Originally Posted by Bengals1
There's a quote from Ana Ivanovic a few posts back where she said:
“Female tennis players have big egos, so it’s very hard for us to sit together. We get jealous easily.”
I've heard tennis announcers make similar claims while watching a WTA match. One color commentator pointed out how the men will hang out together off court, go out to clubs etc… but the women avoid each other and aren't particularly friendly toward one another off court.
I can't say I'm really surprised by this but I would like to hear more about it. Is there another thread on this forum or an article someone here can point me towards that explores this issue in a bit more depth?
As many tennis writers have noted, this is in part an exaggeration. I'd be interested to know the context behind the quote, and specifically what she was asked that elicited that response.
There's certainly a fair amount of heirarchy in the game, with younger/higher-ranked players pulling rank on younger/lower-ranked ones. But it's often noted, by sportswriters and players alike, that the amount of cat-fighting on the tour is far less than would be expected given the environment, and that some writers like to play the "jealousy" angle because it sells papers. No-one wants to hear that the players (for the most part) get along.
Part of the insularity that does
exist could probably be attributed in part to the fact that the women's players turn pro at younger ages, and are usually (therefore) accompanied by older relatives as they travel. In many cases, the parents are the ones who instill the "you have to hate them to win" attitude. Pierce and Capriati were perfect examples; they tried to be friends but their fathers refused to allow them to socialize for fear that it would blunt their competitive fires (and because Jim and Stefano hated each other).
Additionally, and on a related note, you have a higher percentage of introverts on the women's tour than on the men's. This is inextricably entwined with the previous discussion; turning pro at younger ages and keeping parents around keeps the girls from developing the ability to associate comfortably with their peers. Sure, they could do it when they were kids, but it's different with adolescents. At the ages the girls were supposed to be in high school, they were out clobbering tennis balls for a living, relating only to adults.
This isn't always true, of course. Most of the top Russian girls hang out together; Dementieva (the mother hen) and Kirilenko are the outsiders there. Even Sharapova has been welcomed into the fold a bit since playing Fed Cup. Hanutuchova routinely shows up when the players are asked who their friends on the tour are, as do Kuznetsova (the party animal) and Mirza. Sugiyama is very well liked. The ones that have bigger and more insulating entourages are the ones who tend to be loners.