Maria Sharapova calls for three-set Grand Slam matches for men

I’m a big fan of Maria Sharapova, and can’t help but reflect that since women who win the Wimbledon women’s title earn exactly the same as the men (although tickets much cost less, TV audiences are a fraction of the size…) and Maria has become phenomenally rich through the sport, she should be calling for women to play five sets, just as the men do – and at a much higher pace, without grunting every time they hit the ball. Not so. She’s calling for the men to play three sets rather than five. That’s gender equality in 2014.

The BBC report on the matter:

An excerpt:

Victoria Azarenka suggested at last year’s WTA Championships in Istanbul that three-set matches would be “more interesting” and this must no longer be seen simply as a riposte to male players who believe women should play five sets to justify the equal prize money introduced at all the Grand Slams since 2007. The demands of the modern viewer and the attritional nature of many of the men’s hard-court matches mean this is no longer a purely hypothetical debate.

The International Tennis Federation told BBC Sport last year that it was actively considering reducing Davis Cup rubbers to the best of three sets in the early rounds of the competition.

Sharapova agreed to speak to the BBC to mark Saturday’s International Women’s Day.

Inspiring Change is the theme for 2014 and the WTA Tour is held up as an example to those who are being urged to challenge “the status quo for women’s equality”.

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
  • I read that Sharapova thinks reducing the games to 3 sets will make the men’s game more appealing. I suggest she takes a look at the difference in prices for finals tickets (driven by demand) and the associated tv viewing figures before commenting on how appealing men’s tennis is compared to women’s.

  • All her arguments are clearly form the wrong perspective and she wants to make the more popular format emulate one that no one likes. 3 set matches can be over in less than an hour and a half, that’s really not much action for the spectators.

    There perhaps is a point about 5 sets potentially shortening careers, but surely the solution would be to eliminate them from say the qualifying rounds?

  • I’d like to see the evidence about 5 set matches shortening careers. Men regularly play until well into thieir 30’s and the average carerr length is 14.7 years for men and 15.3 years for women. I think the evidence suggests that it has very little effect on anyone’s careers. This is just an attempt to drag men’s sport down to the level of women sport, nothing more.

    • I’m inclined to agree. The impact would be to let more less able players go further in competitions – as Andy Murray’s point would suggest – and who wants that? The idea it would make men’s tennis ‘more interesting’ or ‘accessible’ to time-pressed sports fans is laughable. If I don’t have the time to watch a full 5-set match I simply start watching an hour (sometimes more) after the game’s underway. If I did that with the women’s game I’d miss some of the games altogether. As always this is about women wanting the same rewards as men, while making less of an effort.