As my girlfriend sat and endured yet another hour of U.S. Open coverage earlier this week alongside me, one of the commentators mentioned, in passing, how the women still only play best-of-three sets in the majors. This pricked up her ears, and she looked up from her laptop.
“Why don’t the women play best of five, too?”, she wondered aloud. “They’re just as fit as men, aren’t they? They’re even biologically built for endurance!”
“Well, because the depth of men’s…”, I started to mutter. I tried again. “Well, in some finals they used to…” Nope, that reason didn’t work either. I was stumped. I had been blindly accepting this state of things without taking a second to think it through. It caught up with me a day later while I was walking my dog. “Yeah,why the hell not?”
When long-time sports commentator Diana Nyad devoted her weekly radio post, The Score, to how the women need to earn it at the slams by also going best-of-five, I could do nothing but agree with her. (Take a listen.)
And while (Christian) conservatives, not surprisingly, say women don’t deserve equal money, period, the ones who are fine with the recent trend in leveling pay want the ladies to work:
This guy, despite expounding his views on iFeminists.com, says ladies better go five to earn their keep — otherwise they’re taking from the men’s pockets. And Random Ratiocination suggests it’s a non-issue, but its readers lean towards five sets.
Among the discussion boards, posters seem to agree. At Talk Tennis, MaximRecoil suggests that women getting equal prize money isn’t what the market bears, but rather what political correctness bears.
OK, ladies: let’s go five. What do you think? Tell us!
Michael Shaw is currently following the Open from his couch on the West Coast.