gender rivalries are great for the sport and draw interest to it. It would be good to educate the public on how good these tennis players are as well. You could have Patrick coaching Mac and Venus coach Serena. I see it as an obvious win-win for both tours.

    Mac v. Serena would easily be the most-watched tennis match of the year. It is such a great idea and a pity it won’t happen.

    In Aussie news, we have a another Fed-Kyrgios showdown on tap. These two have done nothing but play TBs and you know Nick wants this one badly.

    The Tomic train also rolls on and he is into the semifinals.

  • Hartt · June 15, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Felix Auger-Aliassime won in SS, 6-3, 6-1, over a 21-year-old French player, Alexandre Muller, in the Lyon Challenger. Felix served well, getting 11 aces and winning 91% of first serve points. It is especially important for Felix to do well because he won last year, his first Challenger title, so he is defending 90 points. At his level in the rankings, that is a lot of points.

    The vet Gasquet won over the youngster Tsitsipas in den Bosch. Richard’s experience definitely made a difference.

  • Hartt · June 15, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Scoop, yes it is good to discuss ideas, but what is the point of going over the same thing again and again? Especially something that is never going to happen, like a match between Serena and JMac?

    I don’t agree that this would be an event with the same degree of interest as Riggs vs BJK. That was 45 years ago, for goodness sake! Times have changed, and the issues that surrounded that match aren’t the same. And of course Riggs was an amazing promoter and that played a role in the event’s success.

    If tennis in the US really needs that kind of circus to have popularity, it is in very bad shape indeed.

  • catherine · June 15, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Harrt – I agree of course and we seem to have been over this so many times that I can predict word for word what people are going to say.

    Osaka will play Barty in Nottingham semi which could be interesting.

  • Duke Carnoustie · June 15, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Well 45 years isn’t a lot of time. It’s around the same time as the Cold War and that show ‘The Americans’ is a major hit right now.

    I know many people who think Serena would beat the men on tour and the public at large is uneducated on this stuff. I think the women underestimate the stupidity of the public on this issue.

    We are in a world in which video game stars like Ninja are more popular than tennis players along with WWE villains.
    Women athletes have gotten great respect in other sports like fighting and tennis players deserve the same.
    Sports like tennis which are losing viewers need to compete with all these new entertainment options.

  • Duke Carnoustie · June 15, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Catherine is right. Everyone is talking the world cup and tennis is an afterthought.

    It is important to find ways to promote the sport before it dies off with video games, e-sports, Pokemon and other activities gaining steam among the younger generation.

  • Hartt · June 15, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Forty-five years is so long ago that Federer, whom some posters lovingly call “Grampa,” wasn’t even born then, and wouldn’t be for many years.

    If tennis needs a shot in the arm, then people need to come up with new, fresh ideas, not a rehash of the past.

  • Hartt · June 15, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    If Milos can win over Pouille, and I think he is the favourite in that matchup, and Fed beats Kyrgios, I will get my dream final in Stuttgart. 🙂

  • Joe Blow · June 15, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    Tommy Paul rumored to be in Witness Protection is now ranked higher than the Koz. Major free fall on Koz’s part

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