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By Blair Henley Photo Credit:Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Sam Stosur French OpenDominika Cibulkova became the latest person to compare Sam Stosur’s game to that of a man after losing 6-4, 6-1 to the muscular Aussie in her quarterfinal match.
"Her topspin and her serve, I mean, she played like a man, and it's really hard to play against a man," she said. "It was driving me crazy on the court today. So it was really, really hard."
Cibulkova is not alone in her characterization of Stosur. Tennis commentator Mary Carillo, Australian great Pat Cash and former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic have all made similar comments after watching Stosur kick in serves above head level and whip her inside out forehand with superhuman amounts of spin.
On one hand, Cibulkova’s comments are the ultimate compliment.  But it just so happens that the 5’7” Stosur looks like she could bench press an SUV and beat Mike Tyson in an arm wrestling contest.
In short, it’s unlikely that the "man" analogy would have been used if she had a physique more closely resembling ultra-feminine stars Maria Sharapova or Ana Ivanovic. Even Serena Williams is, for the most part, spared the crass comparison.
Cibulkova did not come right out and say, “Did you really expect me to win? I was playing a dude!”  But it seems making the comparison to begin with is just a convenient excuse following a tough defeat. In fact Lindsay Davenport immediately apologized for saying she "felt like she was playing a guy" after her loss to a very muscular Amelie Mauresmo in the semis of the 1999 Australian Open.
Sam Stosur has always handled the media with grace, and there’s no doubt she would brush off these comments if asked about them directly. It just seems Cibulkova could make use of some extra tact in her post-match commentary.
After all, you’d think twice before telling a guy he plays like a girl, right?

 

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