Note to Jelena Jankovic: A Period is a Punctuation Mark, Not an Excuse for Bad Tennis

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Former No. 1 women’s tennis player Jelena Jankovic lost at Wimbeldon earlier this week to Melanie Oudin,  a relatively unknown 17-year old American from Atlanta, Georgia.  Jankovic she did not lose gracefully or have any words of congratulations for her opponent. According to the New York Times (here):

Jankovic’s excuse was that she was wobbly from the heat – she required two medical timeouts – and the cyclical nature of “some woman problems.”

Jankovic said that Oudin “doesn’t have any weapons, you know, from what I have seen.

To blame biology is to play into the old stereotype that women are so hobbled by our menstrual cycles that we couldn’t possibly ________ [fill in the blank].  Maybe Jankovic had cramps.  But unless she takes to her bed each month, a world-class athlete probably has played (well) with cramps before.  More likely, Jankovic is making excuses for her poor performance and thought she’d get a “pass” from the mostly male sportswriters.

-Bridget Crawford

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