The Globe and Mail’s headline ― “Serena Williams to play Evgeniya Rodina in battle of the moms at Wimbledon” ― appeared atop an Associated Press story by sports writer Howard Fendrich.
“When Serena Williams steps out on Centre Court to play Evgeniya Rodina in Wimbledon’s fourth round on Monday, it will be a rare meeting of Mom vs. Mom,” the article begins. “Such matchups could happen with greater frequency as parenthood becomes increasingly popular on the women’s tennis tour.”
Fendrich’s story goes on to describe the experiences of a number of female tennis players who have children.
Williams “has spoken openly about a health scare during childbirth. About gaining weight while breast-feeding. About the joys of bringing her child onsite to a tournament for the first time. About the difficulty of dividing her time between family and forehands,” Fendrich writes, also noting that “one concern raised by some of the mothers in interviews during Wimbledon was that not enough tournaments offer childcare facilities, the way the four Grand Slams do.”
In a statement to HuffPost, the AP said it did not write the headline featured in The Globe and Mail, and added that “customers frequently put their own headlines on top of AP stories.”
A number of other publications also running the AP’s article featured a similar headline. “Serena Williams-Evgeniya Rodina Wimbledon match will feature two moms,” said the Star Tribune. “Wimbledon: Williams vs. Rodina is matchup of moms,” said the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “Williams vs. Rodina is matchup of Mom vs. Mom at Wimbledon,” said The Washington Post ― the same headline that appears on The Associated Press’ own site.
It was The Globe and Mail’s headline, however, that came in for widespread derision on Twitter:
Reached by HuffPost on Monday, Fendrich declined to comment on the record. The Globe and Mail did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fendrich’s story wasn’t the only one to emphasize the motherhood angle of Monday’s match. In a story for The Daily Telegraph, “Wimbledon 2018: The mother of all battles as Evgeniya Rodina prepares to face fellow mum Serena Williams,” Sam Dean also wrote about Rodina’s experience as a parent and athlete.
Fun fact, news organizations: Women can be more than mothers!
This story has been updated with a statement from The Associated Press.