On the tennis courts, the men challenge each other. The women hug each other. Can gender diversity. Thus have an influence on the approach to this sport?
It would seem that, as well as in life, even on tennis courts, men and women have an extremely different approach. As a good tennis enthusiast, I decided to investigate the issue better and to find out what is really hidden behind this fascinating and controversial sport. So, armed with the best intentions, I started watching games every day, interviewing friends, acquaintances and enthusiasts at the same time.
To understand more, we will start from a first general analysis, which will help us to know the values and characteristics of tennis. Then, going down more specifically, we will try to find out what the differences between male and female tennis are.
Individual sport vs. team sport
If it is true that the concept of sport is universal, there are many variables that we could consider to understand what drives sportsmen to get passionate about one sport rather than another. The most striking distinction is between individual sports and team sports.
Football, as well as volleyball and basketball, are commonly associated with values such as sense of belonging, friendship, group spirit, sharing. All symptoms and synonyms of strong socialization.
On the contrary, tennis is by definition an individual sport, in which one competes alone or at most paired with a partner, in the case of double. According to what the tennis philosophers say, the typical values of this sport are the marked competition, the fight against the opponent until the last bar, a real battle between two protagonists, of which only one will be the winner.
After having categorized tennis as an individual sport, it is necessary to proceed with defining the profile of the tennis player, the “tennis player”, as he is commonly indicated, practicing a further gender distinction, which separates tennis players from women tennis players.
The difference between men and women in tennis
First of all we must define the concept of “masculinity” and that of “femininity” according to a psychological matrix. Masculinity commonly refers to the set of stereotypes associated with male psychological characteristics, such as the desire for power, ambition, focus on results and a strongly competitive spirit. In a clear contrast with the stereotype of masculinity there is the one of “femininity”, where we commonly recognize values such as solidarity, assertiveness, the ability to create and maintain social relationships of various kinds.
These psychological considerations can then be adapted to the sport of tennis, contributing to the construction of the profile of the tennis player and the female tennis player.
Tennis is a very solitary sport: you enter the field relying only on your own strength, often having as your only companions and instruments your own racket and a handful of yellow balls. Everything else, thoughts, distractions, fans, affections, friends, are required to remain outside the playing field. The only thing that matters is the individual. We must fight, compete, concentrate, sincere and beat the opponent, annihilate the enemy and their fears and uncertainties.
From a psychological point of view, according to our description, this profile matches perfectly with the male tennis player prototype.
The woman, on the other hand, is brought into tennis to a constructive individualism, complex, profoundly different from the masculine individualism. The adversary is not in itself an enemy to be faced, to be beaten at any cost: it is more an indispensable tool, the means by which he can test himself, express himself, play, give his best and win.
Another way, in short, to see the same sport: the so-called other side of the coin.
The female tennis player therefore tends to combine her own game with that of the adversary, as in a dance, as if wanting to reduce the game to a well-balanced and well-balanced balance. In a sort of “sociable individualism”, as the tennis philosopher Carlo Magnani likes to call it, the female tennis player respects her adversary, with whom, despite the challenge, despite the desire for struggle, she recognizes herself by rediscovering her same fears and weaknesses.