Raymond Moore Belittles WTA

Mar 20, 2016; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Victoria Azarenka (BLR) holds the championship trophy standing next to Serena Williams (USA) after the women
Mar 20, 2016; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Victoria Azarenka (BLR) holds the championship trophy standing next to Serena Williams (USA) after the women /

Victoria Azarenka scored a huge victory taking the title over Serena Williams in the finals of Indian Wells yesterday, but tournament director Raymond Moore stole the show with his comments about the women’s tour.

The 69 year old Raymond Moore was quoted as saying “Women’s players ride the coattails of men” and “if I was a lady player, I’d go down on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport.”

Obviously many former and current players took issue with Moore’s comment, but arguably the most intriguing statement came from Serena. In her post match press conference Williams was quoted as saying “I think Venus, myself, a number of players – if I could tell you every day how many people say that they don’t watch tennis unless they’re watching myself or my sister – I couldn’t even bring up that number. So I don’t think that is a very accurate statement. ”

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Moore’s quote about women thanking God for Roger and Rafa seems a bit extreme, but what I took from Mr. Moore’s original quote “women’s players ride on the coattails of men” was that he believed the men’s game was more entertaining than the women’s game. Serena’s quote wasn’t meant to, but it felt like it partially validated Mr. Moore’s opinion.

The men’s and women’s tour’s are polar opposite right now. The men’s game has never been deeper or more interesting. Yes, Novak Djokovic continues to set records, but I could pick out 10 guys that, if hot, could actually beat Novak on a given day. The same can’t be said for the women. There is 1 or arguably 2 ladies (Azarenka and Muguruza) on tour that can beat Serena if they play their absolute best. Sure upsets happen, like Vinci at the Open last year, but those are once a decade upsets.

We have to keep in mind that the majors are obviously the most watched events during the tennis season, and the men are playing much longer matches than the women. The women are playing 2 out of 3 sets like a normal tournament, but the men have to go 3 out of 5 sets throughout the tournament. Having to play longer allows the guys to build more drama throughout a match/tournament, allows the fan to connect more to a certain player game or personality, among a number of other things.

The other factor that really puts the men’s game ahead of the women’s right now is the young stars making their way up. The men’s tour has been blessed of late having young stars like Zverev, Kyrgios, and a number of other guys rapidly rise through the rankings. The women’s game had a few young stars pop up a couple years ago, but the only one that has consistently done anything of note has been Muguruza. Watching the young kids continue to develop on a week in and week out basis has been crucial for the men’s game lately. The thought of a young kid ready to come up and beat a legend such as Rafa, Novak, or Federer, has made for much more interesting matches on a consistent basis.

The final and most important reason why the men’s game feels more interesting is the men are just more athletically gifted. I understand a lot of women will take offense to that statement, but the fact of the matter is that the men are miles ahead of the women athletically. For instance, Serena features the best serve in the women’s game topping out near 120 MPH, but that is just an average first serve for the majority of men inside the top 50. The men’s game has a number of huge servers headlined by Raonic and Isner who consistently crank the first serve over 130 MPH, and sometimes over 140 MPH. The guys are also hitting the ball much harder and with much more spin off the ground. For instance, Rafa Nadal has one of the greatest weapons in the history of the game with his whipping forehand, and I struggle to think of something in the women’s game that is close to comparable to it.

Next: Indian Wells Finals Previews and Predicitions

Moore was wrong about his comment involving Rafa and Roger because the women have their own superstars, but his theory that the men’s game being more entertaining at the moment isn’t exactly a stretch.