Belfast Telegraph

It’s game, set and match to the groaning feminist camp

By Kevin Myers

The fictions of the equality industry are never quite as ludicrous as they are in tennis, a sport infested with egalitarian mumbo-jumbo and feminist voodoo.

At least, at Wimbledon, chaps are still paid more than the girls. But how long before the stout bastions of the English Lawn Tennis Club fall to the assaults of abuse, whingeing and feminist curses that are the standard weaponry in all such sieges?

For any logic-based argument that demands gender equality in tennis is simply impossible, because all the evidence is spectacularly in the opposite direction.

That said, seldom has the difference between men’s tennis and women’s tennis been as dramatically illustrated as in this year’s Australian Open Finals, the prize money for which, men’s and women’s, is the same: A$2.3m (£1.6m).

The chaps’ five-set match lasted nearly six hours, before Novak Djokovic triumphed over Rafael Nadal. The ladies’ three-set match lasted one hour and 12 minutes, as Victoria Azarenka beat Maria Sharapova.

That is 353 minutes for the males to 82 minutes for the females, which even by my limited understanding of chronometry, is not quite equality.

One of the men’s five sets was actually six minutes longer than the entire match for the women. The two girls between them scored 99 points, which is 1.2 points a minute. The chaps scored 369 points, which is one point a minute.

Moreover, the average serving-speed of both men for all their serves, including their duds, exceeded the very fastest individual serve of each girl by between 20kmh and 30kmh.

The average speed of Djokovic’s second service was the same speed as the average speed of Azarenka’s first service. Which perhaps explains why there was just one ace for the entire match between the women, while the men scored 19.

Between them, the lads took the game to the net on 50 occasions; which is when it gets fast, furious and deadly. The lassies managed 15 net-contests.

The official computer readout — alas — didn’t have the total number of ball-strikes during a game, but it did have one related statistic. The wenches’ champion, Azarenka, is said to have won 47% of all rallies containing “two or fewer shots” — “fewer shots” being a nice euphemism here for one shot, though calling this a “rally” requires a certain terminological inexactitude. Djokovic, on the other hand, won 48% of three-to-eight shot rallies, which numerically merit the term.

Where the girls absolutely do win is in sexual allure, for both male and female spectators. Indeed, for decades, one of the main talking-points of wenches’ tennis has been their knickers.

Moreover, the lanky Russian Sharapova looks like a supermodel and every time she hits the ball she sounds as she’s having a deeply intimate experience, the sharing of which she has chosen, very kindly, to include in the overall cost of admission. As for Azarenka, no immediate image comes to mind.

However, when I’m in doubt about a she-player, I try to think of the Williams sisters: always a strangely pleasing picture.

Speaking of which, a couple of years ago, a Williams girl went one better than her peers, choosing to wear skin-coloured tights and no knickers, so appearing to be playing naked. Girls’ tennis suddenly became a far better place.

However, male tennis underwear is only ever of interest |to the shrieking tennis groupies, who presumably make the post-match showers just about tolerable for the chaps.

But remember where this |column started: the financial |travesties of last week’s Open, which actually happened in the former land of Diggers, men’s men who would refer to one another as ‘blokes’ and to women as ‘|sheilas’.

That, of course, was when Oz tennis players called Ken and Rod ruled the world.

But since then, Aussies have apparently been diluted into a bunch of politically correct diversity-loving San Franciscans, who not coincidentally have abandoned the word ‘bloke’ and instead refer to ‘guys’.

An Australian male tennis champion is now as likely as Germaine Greer, lap-dancer. So the sisters, presumably, would have had no problem bullying these antipodean wimps into accepting that 99 points over 82 minutes is worth the same as 369 points over 353 minutes and that a she-champ whose very fastest individual serve is 23kmh slower than the average speed of the he-champ’s should be paid the same as him.

And on Anzac Day, these spineless New Australians no doubt solemnly remember all the men and women who fell at Gallipoli.

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