Title: Analysing the print media coverage of professional tennis players: British newspaper narratives about female competitors in the Wimbledon Championships

Authors: John Vincent, Paul M. Pedersen, Warren A. Whisenant, Dwayne Massey

Addresses: Department of Kinesiology, College of Education, Box 870312, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487–0312, USA. ' Department of Kinesiology, 1025 E. 7th St., HPER 112, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA. ' Sport Administration Program, School of Education, P.O. Box 248065, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124–2040, USA. ' Department of Kinesiology, 104-B McCarthy Gym, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

Abstract: This study examined 152 articles devoted to female tennis players competing in the 2000 Wimbledon Championships in The Times, Daily Mail, and The Sun, covering a 17-day period that coincided with the Wimbledon Championships fortnight. Based upon the theoretical framework of gender power relations, a qualitative textual analysis methodology was used to reveal recurring themes within the dominant discourse about female tennis players. Results indicate the narratives used by the predominantly male journalists devalued, marginalised, and trivialised the athleticism of the female tennis players. The British newspapers seemed equally infatuated with Anna Kournikova, who was portrayed as a kind of sporting Lolita, and her hyper-feminine peers, the |heterosexual honeys|. In contrast, Serena and Venus Williams – the |Amazons| – were subjected to racial bigotry. The racial distinctions suggested that the hegemonic standard of the media was a favourable bias towards White female athletes. The sociological implications of such coverage of professional female tennis players are also discussed.

Keywords: gender; discourse; textual analysis; Wimbledon Championships; print media; professional tennis; British newspapers; UK newspapers; United Kingdom; newspaper narratives; female competitors; women; The Times; Daily Mail; The Sun; press coverage; gender power relations; athleticism; trivialisation; Anna Kournikova; Serena Williams; Venus Williams; racial bigotry; racism; sport coverage; bias.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2007.012406

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2007 Vol.2 No.3, pp.281 - 300

Available online: 11 Feb 2007

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