Federer, Djokovic win on controversial day at French Open

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic earn places in the last 16 at Roland Garros after respective four-set victories on Friday. Headlines were also made by Ernests Gulbis and a women’s match between Angelique Kerber and Daniela Hantuchova.

Roger Federer is through to the last 16 at Roland Garros after holding off Dmitry Tursunov 7-5, 6-7(7), 6-2, 6-4 on Friday. Federer became the first man to reach the French Open fourth round on 12 occasions. He is joined there by Novak Djokovic–a four-set winner over Marin Cilic–and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who thrashed Jerzy Janowicz in straight sets.

“At the start of my career, clay was not my favorite surface,” Federer reflected. “I got my best results in indoor courts or hard courts, so people thought at that time that I was only a fast-court player. But that’s not the case, so I’m very happy with this record, and I’m enjoying it.”

Next up for the 32-year-old Swiss is Ernests Gulbis, who was at the forefront of a controversial day in Paris. Gulbis destroyed Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in less than two hours, saving the drama for the press room. When asked if he wanted his two younger sisters to become professional tennis players, the Latvian delivered this:

“Hopefully they will not pursue professional tennis career. Hopefully. Because for a woman, it’s tough. I wouldn’t like my sisters to become professional tennis players. It’s tough choice of life. A woman needs to enjoy life a little bit more. Needs to think about family, needs to think about kids. What kids you can think about until age of 27 if you’re playing professional tennis, you know. That’s tough for a woman, I think.”

Speaking of women, No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska went down to Ajla Thomljanovic. For the first time in any of the four Grand Slams during the Open Era, every one of the top three women’s seeds is out prior to the fourth round.

But perhaps an even bigger story came in the the Angelique Kerber vs. Daniela Hantuchova match, when the chair umpire incorrectly awarded a point to Kerber. A shot by the German had been called out, to which Hantuchova responded by hitting back over the net, in the court of play. The mark showed the ball to be in, however, and for no apparent reason, Kerber was given the point.

66 Comments on Federer, Djokovic win on controversial day at French Open

  1. Gulbis getting the “sexist” tag is unfair, and your comment on him going on a “crusade against women” is way too harsh, unless you were joking. The comments were made in response to a question about his sisters, and it’s his right to express what he wishes for them. It’s not like he’s saying women shouldn’t be allowed to play or should all retire at 27.

    You’re right about the call in the Hantuchova match — absolutely horrendous. Kerber’s lack of sportsmanship is beyond pathetic, and you just hope the French Open does the right thing and removes the umpire for the rest of the tournament.

    • oh i agree with you. this should be close to a non-story.

      so ridiculous how big it has gotten

      and yes, “crusade against women” was a joke.

  2. “Needs to think about family, needs to think about kids.” This bit apart, rest of Ernie’s homily is quite understandable, and quite similar, even, to my view that the gentler sex can work if they like but they don’t have to. Anyway, a bit inarticulate and symptoms of foot in mouth disease. 3 racquet smashes out of 5.

    A positive spin on the hopeless umpiring in the Hantuchova match: Thank God this kind of a shocking decision didn’t materialize in last year’s mens final. Along with Novak’s appalling knowledge of tennis rules, it would have been a disastrous combination.

  3. Same thing. His generic statements begin with ” A woman needs to enjoy life a little bit more. Needs to think about family, needs to think about kids. What kids you can think about until age of 27 if you’re playing professional tennis”

    He doesn’t continue with referring to his sisters. He starts talking generically.

    #IdoiticStatement

  4. ^^ “the gentler sex can work if they like but they don’t have to???” Or Ernie’s comments, “needs to think about family, needs to think about kids.” Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. Millions of women don’t want to marry or have kids. The point is, women’s options should be the same as men. There’s some irony in the fact that Ernie’s next opponent is Roger, the father of 4, and Fed is being praised throughout the world as someone who knows how to balance life and work. I’m retired now, but when I graduated from college and applied for work in what would become my lifelong profession, it was completely male dominated. In my interview, I had been asked things like, would I be having children, what does my future husband think (I was engaged at the time), and so on. We had to be 10 times as good at our jobs and the scrutiny was non-stop. What Ernie says as a born-to-wealth professional tennis player is of little consequence, but the underlying philosophies and perspectives that accompany those statements are commonly felt by many in the normal workplace arena and result in subtle and sometimes not so subtle discriminatory practices.

    • @jpacnw

      When I say “the gentler sex can work if they like but they don’t have to”, it does mean that women should have exactly the same options as men. If my lady will want to work, I’ll be thrilled to support that but she won’t have to if she doesn’t want to. Call me old-fashioned but I think I ought to be able to take care of her.

    • Jpa: I experienced the exact same cross examination in the early 60s. I had to give an undertaking I wasn’t planning to get married before being offered the position of press officer for a major children’s charity.

      Your point ‘We had to be 10 times as good’ also resonated with me. Somewhere I still have the letter of reference from that organisation which starts: ‘for someone of her age and sex Miss G is exceptionally able’. Duh. No wonder we took to the streets in protest.

      • Ed: Our experiences were commonplace. Discrimination today is far less blatant and there are myriad laws and regulations in force that govern employment hiring practices and workplace conditions, but attitudes and cultural conventions take more than a generation or two to change. It will continue to be an evolving process.
        (Ricky, I’m done preaching now).

  5. @jpacnw,

    Brava! Well said! What is disturbing is the underlying belief that somehow women are different and can’t have a career and maybe kids when they wish to do so. Of course, there are women who may not want to get married or have kids. Gulbis is propagating a patriarchal sensibility that seems quite out of touch in the 21st century. Women have had to work twice as hard to prove themselves, have had to put up with all kinds of discrimination and getting paid less for doing the same job.

    I remember when I started working, there were people who actually told me that I was taking a job that could have gone to a man. I was asked questions about my personal life in interviews that would never have been asked of men at that time. I can remember employers asking questions related to the possibility of a woman being pregnant. Then they wouldn’t hire you. There was no maternity leave, no laws against sexual harassment, nothing to protect women’s rights. Even today women are not equally paid for doing the same work as men.

    The unfortunate truth is that Gublis is putting forth the kind of philosophy and social order that has caused women to be second class citizens. That’s why it’s a big deal.

    • NNY: Did you by any chance turn out for the great march on 5th Avenue? I was working in NY at the time and will never forget the exhilaration and excitement of taking part. A lot has changed since then but sadly the discrimination still continues albeit in a more subtle form.

      • @ed,

        I am trying to remember now. When I was in New York I lived in the suburbs. I didn’t live in the city. But I commuted often into the city. I know what you are talking about. I was an activist even back then. I have been involved in women’s rights all my life.

        So you were really there? Amazing! We both could have been there, but didn’t know each other!

    • I want to know who were the five votes for – entirely accurate! This is the problem. It’s an attitude that women should be second class citizens. Even with all of the progress, we are not there yet. It is true that the discrimination has gotten more subtle over the years, but it’s still there.

      Gulbis should be encouraging his sisters to do whatever they want in life. What makes them happy, fulfills them as people. He has such a stereotypical view of what a woman’s life should be. If his sisters want to play tennis, then he should support them. So what if they play until 27 or later and don’t have kids! There’s still plenty of time after they are done with tennis. Why would he want to narrow their choices? That’s what bothers me.

  6. The article:
    —Federer became the first man to reach the French Open fourth round on 12 occasions.—

    Reaching the fourth round is certainly a huge achievement! 😆

  7. Gulbis only commented on the impact on life that women professional tennis players have to deal with saying it’s not what he would wish on his sisters. I agree with him. It’s a point I have often made myself. He did not say anything about equal pay or equal rights for women. Indeed, female tennis players have nothing to complain about when it comes to equality in the work place.

  8. Nadline: Off topic for a moment. A couple of days ago you* mentioned a site which displays all the data during a match in a single click. I’ve forgot to note it at the time and now cant trace which thread it was on.

    *at least I think it was you!

  9. Kim Clijsters skipped two years because of her first child and retired again due to her second child. Federer skipped only one (!) tournament because of his babies – the Madrid Masters. That’s the difference between female and male players. So, Erni is right that female tennis players face tough choices.

  10. Just because female tennis players face tough choices, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t play. Women have always faced tough choices in the workplace. That’s what makes us strong. I remember watching a video on the tennis channel about the great Margaret Court. She wanted to have children and managed to do it and still keep playing. That was back in the day when it was unheard of for a woman to have children and then come back and play tennis. But she did it!

    TheGulbis may have been talking about his sisters, but he described a life without real choices for them. That’s not fair in any sense of the word. Women have shown that they can do jobs that were once relegated solely to men, like being police officers, firefighters and even serving in the military. They have acquitted themselves well. So why should any young woman feel that her life should be limited because she must have children at a specific age or because her chosen career might be tougher than it would be for a man? That’s what it’s supposed to be all about – letting a woman make her own choices as to the life she wants to live!

  11. Okay, I will get off my soapbox now, but honestly I could write a blog about this subject!

  12. Gulbis said it’s not a life he would choose for his sisters. I married early immediately after leaving university and had my children straightaway. Consequently, i did not start work until 12 years after I qualified, and that was a choice I made with which I am very happy to this day. But, it’s a choice. Had I followed the career path I may not have enjoyed the same quality of life.

    There are women who prefer the satisfaction of a career to having a family early or not at all. There is no right or wrong in it. Gulbis simply answered a question. As augusta said, having children does not impact on men as it does on women. It’s a fact of life.

  13. Virginia Wade just corroborated what I said, that if it’s the player’s choice to choose tennis over having a family early it’s OK, but if they are being pushed by parents or other influences then it’s not.

    • When my daughter was pregnant with her first child she tentatively asked what would I say if she decided to give up her very good job to be at home with her first child. She was surprised when my response was “thank goodness for that”. Having always had to juggle family life and a career I knew how great a strain it can be and the price to be paid. I think today there is too much pressure on women to ‘have it all’. That might sound odd coming from someone who has just admitted to marching in the first Women’s Liberation demonstration 🙂

      I should make it clear, I’m talking about people in a position to make a choice.

  14. Now the commies are saying that Djoker has a difficult path to the final. They started off talking as if the rest of the draw was irrelevant that if was all about who beat who in the final between Rafa.

    Djoker himself keeps saying he’s got a lot of confidence because he beat Rafa in Rome virtually dismissing every one else thinking they can both just sleep walk their way to the final Rafa never makes such assumptions; in the days of Fedal, he used to say he wasn’t thinking about Federer because they could only meet in the final and he had a tough draw to go through.

  15. The word that comes to my mind when I listen to Gulbis is conceit. Gulbis is a conceited young man. Yes, he was asked a direct question about his sisters. No, he did not have to respond in the manner that he did. He is not a woman tennis player. What does he know about the lives and choices of female tennis players, or any woman for that matter?

    Yes he is entitled to his opinions, including some which just betray what an ass he is. Gulbis belongs to that genre of men who subliminally think they know what is good for other people, never mind women. He is no different from men who “hope” their sisters don’t marry a certain man, or don’t “dishonor” the family (ie, them), or their hemlines are not too far up the thigh.

    He thinks he is better, but he isn’t. #Conceit.

    I hope his sisters are smart enough, independent enough, strong enough, comfortable enough in their own skins to allow him his opinions, smile and go ahead and make their own life choices anyway!

    • rafaisthebest (at 11:49 am)
      —I hope his sisters are smart enough, independent enough, strong enough, comfortable enough in their own skins—

      Don’t worry! Gulbis & sisters live in the country where women have been independent for a long time.

      • In 1999 – 2007, Latvia had a female president (Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga).
        Currently, Latvian government is led by a female prime minister (Laimdota Straujuma).

  16. What about Tsonga saying women can’t play consistently well because of their monthly cycle?

    • ^^Just like Gulbis, he needs to stop opining about things he knows jack about. Has Tsonga ever had a period?

      • It’s all part of the male “power and control” game, people. Remember the saying, “knowledge is power?” Well, if you appear to know all about everybody, you have power over them, innit? When did you last hear about a woman opine about men’s choices? Please let me know when you come across one………..

        It’s men (like Gulbis, Tsonga) who KNOW what choices a woman should make in her life, poppycock. Thank goodness this breed is now few and far between.

        Gulbis should be worrying about the shot choices he has to make tomorrow against Fed, never mind his sisters’.

  17. I think Gulbis was referring to the biological clock with regards to women and babies(whereas theoretically, a man can impregnate a women even in their elderly age) and the fact that having kids while being a professional tennis player impacts a women more than a man.(as augusta said)

    • I think you’re right @tj600. Thanks to his lack of articulacy, he came across as a tard misogynistic……………

  18. After his opening statement, Gulbis took the conversation well beyond his sisters when he opined about how a woman should live.

    Just as men, women should lead a life and make the life decisions that make them most fulfilled. Gulbis’ statements imply that the optimal path for “a woman” is having children before they are in their late 20’s.

    While this is no doubt perhaps the most satisfying path for some, he shouldn’t presume that this is the best path for all women.

    Or more suscinctly put, he’s an idiot.

  19. Yes that is the site.

    It is much better for ATP level events when it has OOP and completed scores as well with full statistics including h2h, match stats, etc.

    In the notes below, it lists improvements to come including full ITF (slam) support.

    The slam info is currently limited to matches in progress. I hadn’t realized this until recently.

    However, in this aspect, it outperforms the RG site as you can see game point scores and match stats for all matches simultaneously (which you can’t do for even one match very easily only by launching the score tracker which still presents the data in a bloated fashion).

    #MoronGulbis

  20. BTW, fantastic comments by ed, ritb and nny!!! So well put!

    They put it much better than I can (probably in no small part because I’m a guy).

    Gulbis is a dinosaur.

  21. This whole thing is been blown out of proportion. He speaks his mind while answering the questions and it’s always going to offend somebody especially people who are biased or have strong opinions. Unlike many people in the public eye, including tennis players, he is not trying to be politically correct and diplomatic and his comments are not cleared by a legal team.

  22. Wow. Finally watech that Kerber point. How did the chare and director both miss the fact that that should have been a let?

    However, it shouldn’t be up to Kerber IMO. It’s the umpire’s job (as inept as she was).

    #Fail

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