The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Brogan Driscoll Headshot

It's a Sad Day for Women's Tennis When Kim Sears Gets More Attention Than Marion Bartoli

Posted: Updated:

Anyone would think that it was Kim Sears who won the women's title at Wimbledon on Saturday, given the amount of media coverage she's received over the past few days.

But, lest we forget, that honour belongs to Marion Bartoli. And it was bloody well earned.

It saddens me to think that a bouncy blow dry and mint green dress has attracted more attention than the world-class performance by an established athlete. But that seems to be the case.

There's been more interest over where Sears bought her handbag (it was Mulberry, since you asked, Grazia told me so) than for the 28-year-old Frenchwoman, who beat favourite Sabine Lisicki to win her first Grand Slam title.

kim sears

Kim Sears, Andy Murray's girlfriend of eight years

On Sunday, the day of the men's final, there were three times as many Google searches for "Kim Sears" than "Marion Bartoli".

A particularly popular search term was "Kim Sears bikini". No surprise there.

Now, I don't have a problem with Sears and this is not an attempt to berate her. As far as I can tell, she seems great.

I admire the personal sacrifices she has made to support Andy Murray as he travels the world (although I am unsure, if in her shoes, I would be able to make the same commitment) and she's not one to hanker after media attention. Wanted or not, the world's gaze has certainly come to her.

Bartoli is equally powerless against the way she is presented in the media.

The biggest news story since her victory has also been centered on appearance -- thanks in large part to John Inverdale -- and it's a shame there hasn't been a stronger focus on her tennis.

Even after the world convulsed in disgust at the presenter's remarks on Radio 5 live and he apologised for his "ham-fisted" comments, Bartoli is still being judged on the way she looks.

Arriving at the Wimbledon Championships 2013 Winners' Ball wearing a dress -- shock horror -- the world applauded her. "That'll teach John Inverdale to call her ugly," they said.

mation bartoli

Bartoli on center court on Saturday and at the Winners' Ball on Sunday

Reports saying how she "scrubs up well" are worse than Inverdale's original comments. It's insulting for a sportswoman to be reduced over and over again to the superficial.

It wouldn't happen to Andy Murray. But for the women around him such scrutiny is unavoidable.

We should take note from Bartoli's dignified response: "Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I'm sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes."

These imbalances come just weeks after the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) pressed the importance of getting more young girls interested in tennis.

What hope can they have when a woman's athletic ability is so readily eclipsed by the way she looks?

This week marks the beginning of the women's Euros and for the first time in the competition's history, the BBC will air each and every football game.

I just hope the focus will be firmly on the women's sporting ability, not what they are wearing.

Around the Web

2013 Wimbledon Championships Website - Official Site by IBM

Wimbledon, London - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wimbledon's lesson for Middle England – and John Inverdale

Wimbledon title ends torturous wait for Murray, Great Britain

Wimbledon 2013: Champion Andy Murray is the world's real No 1, says Ivan Lendl