Here at The Sportist, we love long weekends. Even more than long weekends, we love long weekends full of high quality sporting activity. You probably won’t be surprised to know that we really love this long weekend, with a smorgasbord of athletics, football, tennis and associated other events to enjoy. It doesn’t really get much better than that, does it?
It’s also been a great week to look back on for women’s sport – so let’s see if the Sunday papers see it that way too.
The Sunday Telegraph
We don’t particularly like The Sunday Telegraph. Actually, that’s not entirely fair. It’s a perfectly good newspaper with an excellent set of sports writers. Yet when it comes to women’s sport (our raison d’etre, no less), we really dislike The Sunday Telegraph. It may not ignore women’s sport in quite such a determined way as certain elements of the tabloid press, yet somehow this just adds to the exacerbation. Almost as if the token mentions are enough for the editorial team to put their feet up on the table, light their cuban cigars and nod quietly to themselves at a good job, well done. This week’s mini-mentions are an in-brief section on athletics, led by Perri Shakes-Drayton’s victory in the 200m hurdles at the BT Great City Games and a sidebar on British women at the French Open. You can be damn sure there’d be a lot more than the few hundred words they manage to squeeze in had Andy Murray’s injury not ruled him out of this year’s tournament. Good job, well done, Telegraph.
The Sunday Mirror
Whisper it quietly, dear readers, but we at The Sportist are beginning to grow a bit of a soft spot for The Sunday Mirror. Sure, it may not be our newspaper of choice, but the fact is its women’s sport coverage is getting steadily better and better as time goes on. And there’s nothing we like more than a bit of steady improvement. Today, we can enjoy a short piece on Heather Watson’s belief that Laura Robson can upset the odds in the First Round of the French Open by defeating her former world number one opponent, Caroline Wozniacki. There’s also mention of Megan Pascoe’s gold in the EUROSAF Champions sailing Cup AND a picture illustrated article on Perri Shakes-Drayton’s BT GCC victory. Nor is that all, as the FA Cup Final gets a short preview in Tony Leighton’s usual women’s football column. Paint us pleasantly surprised.
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times is the first of our broadsheet friends to mention the Women’s FA Cup Final (which, of course, is totally arbitrary; it’s just the order in which we opened the papers), and the sidebar preview is a nicely written profile of Arsenal star Kim Little, whose eye for goal and sharp behind the striker movement could have a huge say on whether the FA Cup remains in Gunner hands this afternoon.
The paper then goes all our on its racket sport coverage, offering a full page interview with Maria Sharapova which pleasingly disregards almost all of the pinup imagery associated with the 26 year-old Russian, in favour of a probing focus on her achievements on the court. You know, those things that she’s actually famous for. The British contingent get a decent write-up too, while there’s also a cracking article on the Squash British Open and Britain’s Laura Massaro’s charge to the final, where she faces World Number 1 Nicol David. Perri Shakes-Drayton gets a short mention in the Athletics column, before the paper goes a long way to undoing all its good work, by illustrating the Monaco Grand Prix with a Ferrari driving past a row of bikini-clad sunbathers. Minds on the sport, please, ladies and gents.
The Mail on Sunday
It takes ten pages, but finally women’s sport takes a mention in The Mail on Sunday‘s sport pages with a French Open preview; the focus of which appears to be more the fact that Rory McIlroy is dating Caroline Wozniacki than the fact that there are a whole bunch of supremely talented women gunning for the clay court title. That’s your lot, though, unless you count a mention of Angela Merkel’s appearance at the Champions League Final last night as a piece on women in sport. Until she pulls on full kit, right down to shinpads and boots, and lifts the trophy John Terry style, I’m afraid we don’t count it. Sorry.
Possibly my one major issue with The Observer is actually an issue of my own making. Because their website is so damn good (and thankfully free of the ever-expanding media paywall), I’ve tended to read everything before it actually makes it to the paper. Hm. Moving away from The Sportist‘s reading habits, this is a decent, if unspectacular, week for The Observer‘s women’s sport coverage.
A full preview of the FA Cup Final focusses on Bristol Academy’s sparkingly-talented Spanish strikeforce and takes the slightly unfashionable (but wholly accurate) view that this isn’t necessarily Arsenal’s final to lose. The French Open article, meanwhile, has more depth than the rest of the papers combined – focussing not just on the British girls’ chances, but also the growing strength in the wider draw. Makes us really rather excited for this whole tennis lark again, to be quite honest. Perri Shakes-Drayton also gets a brief mention.
Image from independent.co.uk – Thank you!