Women's Tennis Player Plays Like A Man, Says Women's Tennis Player

Illustration for article titled Women's Tennis Player Plays Like A Man, Says Women's Tennis Player

Oh no. Dominika Cibulkova lost to Australian Sam Stosur earlier today, and here's what she had to say about it:

I have to say that she played unbelievably today. Her topspin and her serve, I mean, she played like a man, and it's really hard to play against a man. It was driving me crazy on the court today. As a player, she's very fit. I'm not saying anything bad. I'm just saying she's playing like a man.


Oh, sure! Nothing bad at all. This isn't the first time Stosur has had to deal with this. Two years ago, (the usually quite bitter) Jelena Jankovic said the same thing:

To be honest, she has almost the game of a man. That's what it feels like.

Ladies, ladies. You should know better than to go cartwheeling onto women's tennis's third rail. The "man" critique is to the sport what the "playground" charge is to professional basketball—a commentary on style that speaks, in code, to some underlying (and ugly) antipathies within the game itself. Stosur is muscular! She's got a crazy kickserve and a lot of topspin off that forehand. How about ... she's "athletic"?

When Martina Hingis offered some choice commentary on Amelie Mauresmo 13 years ago—"She's half a man; she's here with her girlfriend"—it was really not good, but at least Hingis had the good grace to be unenlightened during the golden age of the women's game, when the sport was full of batty pro-wrestling-style plotlines. Now? You've got some grunting and you've got Sam Stosur playing Sara Errani in the semifinals (huh?). Bad timing, Dominika.