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Serena’s Weight: Our Problem or Hers?

June 1, 2012
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Apparently we are talking about Serena’s weight. Again.

Until today, discussion around Serena’s first-round exit in Roland Garros had predominately revolved around her mental state and whether she was carrying an injury. But with just a hint of gossip the talk has twisted from the normal chitchat that occurs when a top seed crashes out early to whether Serena has become lazy and gained weight. A confident of Serena’s, (if that job is as it sounds, they’re failing at it), has claimed Serena gained weight after Charleston and wasn’t practising as hard she claimed.

A few months ago, Serena won Charleston playing what she considered some of the best tennis of her life. Then she came to Madrid and made short work of the competition which included two of her current rivals, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. Following Madrid – which was played on a pretty fast clay court – she headed to Rome where she withdrew due to a back injury. Serena claimed it was precautionary and she would head into Roland Garros fully fit.

It’s hard to imagine a top-seeded male, (particularly one in his 30s coming back from injury), having an early loss in a Grand Slam and gossip circulating around his weight. It’s also hard to imagine I’d ever be writing about a male tennis player’s weight or his assumed laziness. Especially after a series of victories in which he installed himself as the bookie’s favourite.

Serena pulled out of Rome with a back injury after winning back to back tournaments. She was then snapped getting treatment on her ankle in a couple of practise sessions. Serena admitted she was nervous and it’s clear the pressure for her to win a Slam post-injury is immense. Perhaps her back troubled her, perhaps the ankle, perhaps the mind. But I doubt very much it was an addiction to burgers and a lack of motivation.

If there’s an issue with how Serena looks, it belongs to the media and their preoccupation with women’s weight.

USA's Serena Williams runs to the ball as she plays France's Virginie Razzano during their first round match in the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Tuesday, May 29, 2012.

Photo credit: AP photos via Daylife

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Morgan permalink
    June 1, 2012 3:18 pm

    She looks a lot fitter than she has in the past year, when she came back after such a long layoff. Can’t we all give her credit for being out there at age 30, like *everyone* does for Federer?

  2. June 10, 2012 9:38 pm

    First, what Morgan said.

    Second, what you said about men very rarely being subject to this kind of scrutiny. Did we hear anything like this about Brian Blake, after him being away from the sport for years? No. All we heard was about his championship spirit, how great it was to see him again, how great it was to have him back.

    And all that is true — but I argue after life-threatening surgical complications that it’s true for Serena as well.

    Plus, a lot of these people are talking out of the side of their necks because they’ve never seen these athletes in person. I’ve seen Serena get out of a car escorting her to an event during a tournament – tall, slim, elegant, beautiful. Muscular, but not an ounce of “spare weight” like these people are talking about. They don’t know that Roger is so slim in person that if it weren’t for his shoulders, he’d look almost scrawny — even though he looks completely normal on TV. They talk about Rafa the same way – “thick”, “chunky”. Um, no. These people just don’t know enough about television to understand that the camera adds about fifteen pounds. *eyeroll*

    /rant

    P.S. Any luck yet finding that sweater of Serena’s from last year’s Wimbledon yet? 🙂

  3. Linda Barufaldi permalink
    August 29, 2012 6:06 am

    Thanks for your comments about women being pressured about their weight even when the woman may be the best tennis player now or ever. It’s a huge detriment to women’s health to be starving and yo-yo dieting. It comes from thinking women’s value comes from how we look rather than what we can think, do and be.
    BTW, the word is confidante not confident.

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