A large part of the marketing and coverage of women’s tennis is based on the looks and glamour of the players. You only have to look at British newspapers during Wimbledon to see the disproportionate number of photos of Ana Ivanovic. This actually reached its peak during the Kournikova era. She was actually a pretty good player, but was earning the most in endorsements because of her looks, and just as importantly the fact she knew how to use them.

Its things like that which made Sepp Blatter say that he thought that female football players should wear shorter shorts and more tight fitting shirts. I think Simon Barnes made an argument that sports in which female athletes embrace rather than reject their femininity are more likely to gain mass popularity.

These are all interesting arguments, but the crux of the matter is this; the majority of sports fans are male. Therefore, they will look at female athletes in a certain way. If the majority of people who followed mens tennis were women, then I don’t think we would be in a position in which Roger Federer was both the most successful athlete and the highest earner from sponsorships. Judging by female reaction to male tennis players, I suspect that Roddick and Safin would be the equivalent of Sharapova and Ivanovic and Feliciano Lopez or Tommy Haas would be the Anna Kournikova of the mens game.

So given this lets get to the Williams sisters. I’m not sure I understand exactly why there’s so much antipathy towards them amongst men in particular. Serena is really well built, but I’m not sure that Venus is bigger than Sharapova. One criticism I did endorse was that they didn’t take the other tournaments seriously, but with Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters and others quitting due to the grind of the circuit, you can’t really question Venus and Serena when they are still picking up slams.

In particular I think that Serena is a phenomenal champion. Just when you think that she’s beaten or out of a match – actually scrap that – you never think that she’s beaten or out of a match because she’s pulled herself out of those holes so many times before. She knows it and as importantly the other players know it – we admire this in Nadal, but in Serena it seems not so much and I think that that’s wrong.

As for tomorrow, Roddick is playing the best tennis of his career. To try and beat Federer he’s gone from being aggressive to defensive to mindlessly charging the net, all without success. However, he seems to have finally figured out a balance of when to stay back and rally and when to come to the net. The fact that he doesn’t dump a backhand into the net after every 5 shots and his return of serve has improved helps as well.

But while that was good enough to take down Murray, I just don’t see it working against the Fed. Firstly Federer’s serve is better than Murray so Roddick will have fewer chances to break. Meanwhile Roddick’s been broken a few times each against Hewitt and Murray. I think his tactic will be approaching when possible to Fed’s backhand while ripping forehands when he gets the chance.

The only thing I can see taking Federer down is if he gets nervous about the record. He’s been so serene throughout the whole tournament, that maybe getting close to the finishing line will bring out some unexpected emotion. Federer in 4.