Despite the continuing positive impact of women in tennis, there are still some dissenting voices…
Tennis has always been one of the sporting frontrunners when it comes to equality between male and female players, particularly with equal prize money, something that not even the regular working world has quite caught up to in providing its male and female workers with equal wages.
The appointment of Gala León García as the first female captain of the Spanish Davis cup team is a hugely positive move for women in sport that shows it’s the best person, not necessarily the best man, who should be given the job. The 40-year-old former world number 27 hopes to bring the Spanish team back on to top form, after their surprise loss to Brazil in September had them relegated out of the World Group.
Andy Murray, currently coached by Amélie Mauresmo, tweeted his support for León García, hoping she would be the “first of many” women appointed to this role, but not everyone in the tennis world has reacted positively, with Rafael Nadal’s uncle and coach Toni suggesting on Spanish radio that a female captain would create problems in the dressing room.
After the media called Toni Nadal’s comments out as sexist, he attempted to defend himself by arguing that it wasn’t because she was a woman, but because she didn’t have a background in men’s tennis, she couldn’t possibly know enough about the players or the way men’s tennis works. It’s difficult to see how this opinion is not entirely based on León García’s gender, as how a woman is to get the experience in men’s tennis that Nadal desires without actually being a man, and without being able to take positions such as Davis Cup captain without said experience, is unclear. And nothing can explain away his worries about having a woman in the dressing room.
Gala León García took the media stir all in her stride, telling the media that she was not here to “star in a sexist debate” but to focus on bringing back the Davis Cup to Spain which, at the end of it all, is all that matters.
[Emma Ainley-Walker – @emaw23]