Things We Learned on Day 12 of the 2015 French Open


1. First-time slam finalists are fun.

Lucie Safarova, French Open finalist. How fun is that? Watching Lucie beam after winning her last few matches in Paris has been so great to see, and part of what makes sports so amazing to follow. Emotions!! She more than backed up her big win over 2-time RG champ Maria Sharapova in the fourth round with straight set wins over Garbine Muguruza and now Ana Ivanovic and is now into the FINAL. There were nerves on both sides, streaks of amazing tennis from both and overall just an emotional roller coaster match between two players few would have chosen to make it far in Paris. Ana lead 4-1 in set one and failed to serve out the set, won by Lucie 7-5. The Czech then served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but threw in three double faults (one up match point! oops) before she was able to break and serve it out on her second attempt for the win. You gotta feel for Ivanovic, as this was a huge chance for her to advance to her first slam final since she won the French Open in 2008.

But Lucie. Look at the pure joy!

After her run to the Wimbledon semis this year, it’s great to Lucie take it a step further in Paris and even if she loses to Serena, just look at this run she’s had:

2. Twitter lessons via Tara Moore

Look, I’ve been a Serena Williams fan since she was 16 years old. I know she wears her emotions on her sleeve, and I am not going to lie and say it doesn’t bother me sometimes when her face is full of angst/desperation/despair during matches. However, she’s clearly been sick all week and was trying to battle that plus an extremely good opponent today in Timea Bacsinszky. Serena did look lethargic and was coughing a lot but she pushed through and started playing better to win. Serena only answered one question in the on-court interview with Cedric Pioline before she had a coughing fit and didn’t continue and she also canceled her press conference. No doubt she’s been ill for the past week.

However, midway through the second set today, this tweet appeared from Tara Moore, a British player ranked #401 on the WTA:

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 11.36.30 AM

I mean, I’m all for people having opinions, but tweets like this about a 19-time grand slam winner are brave. But a few months ago Moore tweeted something that ended with a #screwedoverbyWTA hashtag so keep on keeping on Tara! Her mentions are full of fun in case you want to be reminded about the perils of sharing an opinion online.

Here was a response to Tara from fellow British player Laura Robson: Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 11.59.35 AM 3. Serena Williams 

What more can you say about Serena? Playing just her fourth-ever French Open semifinal, she comes back from dropping the first set to a very tough Bacsinszky and wins the last 10 games to win. Some of my fave stats (and there are so many amazing ones) are her records in grand slam semis and finals.

This screen grab cracked me up today as Serena left the court.


Currently Serena is 19-4 in grand slam finals and now 24-3 in grand slam semis. That’s INCREDIBLE. Once she gets past the quarters, she has a 43-7 record. Talk about winning on the big stages. So on Saturday, Serena will try for her 20th slam (third in a row) and achieve something else rarely done:

4. Shoutout to doubles

I woke up after they were completed, but props to the amazing Bryan Brothers for advancing to yet another grand slam final! They’ll face Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo tomorrow with a chance to win a 17th men’s doubles title. The Bryans have won *just* two of their slams in Paris so they’ll be going for #3 here. Mike Bryan paired with Bethanie Mattek-Sands today to win the mixed dubs – what a fun team!

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 1.10.19 PM 2


5. Seriously?


1. Sorry, Ana fans. I am to blame.

I tuned into the first women’s semifinal a bit late, and there was Ana Ivanovic, looking cool as a cucumber, smacking winners and gliding around the court and generally seeming in control of everything. Then I tweeted this:

I should know better, you guys. And I’m sorry.

I’ll say this–it was a great, unexpected run to get to the semifinals, but the way Ivanovic faded away in the last hour of the match was disappointing. Is this her new ceiling? We’ll have to just wait and see.

2. Andy Murray, feminist.

Andy Murray wrote a column about being a feminist, and it is incredible.

They say I was plucky choosing Amélie, but truth be told, if anyone was plucky it was Amélie – she’s the one who’s taken the heat. Her competence was always under fire. I felt embarrassed. That’s why I made a point of repeatedly saying she was doing an excellent job. The real low point hit at the Masters when I lost 6-0, 6-1 against Roger (Federer, in London). Rather than blaming me, they pointed the finger at Amélie. I still remember what some players and coaches said about her – I wasn’t impressed and I shan’t forget in a hurry…

Have I become a feminist? Well, if being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then yes, I suppose I have.

I hate that it’s this big of a deal that a top male athlete is coming out in support of feminism, but it is. And yes, I teared up a bit reading that whole piece.

3. Longer thoughts.

If you care to, you can read my preview of the women’s final on Bleacher Report or my look at the men’s tournament without Rafa for Sports on Earth. You don’t have to, though. I still love you!

4. Take a bow, Timea Bacsinszky.

I hope that this is only the beginning of Timea’s career. I think that this could be the beginning of something incredible.

Plus, this little Swiss girl has class.

5. Everyone loves Lucie.

16 Responses

  1. Karen
    Karen June 4, 2015 at 8:02 pm |

    The worst part about Tara Moore’s tweet was the hashtag #learnhowtolose. Now we know why British tennis is the way it is seeing as someone is quite happy to give advice about giving up and not appreciate that you fight to the bitter end just so that you can look yourself in the mirror and know that you gave it your everything.

    1. Seth
      Seth June 5, 2015 at 8:35 am |

      I don’t think it’s fair to tar all of British tennis with the same brush just because one British player mouthed off. Players like Tara Moore and Dan Evans are the minority yet they manage to give all of British tennis a bad name, there are a lot of players who keep their head down, put the hard work in and try not just rely on wildcards come grass season.
      Brits are often mocked in tennis community, because the terrible press (although it’s not like it’s that much better elsewhere) and the few players like Dan Evans, and I think it’s a shame when it’s gets in the way of acknowledging the achievements of those who do actually put the work in instead of blaming others. Even a top 50 player like Heather Watson is often derided, the, admittedly few, times she beats a top player it was considered a terrible loss for said player with no acknowledgement for how well Watson played. Which isn’t the case for other players ranked similarly.

  2. anora
    anora June 5, 2015 at 1:31 am |

    RE: #2: Andy Murray, feminist – I have nothing against Andy Murray writing a piece in defense of his coach, but if you are dependent on a man for approval then aren’t you the sexist one? In other words, why are you so needy for a man’s approval of a female coach?

    1. cjb
      cjb June 5, 2015 at 3:50 am |

      I can’t understand your comment. Andy Murray was simply talking about some of the disparaging comments directed at Amelie and defending his choice.
      Fortunately in his public and private life Murray seems to have no problem with strong women. Judy must have done something right.

      1. anora
        anora June 6, 2015 at 1:50 am |

        What’s not to understand? Everyone gets so whipped up whenever Murray says something supportive of a women tennis coach, yet when Madison Keyes hires Lindsay Davenport all we get is “Meh, oh that’s nice.”

        Not exactly the same reaction is it?

        1. Amy
          Amy June 6, 2015 at 1:56 am |

          “Everyone gets so whipped up whenever Murray says something supportive of a women tennis coach, yet when Madison Keyes hires Lindsay Davenport all we get is ‘Meh, oh that’s nice.’ Not exactly the same reaction is it?”

          No, it’s not the same reaction. Why would it be? You think it’s the same for an ATP player to appoint a female coach as it is for a WTA player to appoint a female coach? It’s definitely not.

          I also don’t remember any commentary on our site that resembled “meh, oh that’s nice” on Keys teaming up with Davenport. You’ll have to send me a link to that to refresh my memory.

          1. anora
            anora June 6, 2015 at 2:17 am |

            “You think it’s the same for an ATP player to appoint a female coach as it is for a WTA player to appoint a female coach? It’s definitely not.

            So you are placing more weight on a man’s decision to hire a woman coach than a woman’s decision to hire a woman coach. THAT IS SEXIST! You don’t even see how sexist you are when you make that decision do you? As long as you decide that it is more important for a man to pick a women coach than it is for a woman to pick a women coach then YOU are the one who is giving the men the power. Why do you do this?

          2. Amy
            Amy June 6, 2015 at 2:28 am |

            My god, tone it down. If only you would get as outraged over actual sexism as you are about your fake invented version of it.

            I mean, it’s nice that you want to pretend we live in a world where an ATP player hiring a female coach is the same as a WTA player doing so. Obviously you don’t live in the real world where that’s 100% not the case, as evidenced by every single part of the media coverage and fan reaction.

            I’m not giving anyone power. If they have that power, it’s not because I gave it to them. I’m not going to pretend it doesn’t exist. Ignoring institutional sexism doesn’t make it go away.

    2. Amy
      Amy June 5, 2015 at 5:28 am |

      No, it’s not sexist to praise Andy Murray for writing about being a feminist.

      Sexism – prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.

      The ATP Tour (along with some tennis media), in large part, are a bunch of guys who see their version of tennis as superior to what women do. They constantly make stupid, offensive jokes about WTA players and the women’s tour.

      Women are being undercut at every turn. Tennis is one of the few sports where the women’s tour has popularity similar to the men’s side (ATP is now more popular, but the women were crushing them at one point), and I’m sick and tired of hearing gender-based insults in f@#$ing 2015.

      This happened in 2008: “Justin Gimelstob, 31, lashed out at former player Anna Kournikova – branding her a bitch – and described others as “sexpots” before claiming they had no social skills.”

      Toni Nadal and Rafael Nadal have launched an attack on the Spanish Davis Cup captain Gala Leon, not caring that the optics of attacking one of the first female DC captains may not look that great. (And dumb, because I think we all know that a potato could captain the Spanish DC team. These guys are elite singles players who don’t need someone to come in and tell them what to do. Here’s what you tell them: “win matches.” You do it year-round, so there’s no reason DC is any different.)

      Jo-Wilfried Tsonga questioned women’s ability to control their emotions while playing tennis at a press conference.

      John Inverdale was commentating for BBC on the 2013 Wimbledon final between Bartoli and Lisicki, and he said this about Bartoli as she won a Grand Slam title:

      “I just wonder if her dad did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14: ‘Listen, you’re never going to be a looker, you are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you’re never going to be 5-foot-11, you’re never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that.'”

      2008: Janko Tipsarevic: “99% of male tennis players can’t stand women’s tennis. There’s no other sport with such a big disparity concerning level of play and the money women make. A friend of mine says that a woman who wins a Slam should only earn enough money to pay for her airplane ticket home.”

      Being a female sports fan is exhausting sometimes. The constant little nasty comments bashing the WTA, the obnoxious things ATP players say, the equating of the word “tennis” to “men’s tennis,” but never saying “tennis” to mean “women’s tennis”. Men have a monopoly on the generic term for this sport. That’s messed up.

      As for Andy Murray, he is a breath of fresh air for women’s tennis fans. His mom is a tennis coach, so of course he grew up closely following the WTA Tour. He’ll live-tweet obscure WTA matches because he is a fan of women’s tennis. In a world where obnoxious ATP players feel the need to constantly bash the WTA Tour, yes, we’re going to praise the one guy who hired a female coach and calls himself a feminist. If the obnoxious comments from ATP players and media get discussed ad nauseum, then there’s no reason not to mention Murray and express gratitude for him setting a great example for other ATP players.

      Your comment seems to suggest that women are the only ones who can address sexism. That’s completely wrong. Men need to stop standing idly by and ignoring sexism because they think it doesn’t apply to them. Women should be driving the conversation, but sexism can’t be wiped out by ignoring half the people on earth. Sexism isn’t a women’s problem. It’s everyone’s problem.

      It sucks that Andy’s is a notable stance, but it really is. So we’re going to keep highlighting the wonderful things he does to try to address some of the rampant sexism in tennis.

      Andy was raised right. You don’t have to be a WTA player to appreciate what he’s doing. I think for many women, Andy is speaking their truth, too. He mentions people being much more critical of Amelie because of her gender, and this is something we see as women every single day.

      In many workplaces, if you’re a woman and you want to share ideas in a meeting, sometimes it feels like people aren’t even listening. They will talk over you and explain simple concepts to women, assuming that women couldn’t possibly be more knowledgeable than them. Women have to work harder to rise up the ranks, and there are not nearly enough women in leadership positions. Sexism is something many women deal with every single day of their lives.

      That includes myself. I work in politics, and sometimes it can be extremely tough to witness engrained institutional sexism. As a comms director, I have attended political events where people pass over talking to me, greeting my male intern instead, assuming he must be higher-ranked than me. It’s tough to deal with day after day. So I personally really appreciate Andy’s willingness to do his part to address this in his own realm of tennis.

      1. cjb
        cjb June 5, 2015 at 7:01 am |

        Amy – agree with your comment – I’ve been involved in and written about tennis for many years going back to the 70’s (not now except as an observer) and I can tell you the high hopes many women had in those early years have sadly not been fulfilled. There’s been progress, but not enough.
        Misogyny and related bigotries are alive and well in every area of life.

        So yes – Andy Murray should be praised and valued – men who are aware of sexism and combat it are rare enough in sport (or anywhere else but sport especially).

        1. Amy
          Amy June 6, 2015 at 12:57 am |

          Thank you. Yeah, it’s very frustrating to see it not improving quickly enough. I can imagine you’re even more sick of it than I am, having followed the game for many years.

          It is my hope that other ATP players will see the overwhelmingly positive response to Andy’s attitude, and it’ll inspire some of the others to follow suit.

  3. Patrick of La Verne
    Patrick of La Verne June 5, 2015 at 8:49 am |

    Loved the image of Timkerbelle and the comments about Andy and Lucie.

    And totally agree with Amy about the double standards in women’s tennis.

    When Djokovic trounces and opponent badly, it’s because he’s a great player; when Serena trounces an opponent badly, it’s because her opponents are weak. If Roger makes a stirring comeback in a match, he played bravely to overcome obstacles; if Serena makes a stirring comeback in a match, her opponent collapsed because of nerves. When John Isner, who’s a foot taller than Serena, hits a lot of aces, it’s good manly tennis; when Serena hits a lot of aces, some commentators almost lament that she’s taking unfair advantage of her superior power.

    One possible bright spot in the coverage at Roland Garros. I think I’m seeing women commentators, especially Martina, and perhaps others, covering men’s matches for this year than I have in the past. Previously, I think, Mary Carillo was the only woman allowed in that sanctum sanctorum.

  4. Sabey
    Sabey June 5, 2015 at 10:37 am |

    I am so pleased for Bacsinszky but what’s with the “little swiss girl” thing? Seriously she is a grown woman and a powerful athlete (almost 6′ tall). There is no little girl there.

    1. Lindsay
      Lindsay June 5, 2015 at 11:19 am |

      Just to clarify, I was quoting her words when I used that phrase–she referred to herself as that in her presser after her loss to Serena.

      You’re right, she’s an incredible athlete and a woman.

  5. Kristin
    Kristin June 5, 2015 at 2:12 pm |

    Amy, way to go with your comment! I loved Andy for his piece, I love Judy, I think she should get some kind of “Mother of the Year” award. It’s not easy raising a son (on or off the court). Sexism is everywhere, I find myself battling ideas my son picks up from the outside world. The problems are pervasive and especially difficult to combat when men reward each other with pats on the back or tacit silence. THAT is why it is ok and FANTASTIC that a man like Andy Murry is speaking up.

    1. Amy
      Amy June 6, 2015 at 12:52 am |

      Thanks, Kristin. I agree, I admire Judy for a lot of reasons. She has a great sense of humor, seems to be an excellent tennis coach, and most importantly did something right raising Andy. He’s always been positive towards the WTA, but now he’s started to voice some stuff that goes above and beyond, and that’s nice to see.

      He’s not ever going to be my favorite tennis player (I don’t love his playing style), but I will always like and respect him for choosing to speak up about things when almost every other man wouldn’t. I’ll always root for him.

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