Serena Williams: 'Ladies First' Should Apply To Tennis Too

Serena Williams isn't too happy that she had to start her U.S. Open match at 10:30 PM last night. But the reason for her objection is a little surprising.

Yahoo! Sports' Chris Chase writes that due to scheduling changes, women sometimes play after men in the tournament. This is a bad idea, he explains, because men's matches are longer, on average, than women's, and "at least when the women go first, the men won't go on too late." But Serena Williams had a different take. When asked if she was "cool with the guys and the women switching," she responded,

No, I think the guys should play second. They're guys. We're ladies. We're ladies. They should totally play second all the time. Ladies, you open the door for ladies. They should go second. It's ridiculous.

Lots of advocates for women's sports argue that female athletes deserve parity with men — that they're not fragile ladies who need special treatment. And Williams's comment does that view something of a disservice. Of course, it's possible that she's just kidding around. She does display a sense of humor elsewhere in the interview — when asked if she minded waiting for Rafael Nadal to finish, she said, "I can wait with the best of them. I think I'm number one at waiting." And later in the interview, she apparently saw a silver lining to her later playing time:

Q. They billed this as Nadal as the warmup act for your match. How does that make you feel?

SERENA WILLIAMS: Really? That's pretty awesome. I'm excited about that. That's cool. I'm really happy to be here. That makes it even better.

Q. It's like Coldplay warming up for Green Day.

SERENA WILLIAMS: I could see that. Yeah, I would never see Green Day warming up for Coldplay.

The bit about Coldplay and Green Day is a little confusing — I think maybe the interviewer is saying the bands are equally famous, albeit different. Williams, however, seems to think Green Day is the bigger deal — and in this, at least, I agree with her.

Serena Williams Wasn't Happy About Starting At 10:30 P.M. [Yahoo! Sports]
An Interview With: Serena Williams [USOpen.org]