As a side note, Alice Marble was also responsible for the admission of African American women into the Grand Slam tournaments. In 1950, she wrote in defense of Althea Gibson, a very good African American female tennis player, and her right to participate in the tournaments. Alice said:
"Miss Gibson is over a very cunningly wrought barrel, and I can only hope to loosen a few of its staves with one lone opinion. If tennis is a game for ladies and gentlemen, it's also time we acted a little more like gentlepeople and less like sanctimonious hypocrites.... If Althea Gibson represents a challenge to the present crop of women players, it's only fair that they should meet that challenge on the courts." [Marble said that if Gibson were not given the opportunity to compete] "then there is an uneradicable mark against a game to which I have devoted most of my life, and I would be bitterly ashamed."
The women continued to wear the short skirts and mini dresses and still do today. As I said, there are a few players that wear shorts upon occasion.
Now to present day. Serena Williams is an amazing tennis player. I have watched her play many times and admire her confidence and power. She does have one perceptible weakness and that is fashion. Here and there she wears normal outfits, but more often than not she comes up with some crazy stuff- her own designs, I think. That jean skirt outfit is the worst tennis outfit I have ever seen.
I think she is very beautiful with an amazing body for sports. She is like a tennis machine. In her more sedated outfits like this one, I think she looks great.
So, for a lot of girls I think it is the Anna Kournikova thing- they want to look cute and sexy. That is great for the 22 or 23 other hours in the day when you are not on the court, but can't you throw on some shorts while you play a SPORT?!?!?! At this point it is not men telling women that they have to continue wearing the skirts. It is women deciding that they look cute in them! Some will think it is the money thing. You make more money, get more sponsors, and become more popular if you are attractive. That is true, but it does not account for the 70 year old club player that is going to show up in a skirt to play a match with no prize money or recognition. It does not account for the group of women who get together for fun to play- and they all show up in skirts!! Is it the coaches? Are they older people who are clinging to tradition? That does not account for the many, many young coaches out there. I guess there are probably many reasons, none of which I will ever understand. When will women get rid of the skirts all together, I ask?!?! When will women want to play sports without everyone looking at their underwear **shoot** bloomers the whole time?!?! When??! Why do women have to try and make some fashion statements or express their sexuality when playing a sport?! Just pick up the ball and serve it. Though to be fair, if I was a professional tennis player, I would try and make a statement as well. I'd wear SHORTS.