Women Tennis Five Sets Debate


To find advocates that have spoken out against the current arrangement that sees female tennis players play 3 sets while male players play five sets in Majors and their rationale for it in order to facilitate a creative idea.

Early Findings

  • One of the most prominent advocates that have spoken against the current arrangement that sees female tennis player play 3 sets while male players play five sets is Dr. Paul Davis, chairman of the British Philosophy of Sport Association. Dr. Davis argues that the situation is “unfair, outdated” and “indefensible”.
  • Dr. Davis further argues that the asymmetrical, sex-based arrangements in Grand Slam tennis are degrading to female tennis players — and arguably all females - and oppressive to male tennis players — and arguably all males."
  • Another prominent critic of the current system is Dr. Laura Hills, a senior sports lecturer at Brunel University. She argues that there is no scientific evidence that suggests that women can't play five sets.
  • Dr. Hills further argues that “sport has a long history of trying to imply that women are physically unable to do sports activities. Women's exclusion from these has traditionally been rationalized by claiming women were lacking in sufficient strength or stamina and that women were at greater risk of injury. This perpetuates the ongoing belief in male superiority by claiming women are incapable."
  • Some top female players such as Serena Williams and Maria Erakovic have stated that they would be willing and are capable of playing five sets, while some players such as Martina Navratilova and Maria Sharapova have argued that men's tournament should be reduced to 3 sets. Serena argued that "women are strong, ready, willing and able" to play five sets and that "all the women players have agreed to it, but it’s not what [the Grand Slam tournaments] want at this time.”
  • Andy Murray has also argued that women should play five sets as it would increase acceptance of equal prize money among male players.

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