Male tennis players have no reason to watch Serena Williams after U.S. Open loss

Despite there not being a match this week, and thus little to discuss between male players, there is still very little to say about the situation with the women’s tennis tour. A loss by Serena Williams in the second round at the U.S. Open this morning only added to the speculation surrounding the future of women’s tennis.

“It’s hard to explain — I think for most male players this is really hard to understand, but I think this is a case where with every subsequent event you have somebody questioning the integrity of the sport because something has gone wrong,” said Patrick McEnroe, the elder of the tennis brothers, speaking with The New York Times. “This is unprecedented and it’s really hard to comprehend. You don’t see that with men’s tennis, you don’t see that with Wimbledon.”

Unlike Andy Murray, who on Tuesday insisted that he and his fellow male players would not boycott the sport, Williams seemed to suggest that she might look to play only doubles in the near future. “You know what? I’m at a point where I don’t even want to think about it,” she said during an interview with NPR’s Scott Simon. “I’m like, ‘What’s next? What’s the most immediate goal for me?’ Because I know I can only play at this level if I’m right, and I just can’t do that, you know?”

Speaking to NBC Sports, McEnroe thought that the players could afford to sit out a Grand Slam (although she has an exemption to play in the doubles event, as men have an equal number of doubles matches per tournament, but they have only to play singles on a Grand Slam). But he also warned that the issue should concern both male and female players — the loss of Williams at the tournament, he pointed out, is like “a punch to the gut.”

For McEnroe, the point of no return is when the sport starts to take things too seriously. “It’s got to get to the point where it stops being funny and making you wince,” he said. “It’s got to get to the point that you can joke, and it’s got to stop being like, ‘Well, there goes Roland Garros again. They’re out of gas.’ ”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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