To the majority reading the headlines of Wimbledon, it would appear that since Fred Perry won the title way back in 1936, no Brit has come close to the title. That statement is indeed true, but it only applies to the men of the sport. Somehow, the whole world was unaware of the fact that Virginia Wade, a Brit, won the Wimbledon ladies championship in 1977.
2013 saw Andy Murray being crowned champion, and the entire Britain erupted in celebration. Tales of his heroics are perhaps being weaved into songs to be sung by bards as these words are typed, and all the major newspapers and media outlets in Britain continue to rave about how he brought the Wimbledon title back home after 77 years.
Tennis has a one-on-one nature that makes it seem like a battle, which is especially true for the bigger matches. The graveness of the sport, the pin drop silence during rallies and the body language of the players during such matches only add to its drama. With such elements, it is perhaps not surprising to see the men supersede the women in popularity and relevance. However, it is unacceptable to completely ignore the women who play the sport, and certainly not justified to forget four great Wimbledon champions Britain has had prior to Andy winning the title.
It is a rather unfortunate aspect of the tennis world, where the men get the majority of the attention and the women, unless it's something controversial or appearance related, remain in the shadows of their male counterparts. Just ask Marion Bartoli, who won her first Wimbledon title without dropping a set this year, only to receive raised eyebrows and doubtful glances from a large chunk of tennis fans rather than jubilant cheers and congratulations one would expect. The years have certainly not been kind to women's tennis, and unless you're a pretty face or the Williams sisters, chances are that you'd not be part of the headlines, no matter how significant your achievement might be.
The British media is the primary culprit in this story, however. The example of Andy Murray is the most appropriate one to outline their hypocrisy and bias. Now that he has won Wimbledon, he's a “British” hero, with the word out that he's being considered for a possible knighthood for his achievements. However, the same British media makes no attempt to contain their disapproval and quickly distance him by referring him as a “Scot” when he fails to achieve his goals.
However, as it stands currently, Andy Murray is the most celebrated sportsman in the Great Britain and has achieved the ultimate British dream of reclaiming the Wimbledon title for the nation. He has probably cemented his legacy as a true “Brit” and the media will probably shirk from referring to him as an undisciplined, immature hot-headed boy from Scotland from now on. What he's also done is clearly outline where men's tennis stands in the world compared to women's, at least in Great Britain.