The Rogers Cup is getting its fair share of attention for all the wrong reasons. With the tournament less than three weeks away, Tennis Canada and tournament organizers recently came under fire from local women’s groups for their use of the L-word—“ladies”—in a poorly conceived marketing campaign that plastered the slogan, “Come for the ladies, stay for the legends” on posters all over the city.
The posters in question, which featured female superstars Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams showing off their fierce two-handed backhands as all-time greats John McEnroe and Andre Agassi pump their fists in appreciation, have since been removed, and Tennis Canada has issued an apology.
In fairness to Tennis Canada, “ladies” is a common term in the tennis lexicon. At Wimbledon—arguably the most recognizable tennis event in the world—the women’s portion of the tourney is formally referred to as the “ladies draw,” and closer to home, the Toronto Ladies Tennis League is one of the city’s oldest and most popular organizations. But as SlutWalk’s Heather Jarvis explains, it’s Tennis Canada’s use of the word that just ain’t right. “It’s demeaning towards women,” Jarvis told Now magazine. “It suggests women are just the initial attraction, they don’t actually matter. It’s a poster that’s saying, ‘Come check out the hot ladies and stay for the men, because those are the real athletes.’”
The new slogan for the tournament is “Making history, reliving history,” which we find appropriately non-sexist but alarmingly boring. Regardless, we’re excited that Toronto is hosting the women’s draw. When the men were in town last year, the tourney turned into a coming-out party for some of the country’s top talent, and we’re hoping more exciting tennis phenoms will turns heads—for the right reasons—again this year.