Why can female tennis players get away with being ..


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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby jeremyp » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:19 pm

batonless relay wrote:
jeremyp wrote:
gh wrote:changing subject slightly, since nobody else (shockingly) has brought it up, but what an awesome men's final!

the post-match stuff was worth half a box of kleenex all by itself!

Being half Brit and being married to a Brit we almost missed this. I was trolling web and saw: "Djokjovic in control of 2d set" and turned it on and we watched the last set and, more importantly that OMG last game. 77 freaking years? Imagine if we (Yanks) had waited that long to win The America's Cup!!!

Americ'as Cup isn't nearly as dear to Americans as Wimbledon is to Brits. Now if that were the Masters or the US Open...

Now it turns out to be the men who hadn't won for 77 years. A woman won 36 years ago, Virginia Wade? Let sexism prevail. :shock:
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby 26mi235 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:09 pm

Mary Cain, a very good middle distance runner where excess weight is a killer, does not look all that 'lean and mean'. On women, the appearance can be deceiving.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby mump boy » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:02 pm

Marlow wrote:
mump boy wrote:Next time someone comments on Francena McCroroy's or Christophe Lemaitre's bad form i'll remember this. Apparently we're no longer allowed to comment on anything we for fear of having a 'personal aesthetic' !!

How is commenting on someone's biomechanics the same as talking about how fat they look?
For someone who has usually shown himself to possess a higher consciousness (that's a huge compliment, by the way), you sure seem to be hung up on body types.


It exactly the same

Being 'fat' is not usually conducive to great sporting performances however you'd like to spin it. It is an entirely appropriate topic for discussion

Why comment on someone's biomechanics just because they don't fit with your 'personal aesthetic ?

I don't remember Michael Johnson's unorthodox running style doing him any harm, despite the amount of discussion it provoked.
Last edited by mump boy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby mump boy » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:04 pm

26mi235 wrote:Mary Cain, a very good middle distance runner where excess weight is a killer, does not look all that 'lean and mean'. On women, the appearance can be deceiving.


She is also a teenager and i do think that such discussions are inappropriate, which is why i didn't include a certain teenage tennis player who has hit the headlines for exactly this reason recently.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby kuha » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:19 pm

mump boy wrote:Being 'fat' is not usually conducive to with great sporting performances however you'd like to spin it. It is an entirely appropriate topic for discussion


From what has already transpired here, that appears to be false.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby uakari » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:23 pm

jeremyp wrote:Now it turns out to be the men who hadn't won for 77 years. A woman won 36 years ago, Virginia Wade? Let sexism prevail. :shock:


i know... i kept hearing/reading "first brit to win wimbledon in 77 years" -- oh you mean, first brit with the XY chromosomes...

as for fat female gymnasts -- are you sure you are not confusing bulkiness with muscle?
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby bushop » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:28 pm

Seems like the more complex the skill set the less physical talent is required to compete at the highest levels.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Marlow » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:47 pm

bushop wrote:Seems like the more complex the skill set the less physical talent is required to compete at the highest levels.

??!!
Pole Vaulting is the most complex skill set in T&F and the very best are indeed extremely physically talented, which includes some 'bulky' athletes.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby bushop » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:53 pm

Marlow wrote:
bushop wrote:Seems like the more complex the skill set the less physical talent is required to compete at the highest levels.

Pole Vaulting is the most complex skill set in T&F and the very best are indeed extremely physically talented, which includes some 'bulky' athletes.

Could it be said that one can have excellent technique but if you can't flat out sprint you're not world class?
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Vielleicht » Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:45 pm

bushop wrote:
Marlow wrote:
bushop wrote:Seems like the more complex the skill set the less physical talent is required to compete at the highest levels.

Pole Vaulting is the most complex skill set in T&F and the very best are indeed extremely physically talented, which includes some 'bulky' athletes.

Could it be said that one can have excellent technique but if you can't flat out sprint you're not world class?

I think so, there seems to be a baseline of required physical talent so to speak in any sport in order to be an elite athlete, to which the complexity of the skill set is an irrelevant variable; and in the world of athletics, no matter what the event is, this baseline is usually very, very high.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby bushop » Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:52 pm

Vielleicht wrote:
bushop wrote:
Marlow wrote:
bushop wrote:Seems like the more complex the skill set the less physical talent is required to compete at the highest levels.

Pole Vaulting is the most complex skill set in T&F and the very best are indeed extremely physically talented, which includes some 'bulky' athletes.

Could it be said that one can have excellent technique but if you can't flat out sprint you're not world class?

I think so, there seems to be a baseline of required physical talent so to speak in any sport in order to be an elite athlete, to which the complexity of the skill set is an irrelevant variable; and in the world of athletics, no matter what the event is, this baseline is usually very, very high.

Agreed, but those baselines differ.
Even in tennis the skill set, and baseline of physicality, for the genders differs.
Men's game relies on big serves, women rely on long volleys, different skill sets.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Master Po » Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:45 pm

Nice essay on this year's Wimbledon, and appreciation of Bartoli:

Grantland, 8 July
Louisa Thomas, "On Marion Bartoli, a Perfect, Weird, Wimbledon Champion"
http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-trian ... n-champion
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby lapsus » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:35 pm

Pretty ludicrous to say Bartoli is not fit, she gets around the court quite quickly... don't think she is "fat", either, just that the Stosurs of the world have made the ultra-cut, visibly-muscular physique seem normal (for a 170-175 cm player) - and also that there are lots of 180+ cm players around who have a completely different body shape.

Bartoli probably has a quite similar body fat % to, say, Ivanovic in her Grand Slam winning days, it's just that she's shorter and not "hot". You may have noticed that Ivanovic has gotten very thin recently, but her performances have not improved - it is the mental side of the game that is letting her down.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Per Andersen » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:43 pm

Different sports have different requirements. Maradona and Messi and Rooney for that matter. Do they look like super athletes?

But let's stick to tennis. Borg and McEnroe. Who looked like an athlete? And who chased Borg out of the game?
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby batonless relay » Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:57 am

Right now I'm thinking of 4 women of Track and Field; all retired; all NCAA individual Outdoor Champions; all Olympic team members who became even better athletes AFTER they had already been world ranked ... [partly] by losing weight. 21 WC or Olympic medals between them.

I can't speak for everyone else, but what I'm saying is that MANY, if not most of these tennis players WOULD possibly be better with a little (lot?) less pudge. A 31 year old woman quite possibly wouldn't be dominating tennis! The 2nd best woman in tennis MIGHT have beaten the #1 in the last 9 years! It's not just the fat ones, it's the skinny ones, too! Why are some of you assuming that they're being coached to the best of their ability? They're just not that well trained. And, this isn't new. Martina Navratilova was an incredible tennis player BEFORE she reformed her body. She wouldn't be "fat" for the average woman walking the street, but she was if she were to measure herself against the best athlete she could be. Just because some of these athletes who are being described as fat can "get away with carrying a little extra" and still be world class doesn't mean that they couldn't be better if they lost a few pounds.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Daisy » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:03 am

Master Po wrote:Nice essay on this year's Wimbledon, and appreciation of Bartoli:

Grantland, 8 July
Louisa Thomas, "On Marion Bartoli, a Perfect, Weird, Wimbledon Champion"
http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-trian ... n-champion

And yet the amount of hate out there is stunning.
http://publicshaming.tumblr.com/post/54 ... oli-deemed

I don't 'twitter' but if that is representative of the noise out there, it's not worth it.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Master Po » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:08 am

^ Agree w you, Daisy. Part of my reason for posting that article -- I thought it was a well-written, insightful appreciation of what happened at Wimbledon this year (with a focus in this instance on Bartoli). A small tonic for a lot of the entirely depressing "public discourse" that's out there. :( :)
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Marlow » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:09 am

Daisy wrote:I don't 'twitter' but if that is representative of the noise out there, it's not worth it.

Agree 100%. If I want hatas hatin', I can go here! :evil:
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Daisy » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:19 am

Master Po wrote:A small tonic

Let's make it go a long way.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:42 am

Per Andersen wrote:But let's stick to tennis. Borg and McEnroe. Who looked like an athlete? And who chased Borg out of the game?

I never thought of either one of them as being overweight. As matter of fact, I can't think of any male tennis player that I would consider fat. It seems that only women tennis players can get away with carrying extra weight. But that's with sports in genral, not just tennis.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Marlow » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:04 am

McEnroe was a scrawny little twerp, something Murray has also been characterized as. Non-athletic-looking world-beaters have always been around. We can't all look like Bob Seagren! :wink:
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby marknhj » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:19 pm

Marlow wrote:McEnroe was a scrawny little twerp, something Murray has also been characterized as. Non-athletic-looking world-beaters have always been around. We can't all look like Bob Seagren! :wink:


Murray certainly isn't a scrawny little twerp these days. As an aside, I heard on TV that his track sessions include 10 x 400m and 20 x 100m with short recovery. I think male tennis players have to be among the fittest athletes in any sport.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby jazzcyclist » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:13 pm

Answer to the OP: lack of parity and depth compared to the men
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby TN1965 » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:46 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:I never thought of either one of them as being overweight. As matter of fact, I can't think of any male tennis player that I would consider fat. It seems that only women tennis players can get away with carrying extra weight. But that's with sports in genral, not just tennis.


Both Becker and Agassi frequently showed up in major tournaments at least 10 pounds overweight. Of course, they didn't win those majors when they were overweight. Philippoussis would have done better if he had been a little lighter. Among the current top players, Del Potro could afford to lose a little weight without losing much of his power.

And then, there was Henri Leconte...
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby TN1965 » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:54 pm

I forgot to add David Nalbandian and Marcos Baghdatis. Both Grand Slam finalists.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Per Andersen » Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:01 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:
Per Andersen wrote:But let's stick to tennis. Borg and McEnroe. Who looked like an athlete? And who chased Borg out of the game?

I never thought of either one of them as being overweight. As matter of fact, I can't think of any male tennis player that I would consider fat. It seems that only women tennis players can get away with carrying extra weight. But that's with sports in genral, not just tennis.

My point, of course, was that Borg looked and moved like a super athlete and McEnroe did not, and after Wimbledon in 1981 Johnny Mac had Borg's number.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:23 am

Per Andersen wrote:My point, of course, was that Borg looked and moved like a super athlete and McEnroe did not, and after Wimbledon in 1981 Johnny Mac had Borg's number.

Well, I think history has shown that in finesse sports like basketball, tennis and soccer muscularity is not a prerequisite for greatness, but being fit and not overweight is, at least on the men's side. Women's tennis is similar to baseball in that you can be overweight in both sports and still be great.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Vielleicht » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:39 am

Talking about overweight but great players in association football, Ronaldo was still very sharp and lethal when he played for Real Madrid, though he was visibly plump and not optimally conditioned; because he was just so good that he could get away with the loss of coverage and short burst. And in his later years at the same club Puskás was definitely very overweight and not mobile, he nevertheless maintained an excellent scoring record...that was a totally different era though.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby 26mi235 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:41 am

bushop wrote:
Marlow wrote:
bushop wrote:Seems like the more complex the skill set the less physical talent is required to compete at the highest levels.

Pole Vaulting is the most complex skill set in T&F and the very best are indeed extremely physically talented, which includes some 'bulky' athletes.

Could it be said that one can have excellent technique but if you can't flat out sprint you're not world class?


The vertical jumps rely much less on raw speed than the horizontal jumps. Yes, the more speed the better, but not to the detriment of transferring the kinetic energy into the pole and then holding at the right height with an unbent arm, ... I do not know of a pole vaulter that has enough sprint speed to race on the flat and they rarely even do the horizontal jumps. Some of the decathletes probably have the best sprint speed of all vaulters and some of them are pretty fast and good vaulters. However, the speed nexus is the 100/110h/LJ/400 not primarily the PV runway speed. [I think Bubka is thought to be among the fastest vaulters (duh) and I think Lavillenie looks faster than others...]
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Blues » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:24 pm

It may have been mentioned already, but due to gender differences women also have higher normal body fat percentages than men. That helps account for a possibly softer look in women as compared to men in the same sport, and can account for a woman having a harder time becoming as "cut and defined"... Obviously other hormonal differences play a part as well. And in the case of individual athletes, individual genetics and metabolism play a significant role in normal body composition too.

http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/e ... d-body-fat
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby jackbean » Mon Sep 16, 2013 6:37 am

Great topic :roll:
Being strong and fit doesn't necessarily mean being toned. Mump Boy's physique - ha! No, really, you're not world class are you? Being on this forum so often didn't give it away.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby scottmitchell74 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:17 am

I somehow missed this thread the first time around.

I get what mumpboy is saying. World class sprinters, wide recievers, long jumpers, defensive backs, gymnists, etc...have a certain general body fat % that's almost a requirement to the sport. NFL running backs (with the exception of Bettis, who I think would have still been a very big man and more effective 20 pounds lighter) are lean, muscular men.

Tennis is also a high movement sport so I've often been struck with the same notion mumpboy has. Some of the women seem to be in less than optimal condition, yet excell. It's interesting to me.

I think it should be noted that it's no coincidence that the last year has been Serena's best, at an advanced tennis age, because she's in the best condition of her life. She's very muscular and lean and it shows on the court with her performance.
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Re: Why can female tennis players get away with being ..

Postby Blues » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:14 am

This may have been said before, but in addition to genetic and hormonal differences between men and women (and women and women) that I mentioned earlier, there are a handful of reasons why top tennis players may not always appear to be chiseled with defined muscles. Many of the best natural (and most athletic looking) athletes compete in other sports. Those who do choose to try to excel in tennis have a better chance of progressing to the next level if they (or their parents) can afford expensive tennis lessons, which can rule out many talented athletes who have potential.

And in tennis, only a small percentage of the talent and ability that determines success involves maximum mobility to get to the ball, and maximum endurance. Just as important, if not more important, are being able to hit hard and accurately and to have exceptional hand-eye coordination, to have excellent shot placement and a mastery of various shots, and to have the knowledge and wisdom to anticipate what your opponent is going to do and to determine your opponent's strengths and weaknesses. Athletes who are superior in those aspects can still be more successful in tennis than athletes who can move quicker or who have better endurance due to lower body fat... The type of surface that a tennis match is played on (hard, grass, clay) makes a difference in the chances for success of a particular athlete too.

Because of those things, it's possible that an athlete who may not be in top physical condition or be the most mobile athlete can keep winning, at least until she routinely has to play against the Serena Williams types who may have even more of the traits that make up an outstanding tennis athlete. But what a tennis player can do with the ball once it reaches her racquet, and her ability to anticipate what her opponent can and will do, could allow an athlete who appears to be in slightly inferior physical condition to still dominate in the sport.
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