I am perusing the USTA supplement that comes with my TENNIS magazine very month. It reports on the latest class of Hall of Fame inductees and offers this headline:
Sampras Leads Hall of Fame Inductees
This irks for a few reasons that stem from what "leads" really means in this context.
Remember, Pete Sampras and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario are both being inducted under the recent player category. Frequently the recent player inductee is the headliner--except maybe for the year when Bud Collins got inducted as a contributor (no offense to Hana Mandlikova.
I suppose Sampras may "lead" because he has more Grand Slam singles titles than Sanchez-Vicario. But they are actually tied for overall Grand Slam titles with 14 because Sanchez-Vicario has numerous doubles and mixed doubles titles.
Yes, in tennis we tend to privilege singles titles for some strange reason, as if it takes more fortitude to win a singles title. I think winning a doubles title is quite difficult because there are two people to a team. You have to be a good, smart tennis player and a good partner.
Of course "Sampras leads" may be a simple case of Americancentrism (with a healthy amount of sexism thrown in there too). This is the USTA magazine after all and the Spanish Sanchez-Vicario was known as a "clay courter" (despite her singles win at the US Open). And we wonder why ESPN only covers the Americans (while they still exist in the draw anyway) every year at Roland Garros.
Of course maybe it was just a matter of space. A few pages later, in an adverisement for the week of fesitivities at the Hall of Fame in Newport, RI the "headline" (it is an ad after all) reads "Sampras and Sanchez-Vicario Head Induction Class in 2007." Glad they got it right somewhere.