Wimbledon's Women Are Referenced One Way, Men Another

Some want to know why the marital status of female players continues to be cited
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2018 11:38 AM CDT
Wimbledon's Women Are Referenced One Way, Men Another
Serena Williams of the United States returns the ball to Bulgaria's Viktoriya Tomova during their women's singles match on the third day of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Mrs. JM Lloyd and Mrs. LW King aren't household names, but you likely know who they are. Those are the official monikers bestowed upon Wimbledon champs Chris Evert and Billie Jean King by the All England Club, host of the tennis tourney since 1877—a result of what the New York Times calls the club's "complicated relationship" with Wimbledon's female competitors, who are labeled under their married names on the club's champions board if they won the tournament while wed. That means Chris Evert is listed as "Miss CM Evert" for her pre-marriage 1974 win, but under her husband's name for her 1981 victory. The neutral "Ms." is never used, nor is "Mr." used for men.

Perhaps even more convoluted is the case of Serena Williams, who still goes by her maiden name after marrying Alexis Ohanian and who's referred to as "Mrs. Williams" by umpires when she wins a game; meanwhile, per the AP, her unmarried sister, Venus, gets a "Game, Miss Williams," while Roger Federer receives simply a "Game, Federer." It's an odd tradition that some complain is a gender inequity in need of change, while others simply shrug it off. "As long as I'm winning points and games, I'm all good," says Belgian player Yanina Wickmayer, who married Jerome van der Zijl last year. (More Wimbledon stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.